I’m a fan of Chicken Parmesan. No, you aren’t at the wrong recipe, I said Chicken Parmesan. Sweet chili cashew chicken is nothing like Chicken Parmesan. Except for the chicken part. Everything else… not the same. Not that I knew that at the time I first threw this together.
Let’s hearken to a story from not so long ago…
Tired and hungry, a weary traveller stared into a hollow box of ice, wondering just what to prepare for a meal that would satisfy a craving most fierce. Lo! Chicken was found, and with it the great “Chicken Parmesan” could be crafted. But, um… “forsooth” and such… er… (blast, where’s ye ole dictionary when you need one??) I… um… *rustles paper* … okay fine, I ran out of Parmesan.
Parmesan-less, like an animal, what could I do but search high and low for alternatives across the great wide web?
One recipe caught my eye, but an empty pantry left that idea hanging. Whole grain mustard and something else I’d never heard of? I wasn’t going to find those in my kitchen.
Yet, I was intrigued.
“Cashew Crusted Chicken”.
It had potential. But… Cashew butter on chicken seemed so plain. I had to make it more interesting…
Enter Thai Sweet Chili sauce. Mildly spicy but sweet, it seemed to go well with the cashews. Yet, after more than a couple of bites, it was one note: sweet cashews. Not enough “chili”.
Not to be deterred I tried again. This time adding that ubiquitous Sriracha hot sauce to the “sweet”.
The result is this sweet yet spicy crusted chicken that’s easy to make and still full of delicious zingy flavour.
“But what about the children!?” you might ask.
Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered!
If you prefer something with zero zing, substitute the Sweet Chili Sauce and Sriracha for plain old cherry sauce. Dish up one serving of cherry-sauce cashew sauce on one piece of chicken, then add some Sriracha to the rest.
Kids have their sweet, parents have their spicy!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this sordid tale….
And I hope you’ll enjoy this chicken even more!
Sweet Chili Cashew Chicken Recipe
- 2 large (or 4 small) boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 cup cashews
- 1 cup water
- 1/8 cup sweet chili sauce (or cherry sauce)
- 1-2 Tablespoons Sriracha, to taste
- 1/8 teaspoon salt, to taste
Goes well with a side of rice or steamed veggies.
- Blender or food processor
- Baking pan, uncovered
- Spatula or serving spoon
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Blend the sauce ingredients until smooth. Add more water if the sauce is too thick to pour.
Dollop a small amount of sauce onto the bottom of the baking pan.
Place the chicken breasts on the pan in the sauce, so they’re spaced apart. Cover each chicken breast with the remaining sauce.
Prepare your side dishes while the chicken cooks.
Bake the chicken until cooked through (about 25 minutes if the chicken is raw, or 45 minutes if it’s frozen).
Serve with a side, such as rice, string beans or steamed veggies.