Chicken with Chinese Broccoli, Thai Basil and Cashews

Thai Tamarind Chicken

What to do when you can’t decide between Thai basil chicken, chicken with cashews, and chicken with broccoli?  Make this Thai-inspired dish that combines elements from the three Asian favorites!

This was the first time I’ve cooked with Chinese broccoli (also called kai lan, gai lan, and Chinese kale) and guys, I’m in love.  I’m not entirely sure whether it’s a completely new to me Asian green, or whether I’ve been oblivious to what’s in the food I’ve been eating.  Regardless, I’m smitten.

Thai Tamarind Chicken

The stems may remind you a bit of regular old broccoli, but Chinese broccoli is topped with sturdy leaves and small, yellow flowers in lieu of florets.  The leaves have a slightly bitter flavor, which pair really well with this Thai chicken’s tangy, salty, and sweet sauce.

Things only get more delicious with the addition of crunchy, toasted cashews and spicy, peppery Thai basil.  Don’t get discouraged by the seemingly long list of ingredients- everything should be available at a reasonably well-stocked Asian grocery store.   Once you’ve got your ingredients purchased and prepped, you’re just a quick stir-fry away from this Thai-inspired dish.

Thai Tamarind Chicken


Chicken with Chinese Broccoli, Thai Basil and Cashews

Yield: 4 servings

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour


* 3/4 pound boneless chicken, cubed or cut into strips
* 1 Tablespoon gluten-free oyster sauce
* 1 Tablespoon palm sugar (can also substitute regular or brown sugar)
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 Tablespoon minced ginger
* 3 Thai chiles, minced
* 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
* 1 small to medium red onion, thinly sliced
* 2 cups roughly chopped baby Chinese broccoli, both stems and leaves
* 1 Tablespoon tamarind pulp
* 1 Tablespoon fish sauce
* 1 cup roughly chopped Thai basil leaves
* 1/2 cup toasted, unsalted cashews


Combine the chicken, oyster sauce, palm sugar, garlic, ginger, Thai chiles and 1 Tablespoon of the oil in a large bowl. Set aside to marinate for 30 minutes.

Heat the remaining oil in a large skillet or wok, add the onions, and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion begins to soften. Add the chicken and all of the marinade and cook, stirring frequently, until the outside of the chicken is no longer pink (it shouldn't be cooked through at this point). Add the Chinese broccoli, tamarind pulp and fish sauce and continue to cook until the chicken is cooked through and the Chinese broccoli leaves have wilted and the stems are tender crisp. Add the Thai basil and the toasted cashews. Continue to cook for another minute or so, until the Thai basil has just begun to wilt. Serve immediately.

Adapted from Easy Thai Cooking by Robert Danhi

    Pin It

7 Responses to “Chicken with Chinese Broccoli, Thai Basil and Cashews”

  1. #
    Julie — November 25, 2013 at 3:47 pm

    This was really good! Kids especially loved it without the chiles.


    • Cate — December 2nd, 2013 @ 9:44 pm

      Awesome! So glad everybody liked it :)


  2. #
    Denise — January 21, 2014 at 3:27 pm

    We just enjoyed this for dinner…perfect on a snowy winter night in the mountains. It’s a keeper!


    • Cate — January 21st, 2014 @ 10:25 pm

      So glad you liked it Denise!


  3. #
    Food to Fitness — February 4, 2014 at 7:58 pm

    This looks delicious. Thanks for the recipe.


  4. #
    KP Kwan — September 17, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    Hi Cate,

    Nice recipe and I love the combination of cashew nuts and chicken.
    I tend to add some extra chilli to satisfy my spicy palate :)

    KP Kwan


  5. #
    Kristen — September 30, 2015 at 12:20 pm

    I hope you still get these messages (and I hope you keep this site up FOREVER, but if not I’m saving so many of your recipes offline! ;) because this recipe was STELLAR! I was able to find both Thai basil (and more importantly my new favorite veg) Chinese broccoli for this dish and they were both SO GOOD! We live in the DC area so we’re blessed with awesome grocery stores. But this recipe was so easy and so flavorful. Next time I’m doubling it so we can have leftovers for daaaays!


Leave a Comment