Cashew shrimp is one of my favorite takeout foods. But you really never know what exactly goes into making it. Believe it or not, this takeout favorite can be made in just 20 minutes right at home. Seriously, it couldn’t be easier. If you haven’t stir-fried much, or ever, you are really missing out! It’s so easy and quick to prepare a healthy, delicious meal. I love this as a weeknight meal, but it is also a fun weekend dinner for movie night at home!
By preparing your own stir-fry at home, you take out all of the the ingredient guesswork. I think you’d be surprised at what is lurking in your traditional Chinese takeout. MSG, corn syrup, corn starch, GMO vegetables, and plenty of inconspicuous gluten where you don’t expect it. I could go on, but I’ll stop there.
My cashew shrimp recipe is gluten free, free from refined sugar and corn syrup, and can be easily made paleo, Whole30, and low carb/keto! I’ve gotcha covered. And you can pick out the freshest veggies and sustainable shrimp to make this dish really shine.
This recipe is best prepared in a wok, but if you don’t have a wok you can also use a really big cast iron skillet. Or even a really big stainless pan. Just make sure you will have enough room so as not to overcrowd the pan. Overcrowding can mean steaming shrimp and veggies instead of getting that nice sear. Speaking of nice sear, you want to make sure your pan is screaming hot. Like turn on the overhead vent before even starting-hot. That will give you the best results.
One note on saltiness: make sure to use unsalted cashews. If you use salted cashews it will likely be a little too salty. Also, if you substitute coconut aminos for the tamari, you may want to season with a bit of salt. Just do a little taste test at the end.
Now, let’s get cooking!
- 3 cups cooked rice or cooked cauliflower rice (I use sushi rice)
- 14 oz (400g) raw shrimp, peeled
- 1 cup (90g) snow peas
- ½ cup (80g) whole roasted cashews, unsalted
- ½ cup (70g) sliced carrots (about 1 large carrot)
- ½ cup (30g) nameko mushrooms
- 1 1-inch knob ginger, julienned
- 2 cloves garlic, sliced
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- 1 tsp sesame seeds
- 3 Tbsp tamari or coconut aminos
- 2 Tbsp water
- 1 Tbsp rice vinegar or coconut vinegar
- ½ Tbsp coconut sugar (omit for Whole30 & keto)
- 1 tsp fish sauce
- ½ tsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp arrowroot powder (+2 tsp water)
- 2 Tbsp avocado oil, divided
- Make sure rice is prepared and warm.
- Rinse shrimp and pat completely dry with towel or paper towels. For best results, they need to be really dry.
- Mise en place - Time to prepare your vegetables, aromatics, and sesame seeds. This is very important for stir-frying. You want everything in a work station measured out and ready to go. If you washed your vegetables, make sure they are really dry as well.
- Make the sauce - mix together tamari, water, vinegar, coconut sugar, fish sauce, and sesame oil in a glass measuring cup. Mix until sugar is dissolved. If omitting sugar, you may want to add a little stevia or monk fruit extract for that little bit of sweetness.
- In a small dish, mix together arrowroot powder and 2 tsp water to make a slurry. This will be added to the sauce to thicken it at the very end of the cooking process. Just set aside for now.
- Time to stir-fry! Heat half of the avocado oil (1Tbsp) in a wok over high heat. A large cast iron skillet can also be used.
- When the wok is really hot, add shrimp and cook for about 2 minutes (for medium-large shrimp) or until they are opaque throughout. Adjust cooking time based on the size of your shrimp. Stir constantly during cooking process. Remove shrimp and set aside.
- Wipe out the wok and heat the remainder of the avocado oil (1Tbsp) over high heat.
- When the wok is hot again, add ginger and cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
- Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Stir, stir, stir!
- Add peas, cashews, carrots, and mushrooms and cook for 1 minute. Keep stirring!
- Add sauce and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
- Add shrimp and cook for 30 seconds, keep on stirring!
- Give arrowroot slurry a quick stir to re-combine and add to the wok. Cook for 30 seconds.
- That's it! Serve over rice and top with green onions and sesame seeds.
Did you like the recipe? What is your favorite takeout food? Let me know below in the comments!