Sweet and Spicy, Garlicky Cashew Chicken

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Yay! I’ve finally gotten around to cooking something from Melissa Clark’s cookbook “In The Kitchen With A Good Appetite” and I can not recommend this wonderful book highly enough!!!

I purchased this book in October of last year and began reading (more like devouring) it with anxious anticipation of recreating her recipes in my own home kitchen.  It prominently sat on the night stand next to my bed and I would read it at night as one would excitedly read a good page turning novel.  

What I love most about this book are the wonderful stories Melissa tells about each and every culinary creation she’s developed and how she has adapted some of the recipes to fit the specific ingredients she’s had on hand at certain times, in certain instances and best of all just because of her creative inspiration. Love that! Her method of cooking reminds me a lot of myself (if I may be so bold).  All of the recipes in this book are ones that make you go “I’d like to try that” and “Wow, that sounds easy and so good!”  The ingredients are easliy accessable and usually short and to the point.  What’s not to love?

So then, here is my adaptation of Melissa’s “Spicy, Garlicky Cashew Chicken” (found on page 124).  I’m calling mine “Sweet and Spicy, Garlicky Cashew Chicken” and here’s my interpretation, inspired my Melissa Clark.


1 cup roasted salted cashews
6 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup canola oil
1 teaspoon sesame oil
4 large cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Juice of one lime, plus lime wedges for garnish
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
1-2  jalepeno peppers, seeded and chopped
kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs

-Add all ingredients (except chicken thighs) into a food processor and process to form a paste.  If needed, add a little water to thin if desired.
-Place chicken on a baking sheet (I covered mine with aluminum foil for easier clean up) and season with additional salt and pepper.
-Slather each chicken thigh with a generous amount of the cashew spread and allow to sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
-Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
– Remove chicken from fridge about 15 minutes before you’re ready to bake it to allow it to take the chill off.
-Bake for approximately 25 minutes at 375 and then turn up the heat to 425 and continue baking for an additional 10 minutes until you get a deep golden crust.
-Allow the chicken to sit covered for approximately 10 minutes before serving.


Melissa’s original recipe calls for grilling the chicken but with the blizzard of 2011 here in the Midwest, I thought that baking it would be a better option at this particular time.

Viola!!! Here you go…. This chicken was simply amazing! Probably the best tasting chicken dish I’ve had in a long, long time!  Even my husband and son gave this recipe a rousing round of applause! Three gigantic thumbs up and a meal I will make again and again. Certainly company worthy (if you don’t mind them never leaving). LOL

Garlic Cashew Chicken Recipe

I served this chicken with a side of brown rice that I garnished with some chopped cashews and bit of the chopped cilantro.  Add a few lime wedges to the dish and you’ve got yourself something to feast your eyes on as well as your tastebuds!  I totally can’t wait to try more of Melissa’s recipes and I hope you’ll follow along to see what goodies Melissa inspires in me next 🙂  Let’s eat everybody!!!

For now and until later,


  1. I'm betting this preparation would be great with chicken breasts, too (not a dark meat eater), adjusting the cooking time a bit! Yum!

  2. I'm always looking for a new, amazing chicken recipe. I'll bookmark this one!

  3. This looks so delicious!!! Thanks for sharing!

  4. You know I love this book too and now am off to open it to this recipe. I have chicken. I have garlic. I think I now have dinner!

  5. Oh my gosh-I was expecting a stir-fry type dish from the title, but this is better! Looks incredible, Renee!

  6. oh my this looks good – am such a fan of anything garlicky but my oh my, adding cashews? brilliant!

  7. Looks at that crust it forms, YUM! I'm going to have this one a try too!

  8. This is really incredible could definitely see myself making this dish!! Yum!!

  9. What a great looking dish! Stumbled!

  10. This would definitely a dish during our valentine celebration. Hearty, easy and so tasty, just looking at the ingredients listed makes my water mouth. Great choice!

  11. This looks like one I'm going to have to add to my collection. I'm always looking for new ways to dress up chicken. I'm with RJ Flamingo I would use chicken breasts, my wife prefers white meat.

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