Crunchy Mama’s Cashew Chicken (Paleo, Gluten Free)

Crunchy Mama’s Cashew Chicken (Paleo, Gluten Free)

I first discovered the Internet when I was a senior in high school in Fiji. It was 1998, an internet connection at home was unheard of but my school had one. I had to look up the discipline of marine engineering for a scholarship and that’s how I saw my first webpage –

I have come a long way since then with a computer science degree and a decade-long IT career. The Internet is no longer as mystical as it seemed that warm summer day when I stood in awe as this screen magically populated with “real” information about boats and coastlines.

These days, the Internet is this wonderful communication medium connecting us with people from all walks of life. It lets us keep in touch with friends and family thousands of miles away. It lets us share parts of our lives with strangers (like Crunchy Mama’s kitchen creations!). It also lets us share our thoughts, both profound and mundane, with strangers – Tweets about what we had for lunch, instagram photos of our children and opinions and commentary on anything and everything in between.

Sometimes, I read things like forums and comments on popular blogs and it amazes me how people will say things online that they wouldn’t dream of saying to a stranger face-to-face. It is fascinating and sometimes frustrating to read. A lot of it is probably due to a lack of empathy for people you can’t see. You are just speaking behind the anonymity of a computer.

Perhaps, we can all reflect a moment on the power of language and how we may be speaking to an actual human being on the other end of all these wires and electronics. I find it especially important to remember the power of language when discussing people’s health and eating choices and habits  – as is often the case on food and diet sites. Most of us wouldn’t dream of walking up to someone in a restaurant and tell them things like “You’re eating DEAD FOOD”, “I am more hardcore healthy/Paleo/Primal/vegan/<insert label> than you are. That pancake/butter/tapioca flour/fish is NOT ‘healthy/Paleo/Primal/vegan/<insert label>'”.

Until you’ve walked a mile in someone’s shoes, you don’t know anything about them and their journey for better health and in life. There’s respectfully inquiring about someone’s choices and sharing your own experiences and then there’s the judgey, condescending, I-am-better-than-you blanket statement of your opinion. The former may take a little longer and a little more effort but I’d like to think that most of us would make that little investment to try and remain kind people online as we normally do in real life.

OK, rant over.

I always feel a bit better after a healthy, satisfying meal. Cashew chicken is a Chinese restaurant favorite. I know a lot of Crunchy friends get very excited about a more Paleo/Primal version of Chinese fare because going to Panda Express is no longer desirable in our quest for better eating. This one is a really easy one with a small list of ingredients – I hope you enjoy it!

Cut up your chicken into pieces that are roughly the size of a cashew nut and marinate it in some coconut aminos, tapioca flour and egg white.

Marinating chicken

Cut up some colorful peppers, ginger and green onion.

Cut up peppers, green onion and ginger

Combine the sauce ingredients and set aside (coconut aminos, wine, balsamic vinegar and a little bit of salt, honey and tapioca flour)



Using your fat of choice (Olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, bacon grease), shallow fry the chicken pieces for a few minutes until just cooked.

Fry chicken


Drain chicken pieces over some paper towels.

Drain chicken


Drain your skillet except for 2 TBSP of fat and saute up some green onion and ginger until fragrant.

saute green onion and ginger

Throw in the peppers and sauce and cook briefly until sauce is thick and bubbly.

Add peppers and sauce


Then add chicken and cashews and stir until everything is evenly coated with sauce.

Cashew chicken (Paleo, Gluten Free)

Serve with a yummy side salad and enjoy!

Cashew chicken (Paleo, Gluten Free)

You’ll need:

  • 2 lb chicken, cut into pieces the size of cashew nuts
  • 1 cup roasted cashew nuts
  • 1/2 red pepper, diced to the same size as chicken
  • 1/2 green or orange pepper, diced to the same size as chicken
  • 3 green onions, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 15 slices of ginger (size of a quarter)
  • Fat of your choice for frying and sautéing (olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil or bacon grease)



  • 4 TBSP coconut aminos
  • 2 TBSP cooking wine
  • 1 TBSP balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp raw honey
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp tapioca flour 
  1. Combine marinade ingredients and mix chicken into marinade for at least 30 minutes
  2. Combine sauce ingredients in a separate bowl and set aside
  3. In a large skillet, heat up your fat of choice and shallow fry the chicken pieces for 2-4 minutes until just cooked.
  4. Drain chicken on some paper towels
  5. Drain the fat out of the skillet except for 2 TBSP
  6. Saute the green onion and ginger for a minute
  7. Add peppers and sauce. Cook until it is thick and bubbly
  8. Add chicken back to the skillet and stir until chicken pieces are covered in sauce.
  9. Throw in the roasted cashews. Stir and serve

Cashew chicken (Paleo, Gluten Free)


  1. This looks amazing. I will definitely have to give it a shot. I used to be scared of using alternative flours and would typically just dismiss a recipe like this. But within the last month I used coconut flour and almond flour with decent results. No reason to be scared of tapioca 🙂

    Also I am right there with you on the rant about comments. Interestingly enough, I JUST read a blog post about it a few days ago –

    Thought it was a really interesting read on how blog comments have changed and what bloggers should do about it.

    Although to be fair, I actually HAVE had people make comments in real life about what I was eating. Not to the extent that people will on the internet, but I’ve been at parties where people will make comments to my face when I say no thank you to the booze, processed foods, gluten etc. I used to try to explain it was because I eat a certain way. Now I just saw I’m allergic.

    • Coconut and almond flour are more readily accepted by Paleo folk. Tapioca flour isn’t as popular because while it is a safe flour to use, it doesn’t provide much in the way of nutrients. But I like its properties for thickening sauce and if I’m talking abou 1-2 TBSP of tapioca flour in a 2 lb dish, I am OK with that 🙂

      That’s a great blog post! I like the analogy of your blog to your living room.

      And you are right – some people don’t have any qualms about directly commenting on your food choices in person… even if they know the risk of having a drink thrown in their face 🙂

  2. This has become one of my favorite Asian dishes. I plan to make it while visiting my daughter this weekend. Since they love Vietnamese and Thai cuisine, I have no doubt they will be pleasantly surprised.

  3. I found your blog when I was searching for a Paleo friendly sweet and sour sauce. I just the cashew chicken. Both recipes are completely ùh-mazing! I will be hanging out here a lot… trying more dishes. Thanks for posting 🙂

  4. Awesome post and a REALLY great recipe too!!! I traded the tapioca for almond flour, the green onion for white onion and omitted the wine. And If I saw you in person Id tell you the same. And then hug you. It would be awkward, but quick! Thank you!!!!

  5. I was googling for a cashew chicken recipe and your post came up. My mouth started watering just reading through it and looking at your pictures, so I knew it had to go on the weekly meal rotation! Can’t wait to try it out.

  6. Just found your blog and am SO excited to try a bunch of your recipes! Thanks for the inspiration and for sharing your passion for healthy and delicious food 🙂