Spicy Cashew Crunch Stir Fry

Stir fry is my bes fran. It’s a great way to use the leftover vegetables in your fridge. Just toss them into a hot skillet, add a scrumptious sauce, and you’re done. Plus, stir fry sauce can be tweaked in a 100 different ways so you always have a new flavor to keep your taste buds on their toes (eww, imagining taste buds with toes just gave me a shiver). This Spicy Cashew Crunch Stir Fry is no exception.

I was craving “spicy” today, so I used a chili garlic sauce made by Huy Fong as a base for my stir fry sauce. This chili garlic sauce is kind of like sriracha’s more rustic cousin. Most stores that carry sriracha also carry this chili garlic sauce as well. This slightly chunky sauce is made with red chiles, garlic, and a little vinegar. It’s bold and simple, and creates a really strong base for a stir fry sauce (you could also use sambal). I also added a little grated ginger to the sauce to brighten things up, plus a little toasted sesame oil to make a really savory base. The simple sauce is bold and creates a nice contrast to the mild cashews.

For the best price on cashews try to find them in bulk bins (which I failed to do today). That way you can buy the one cup you need without having leftovers. Aim for unsalted and unroasted cashews if you can.

Spicy Cashew Crunch Stir Fry - BudgetBytes.com

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Spicy Cashew Crunch Stir Fry

This simple Spicy Cashew Crunch Stir Fry has an extra spicy sauce, crunchy cashews, and lightly stir fried vegetables. Delicious dinner made fast! 

Total Cost $9.10 recipe / $2.28 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

STIR FRY SAUCE

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce $0.40
  • 1-2 Tbsp chili garlic sauce or sambal* $0.68
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar $0.04
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger $0.24
  • 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil $0.29
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch $0.04

STIR FRY

  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil $0.08
  • 1 crown broccoli (about 1 lb.) $1.72
  • 2 carrots $0.22
  • 1 red bell pepper $1.50
  • 1 yellow onion $0.72
  • 1 cup cashews $2.50
  • 2 green onions, sliced for garnish (optional) $0.17
  • 4 cups cooked rice $0.50

Instructions

  1. Prepare the sauce by combining the soy sauce, chili garlic sauce*, brown sugar, and sesame oil in a small bowl. Use a small holed cheese grater to grate about 1 tsp fresh ginger into the bowl. Stir to combine, then add the corn starch and stir until it is fully dissolved.
  2. Cut the broccoli into small florets. Thinly slice the onion, red bell pepper, and carrots.
  3. Heat a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the vegetable oil to the hot skillet and tilt the skillet until the bottom is coated in oil. Add the vegetables to the skillet, then stir continuously as they cook. Cook the vegetables only until the broccoli turns bright green and the onions just begin to soften (3-5 minutes). You want the vegetables to retain some crunch in the center.
  4. Finally, add the sauce and cashews to the skillet. Stir until everything is coated in sauce and heated through (1-2 minutes). Serve immediately over rice. Top with sliced green onions if desired.

Recipe Notes

*Start with 1 Tbsp chili garlic sauce. Add more to the skillet at the end if more heat is desired (I used 2 Tbsp total).

Spicy Cashew Crunch Stir Fry

Spicy Cashew Crunch Stir Fry - BudgetBytes.com

 Step by Step Photos

Chili Garlic Sauce Mix

Begin by making the sauce so that it’s ready to go when you need it. In a small bowl combine 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1-2 Tbsp chili garlic sauce (you can start with 1 Tbsp and add more later if desired), 2 Tbsp brown sugar, and 1/2 tsp toasted sesame oil. Use a small holed cheese grater to grate about one tsp of fresh ginger into the bowl. Finally add 1 Tbsp cornstarch and stir until it is dissolved. You can see the “chili garlic sauce” in the photo above. It’s a very rustic mix of red chiles, garlic, and vinegar.

Vegetables

You don’t have to be fancy when it comes to vegetables for stir fry. You can even make a very good stir fry with just one or two different vegetables. I used one crown of broccoli (about 1 lb.), two carrots, one yellow onion, and one red bell pepper.

Chopped Vegetables and Nuts

Cut the broccoli into small florets (they’re hiding under the carrots and onion in the photo), and thinly slice the onion, bell pepper, and carrots. Roughly chop the cashews so there are a few more pieces and you’ll be more likely to get a bit of cashew in every bit (but not so small that you can’t tell it’s a cashew).

Stir Fry Vegetables

Heat a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Once it’s hot, add 2 Tbsp vegetable oil. Tilt the skillet to spread the oil over the surface. Add the vegetables and stir constantly as they cook. Cook them only until the broccoli turns bright green and the onions begin to soften slightly. The slightly crunchy vegetables are half of the “crunch” in this Spicy Cashew Crunch. ;)

Add Sauce and Nuts

Finally, add the sauce and cashews to the skillet. Continue to stir and cook until everything is covered in sauce and heated through (only a minute or two more). Taste the mixture to see if you want to add more chili garlic sauce. I started with 1 Tbsp in the premixed sauce and added a second tablespoon to the skillet because I like pain, apparently.

Spicy Cashew Crunch Stir Fry - BudgetBytes.com

Serve the Spicy Cashew Crunch Stir Fry immediately over cooked rice. Oh deliciously crunchy vegetables and creamy cashews! YES!

Spicy Cashew Crunch Stir Fry - BudgetBytes.com

Spicy Cashew Crunch Stir Fry - BudgetBytes.com