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When I was 7 years old my dad gave my mom a Chinese food cookbook and a shiny new wok for Christmas. Some wives might not love that kind of gift, but my mom LOVED it! She immediately started using it. That year for New Years Eve she made chicken egg rolls, pork fried rice, broccoli beef and chicken cashew. It became a family tradition that is still carried on today. We cook Chinese food together as a family on New Years Eve, then play games, make predictions for the next year and EAT!

Seven-year-old me on the right in the pink dress. My mom made our dresses. This is close to when my dad gave my mom the cookbook and wok.

The recipe has evolved for me over time. For example, the original my mom made all those years ago did not use any ginger and it only had cabbage by way of veggies. NO other veggies used. Well, I LOVE ginger and more variety of vegetables!

If you don’t have a wok you may use a large skillet. If you want a wok we recommend this one HERE. If you would like a wok, but worried you won’t use it often enough, or don’t want to store it then we highly recommend this large electric skillet HERE. I LOVE my electric skillet so much! I use it for many things, including Chicken Cashew and other stir fry recipes.

The Years of the Rabbit include 1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, 2023. For Chinese people, the rabbit is a tame creature representing hope for a long time. It is tender and lovely.

2023 is the year of the Rabbit! In Chinese culture the rabbit symbolizes grace, beauty, mercy, fertility, endurance and good luck. How wonderful! After the last few years don’t we all need a year with hope, grace, beauty and mercy etc?

DO NOT be overwhelmed or scared by this recipe. It can be made in just FOUR easy steps.

Step 1 – Prepare the chicken and vegetables.

Step 2 – Stir fry the chicken, mushrooms and onions.

Step 3 – Stir fry the vegetables.

Step 4 – Make and add the sauce then cashews.


Stir frying happens fast. It’s a good idea to prep and chop everything you’ll need before you start. Once that is done it is super fast and easy to cook it all.

The recipe from my mom’s cookbook only uses mushrooms, onions and cabbage. Today I am replacing the onion with green onions and I’m adding green beans. I like using a cabbage coleslaw mix that has other veggies included like carrots.

Other good vegetable options to add are –

  1. Zucchini
  2. Celery
  3. Bell Pepper
  4. Yellow Squash
  5. Snow Peas
  6. Green Beans
  7. Green Peas
  8. Carrots

Add soy sauce and cornstarch to the cut cup chicken before you start prepping all the veggies. It’s good for it to sit like that for about 15 minutes before cooking.

Heat the wok or skillet. Then, add the oil. Carefully slide the chicken into the wok. Let it sit for a minute then stir fry by using a large flat spatula to scrape down underneath the chicken, then lift and turn over. Let it sit for another minute then do another round of stir frying. Do this pattern repeatedly till the chicken is mostly cooked.

Next, add the onions and mushrooms. Add another drizzle of oil as needed to keep the bottom from sticking as you stir fry.

Next, remove the chicken and mushroom mix to a clean plate or bowl. Set it aside.

Now I do not completely clean out the wok. I might rinse it with hot water. It just depends on how dirty it is after the chicken.

Place the wok or skillet back on the heat, then add a little more oil after any water has evaporated. Carefully add the ginger and garlic and stir fry for about 1 minute before adding in the cabbage and all the rest of the vegetables you are using.

Stir fry for just a few minutes. Do not over cook. You want the veggies to be what is called crisp-tender.

What does Crisp Tender mean? This is when a vegetable is heated and cooked all the way through, but still has some snap to it. ‘Tender’ refers to the fact that your teeth (or a knife) can easily sink all the way through and ‘crisp’ means there is still a slight crunch, that the vegetable still has its structure.

If you would like the green beans to be a little less raw then blanch them before stir frying them according to the recipe instructions.

Add the chicken and mushrooms back in and stir fry it all together.

Add in the sauce and cashews and stir fry again over the heat till the sauce thickens slightly.

Serve over rice.

Chicken Cashew

A flavorful chicken and veggie stir fry with cashews served over rice. An all-in-one skillet meal perfect for a weeknight, but fancy enough for a Sunday dinner. I always double or triple this recipe because leftover Chinese food one of the best things ever.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course dinner, Entree
Cuisine American, Asian, Chinese


  • 1 Wok or large skillet


  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 1 small sweet onion, cut into 1-inch thin strips or may replace with green onions
  • 1-2 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp oil
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger
  • 4 cups cabbage, thinly sliced or shredded I always buy a cabbage coleslaw mix that includes carrots.
  • other veggies you like – green beans, bell peppers, zucchini, celery etc
  • ½-1 cup cashews, I use salted
  • cooked rice for serving


  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • ¼ cup soy sauce


  • Get your rice cooking first so it is ready to go.
    Next, begin by slicing the chicken into 1-2 inch slices. Place in a medium sized bowl or Ziploc bag. Add in the 2 Tbsp soy sauce and 1 Tbsp cornstarch. Stir up if it's in a bowl or squeeze and manipulate the bag till it's well blended. Set aside.
  • Prep all your veggies by slicing, dicing and chopping. Cut up the mushrooms, onions, carrots, zucchini, green beans, bell peppers, cabbage and whatever else you like. Set aside.
    **If you choose to use green beans and bell peppers, we recommend blanching them before stir frying them. They need a little more cooking time. You don't HAVE to blanch them, just expect them to have a good crunch. Boil a few cups of water in a small pot. Once there is a hard boil, toss in the beans and peppers. Let them boil for 1 full minute. Remove them and set aside to stir fry later.
  • Prep the garlic by peeling the cloves and mincing. Or use bottled, minced garlic. Prep the ginger by grating on a micro plane. Set aside.
  • Heat a large skillet or wok on medium-high heat. Drizzle in 1-2 Tablespoons of oil. Add in the chicken and stir fry till mostly done. Add in the mushrooms and sweet onions. If you are using green onions instead, save them to add in later with the cabbage.
  • Remove the chicken and mushrooms to a plate. Set aside.
  • Add 1-2 Tablespoons of oil to the hot wok or skillet. Carefully add the garlic and ginger to the hot oil. Stir fry for about a minute.
  • Add in all the veggies you desire. Stir fry with the garlic and ginger for about 5 minutes. Or until cabbage is crisp-tender.
  • Prep the sauce while the veggies are cooking. Whisk together with a fork or small whisk 1 teaspoon of cornstarch and ¼ cup of soy sauce.
  • Add the chicken and mushrooms back into the wok with the veggies. Stir fry all together. Drizzle the sauce over the top.
  • Add the cashews in and stir fry over medium high heat till the sauce thickens.
  • Serve over hot rice.
Keyword Chinese, copycat, homemade, homemade takeout, stirfry