Weeknight (25 minute) Thai Basil Sesame Cashew Chicken with Coconut Rice…and deliciously addicting salted chili lime cashews. This is the super-fast Thai inspired chicken rice bowl that the whole family will love. Quick-cooking chicken, pan-seared, then tossed in a sweet and spicy Thai chili sauce with garden fresh bell peppers, sesame seeds, and summer’s most flavorful basil. Serve this chicken over steamed rice and top with chili lime cashews. Every bite is saucy, sweet, spicy, and hinted with basil. It’s delicious and healthy. Major bonus? This is all made in one pan without the use of your oven. Perfect for hot summer days.
This is one of those recipes where I just love how easily it came together for me. This came to me on a busy day and with really just the use of my brain and what sounded delicious.
I knew I wanted to use up all the Thai basil we have growing in the garden. We literally have so much. It’s overflowing at this point. So I knew I needed to do something with it…and soon. If you follow on Instagram, I’m sure you’ve noticed all the basil in the garden, there’s a lot. And I’m certainly not complaining, I love it.
I also knew I wanted to use the chicken I had on hand. Because the grocery is not a place I want to be heading to these days, so I’m trying to use what I’ve got! And in comes this chicken.
I have to say, I’m really excited with how this turned out. It’s Thai inspired, but with my own additions. Additions like chili lime cashews (with honey…and flaky sea salt too). And one of the best sweet and spicy Thai chili sauces I’ve ever made.
I love this dish. It’s easy, almost no-cook, and just so flavorful. And then there’s coconut rice too…all the (good) things I love.
First up, the cashews. Now, these are an “extra” and you don’t have to make them. But you certainly should if you have five minutes and cashews in the pantry.
Simply toss raw cashews with sesame oil, honey, chili powder, and a bit of turmeric, then cook until toasted, golden, and caramelized. Once the cashews are toasty, remove them from the heat, and add lots of lime zest plus flaky sea salt. Oh. So. Delicious!
Putting it out there, these are hard to stop eating. My best tip? Make a double batch. Serve half with the chicken and save the other half for random mid-day snacking. It’s a good idea.
Next, toss the chicken with a little cornstarch and a good pinch of pepper. Tossing the chicken with cornstarch allows it to get extra crispy and caramelize while cooking.
Now make the sauce. It’s simply, honey, soy sauce, fish sauce, chili paste, ketchup (which is the secret), and sesame seeds. You guys, this sauce is now my newest favorite. It’s the ketchup, it adds a layer of flavor that’s subtle, but yet is so key. It’s sweet, salty, and spicy.
Pan-fry the chicken in a little oil until it’s crisp. Add plenty of garlic, ginger, and bell peppers. Then pour the sauce in and let it simmer down and thicken over the chicken and peppers.
As the chicken is cooking, you should be making some steamed rice. I like to toss it with a touch of butter and basil just before serving. SO GOOD.
Now, put it all together…
Spoon your rice into bowls, then add the chicken and peppers. Finish each bowl off with lots of fresh basil and a handful of those salted chili honey-lime cashews.
Oh and add some thinly sliced cucumbers if you’d like too.
And you guys…that’s it. This takes less than 30 minutes to make and it’s not only delicious but fun too!
Looking for other quick weeknight Thai summer dinners? Here are some favorites:
Lastly, if you make this Thai basil sesame cashew chicken, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
Watch the How To Video:
Thai Basil Sesame Cashew Chicken Chicken.
Calories Per Serving: 539 kcal
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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- 3 tablespoons sesame or extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon honey
- 1/2 cup raw cashews
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
- zest of 1 lime
- 1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs or breasts, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon corn starch or flour
- black pepper
- 1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce or tamari
- 1 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1-2 tablespoons chili paste (sambal oelek)
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 2 tablespoons raw sesame seeds
- 4 cloves garlic, minced or grated
- 1 inch fresh ginger, grated
- 2 red or orange bell peppers, thinly sliced
- 1 cup fresh Thai or regular basil, roughly torn
- steamed white or brown rice, for serving (coconut rice in notes)
- 1. To make the cashews. Heat 1 tablespoon oil, 1 tablespoon honey, the cashews, chili, powder, and turmeric in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook until lightly toasted and caramelized, 3-4 minutes. Watch closely. Spoon the cashews out of the skillet onto a parchment-lined plate. Sprinkle with lime zest and salt. Set aside.2. In a medium bowl, toss together the chicken, cornstarch, and a pinch of black pepper. 3. To make the sauce. Combine the remaining 1/4 cup honey, the soy sauce, fish sauce, chili paste, ketchup, and sesame seeds. 4. Wipe the skillet clean. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil over medium heat. When the oil shimmers, add the chicken and brown all over, until it becomes crispy, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, and peppers, cook another 2-3 minutes, until the garlic is fragrant. Pour in the sauce and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook until the sauce coats the chicken, about 5 minutes.5. Remove from the heat and stir in the basil. Serve the chicken and sauce over bowls of rice. Top with cashews, additional basil, and cucumbers, if desired. Enjoy!
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Coconut Rice: Combine 1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk and 1/2 cup water in a medium pot. Bring to a low boil. Add 1 cup basmati rice and a pinch of salt. Stir to combine, cover, then turn the heat down to the lowest setting possible. Allow the rice to cook 10 minutes on low, then turn the heat off completely and let the rice sit, covered for another 15-20 minutes (don't take any peeks inside!). Remove the lid and fluff the rice with a fork.