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Control Your Carbs — Chicken Cashew Recipe

Control Your Carbs: Chicken Cashew recipe

Some recipes are just easy for getting in the right amount of carbs (as well as the other macronutrients).

Like this one, which happens to be a family favorite.

A Family Matter

Several years ago we found out our son was allergic to dairy and eggs. He eventually outgrew it, but we learned a lot in that phase of life about paying even more attention to what we’re eating.

(Preventing a painful, dangerous allergic reaction for your child can be very motivating.)

It was too overwhelming to make a separate dish for our son all the time, so I found meals that were either dairy/egg free, or were easy to separate and portion out the different parts of the recipe.

This one happens to be both.

Portioning Carbs

I love recipes that can easily be adapted for all the different needs in the family.

For example…

Seth gets extra rice because he is the biggest and needs more calories (men need around 2 cupped hand portions). Plus, his body type responds better to more carbs.

How many carbs should I eat? A visual guide
Ectomorph body

I, on the other hand, use less rice and/or extra veggies because I am smaller and need less calories (women need around 1 cupped hand portion). Plus, my body type leans more toward needing slightly less carbs.

How many carbs should I eat? A visual guide
Endomorph body

(Keep in mind, these body types aren’t about the “size” of your body. It’s about biological differences and responses to food. Click the pictures to view the original posts.)

The kids prefer to leave the sauce and cashews out, but will happily devour the rest of the dish. Making this one of the easiest meals to meet all of our family’s biological needs, and personal preferences.

For more on how to portion out your food, be sure to check out this article called, “Stop Calorie Counting.”

The Recipe

I adapted this recipe from Life Made Sweeter. The changes I made were making a homemade hoisin sauce instead of using jarred hoisin which contains a lot of extra preservatives and sugar.

I also changed the recipe to 2 breasts from 1 breast. One breast is simply not enough chicken to serve 4 people as the recipe suggests.

Serve with steamed shredded cabbage and or steamed broccoli for extra veggies!


For the Sauce:

  • 8 tablespoons low sodium-soy sauce, (can also use tamari or coconut aminos)

  • 2 tsp. sesame oil

  • 1 tbsp. peanut butter

  • 1 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

  • 2.5 tablespoons honey, molasses, or brown sugar

  • 1/8 tsp. garlic powder

  • 1/8 tsp. black pepper

  • 10 drops hot sauce

For the Cornstarch Slurry:

  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch or arrowroot powder

  • 3 Tablespoons water plus more as needed to thin out sauce

For the Rice and Chicken:

  • 1-1/2 Tablespoons toasted sesame oil or olive oil

  • 2 medium boneless skinless chicken breast cut into cubes

  • salt and black pepper to taste

  • 2 garlic cloves minced

  • 1/2 teaspoon grated or minced ginger

  • 1 cup chopped red and green bell peppers

  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots

  • 1 1/2 cups uncooked Jasmine rice washed, rinsed and drained thoroughly (or other long grained rice)

  • 1 1/2 cups water only 1 cup if cooking in the Instant Pot

  • 2/3 cup roasted unsalted cashews

  • sesame seeds for garnish

  • chopped green onions for garnish


For Stovetop Method:

  1. In a large 12" skillet, whisk together the first 9 ingredients. Slowly whisk in the water and place on medium high heat, bringing to a boil until thickened. Add more water as needed to thin out the sauce to desired consistency. Transfer sauce to a heat safe bowl.

  2. Wipe down the same pan with a damp cloth, then heat 2 tablespoons of sesame oil over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring until lightly browned.

  3. Add the garlic and ginger, stirring for 20 seconds, or until fragrant. Add the bell peppers and carrots and sauté for another 30 seconds.

  4. Stir in 1/4 cup of the sauce, reserving the rest for drizzling at the end. Add the uncooked rice and slowly pour in the water.

  5. Bring to a simmer, then lower heat to medium and cover pan.

  6. Cook for 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally until most of the liquid is absorbed and rice is tender. Open the lid and stir in the cashews.

  7. Remove from heat and drizzle with the desired amount of sauce to taste and consistency desired (you can save the rest for a stir-fry next time).

  8. Serve hot garnished with sesame seeds and green onions if desired.

For Instant Pot Method:

  1. Open the lid of the Instant Pot and press the SAUTE button, allow to preheat for a few minutes until you hear a beep.

  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the first 8 ingredients; set aside.

  3. Turn the Instant Pot to SAUTE mode. Heat 1 1/2 tablespoons of sesame oil. When the oil is hot, add the chicken and season with salt and pepper. Saute for 2-3 minutes, until lightly brown. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for another 20 seconds. Pour in 1/2 of the sauce, the uncooked rice and the 1 cup of water.

  4. Place the lid on, and lock it, setting the valve to sealing.

  5. Press MANUAL (old model) high pressure or PRESSURE COOK (high) and set for 3 minutes.

  6. Once the 3 minutes is up and the Instant Pot beeps, allow the pressure cooker to naturally release for 10 minutes.

  7. Carefully remove the lid and press CANCEL then the SAUTE button. Add the bell peppers and carrots and stir until tender. Sprinkle in cashews, sesame seeds, and green onions, if desired. Whisk the cornstarch slurry together with the reserved amount of sauce and drizzle in desired amount into Instant Pot (you can save the rest for a stir-fry next time) and serve hot with sesame seeds and green onions, if desired.


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