Chicken and cashews


The most decadent summer of my life was probably the summer of 1993. I was in university then and instead of doing the responsible thing and finding a serious summer internship, I accepted an offer to spend the summer working at a beach resort. The resort, then part of the Pacific Islands Club group, was in Bang Tao Bay in Phuket, Thailand. For ten fun-filled weeks, I taught windsurfing and sailing and worked on my tan. As a Clubmate (yup, seriously, that’s what the resort called its activities staff), I was also asked to participate in a range of other activities, many of them rather embarrassing. The Pacific Islands Clubs are inspired by Club Med. And just like at Club Meds, where the G.O.s (gentils organisateurs) perform in nightly shows for their guests, we Clubmates also put on some pretty God awful but amusing performances. Over the course of that summer, any inhibitions I had had about making a fool of myself in front of strangers were quickly shed.

Prancing around on stage like an idiot aside, the summer was a blast. I got to hang out on a gorgeous beach every day. I got to windsurf and sail as much as I wanted. I met some really interesting people who stayed with us at the resort. And I partied constantly. You have to understand that the Clubmates I worked with were a motley crew of good-looking, semi-athletic twenty-somethings who were, to paraphrase Thoreau, sucking the marrow out of life. We partied with the guests (well, the cool ones at least) and partied harder with each other.

On our nights off, we would inevitably drift to a bar in Phuket Town called The Timber Hut. The in-house band, fronted by a hyperkinetic ex-lawyer named Kurt, covered classic rock anthems. Our favourite was Hotel California. Whenever he played it, my colleagues (and me occasionally) would rush on stage and sing along, often changing the words from “Hotel California” to “Hotel P.I.C.” The bar was always rocking. It was party-central for the foreigners who worked on the island, and we were all regulars. Our drink of choice was Mehkong-Coke and the one dish we always ordered when we were hungry was chicken and cashews, served with rice. It was a satisfying, simple dish that was not only delicious but would fill us up quickly and give us the energy to keep going all night long.

Today, I’ve put my all-night partying days long behind me. I wouldn’t touch Mehkong whiskey even if you paid me to drink it. But I still love chicken and cashews. It is such an easy dish to make and it tastes so darned good. Best of all, when I eat it, I remember those carefree days of living large in the summer of ’93.

Stir-fried chicken with cashew nuts
Kai phat met mamuang himmapaan

300grams chicken breast, sliced thinly
½ cup fried or roasted cashew nuts
¼ cup crisp-fried dried red chillies, cut into 1-centimetre lengths
1 red chilli, sliced diagonally
1 small onion, sliced
½ cup spring onion cut into 2.5-centimetre lengths
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
1 ½ tablespoons fish sauce
1 tablespoon dark soy sauce
2 tablespoons cooking oil
Fresh coriander for garnish

In a large pan, heat the cooking oil over a medium-high fire. When hot, throw in your garlic and stir until fragrant; don’t let it burn. Add the chicken and stir. After a minute of two, or when the chicken pieces are all white, add the dried chillies, onion, spring onion, cashews, fish sauce, and dark soy. Cook, stirring, for an additional 3 to 4 minutes. Add more soy or fish sauce to taste. Serve over steamed rice and garnish with the sliced chilli and coriander.

About Aun Koh

Aun has always loved food and travel, passions passed down to him from his parents. This foundation, plus a background in media, pushed him to start Chubby Hubby in 2005. He loves that this site allows him to write about the things he adores--food, style, travel, his wife and his two kids!


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  1. Toni 13 February 2007

    Hi – First time I’m stopping by your blog. Love it! I have a musician friend living in Phuket. I mmust write him and ask which bar he goes to! He’s also a foodie, so I’ll tell him about your blog.

    Love the simple chicken with cashews. Something I’d do in a heartbeat. And the photography…..Wow! Wow, wow! Since I love to cook, eat and photograph, I’m lovin’ your site! I’m going to put a link to you on my blog –


  2. Husband 13 February 2007

    I make a very similar dish often in our home and there is something perfect about it. I think it’s the combination of the spicy of the chiles salt in the soy, nut from the cashews and the savory. This looks like a perfect variation.

  3. Brigitte 13 February 2007

    Just a few days ago I made ga xao hot dieu and it tasted havenly. It was as simple as your dish. And as a foodie I have to try your recipe as well.

  4. pablopabla 13 February 2007

    This is something simple enuff to do at home. Thanks!

  5. Anonymous 13 February 2007

    I loved this post – fun, descriptive – felt like I was seeing it in moving pictures. Thanks for that!


  6. Ben 14 February 2007

    Great recipe!!! So darn simple but looks like a million bucks. Will be trying this in the near future. Also, posted a link to this recipe on my blog

  7. Frederico 14 February 2007

    haha! CH the surfer dood!
    So back in 93, you were like going
    “Most totally awesome dude! Let’s go chew on some cashews!” ?

    I think i’ll be entering a happening phase of my life soon too.. :p Heading off to Canada for a year this September. 🙂

    Btw…the dish reminds me of kung pow chicken with cashew nuts..

  8. jacob 14 February 2007

    hi there, i stumbled upon your lovely blog via a google search for song of india. great thing you’ve got going here. and i adore your pictures. will be back for more. till then.

  9. veron 14 February 2007

    I haven’t had chicken cashew for years. Your recipe looks very simple and delicious. I think I’ll throw in some shitake mushrooms in mine too!

  10. thepassionatecook 15 February 2007

    i’ve been craving asian food for weeks now – but with a tiny baby at home, shopping is a bit difficult and cooking even more so. this sounds like i’ve got most ingredients and can whip it up in a flash – will try it very soon!

  11. monay 21 February 2007

    What a lovely and simple recipe! Having it for dinner right at this moment.

  12. Chubby Hubby 21 February 2007

    Monay: That’s great that you’ve made this today. I hope it worked well for you. Cheers!

  13. Wes 24 February 2007

    Simple, fantastic recipe. I made this on Valentines day, (half chicken for me, half tofu for my veggie wife) and we both loved it.

    I like the new food, “whining” and marriage, subtitle on your blog (very clever), but I have to say I liked the orange site with sans serif logo better. It was your look. It was clean and had punch! It doesn’t quite feel like home anymore….

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