Stir-Fry Chicken with Cashews, Dates and Basil
Stir-Fry Chicken with Cashews, Dates and Basil

If you're looking for a light, make-your-family-happy-meal that will also make you happy, look no further. This stir-fry loaded with chicken plus the sweetness of dates, crunch of cashews and tang of fresh basil is the perfect quickie summer meal and will easily surpass any take-out in both taste and nutrition. Not to mention cost! It's Monday night take-in!!

I really love stir-fries--they're so easy, so tasty and make ordinary ingredients seem special somehow. I've quite a few here on the blog--Chicken, Asparagus & Mushroom, Beef and Broccoli in Garlic Sauce, Chicken Teriyaki, Mango Chicken and Peppers, even Sesame Asparagus and I love 'em all, but I think this one is my favorite! There's so much depth of flavor and I just adore the chewiness of the dates and the snappy crunch of the cashews.

Every bite makes you happy and so proud that it came out of your very own kitchen!

Plus, you just feel good after eating this! Great for hot summer nights when you don't want to feel weighed down by your dinner! Leaves just enough room for some dessert!

And speaking of dessert (there'll be cake!), I want to wish my youngest beast a very happy 16th birthday!! Yikes! How in the world did this happen? We're heading over to the DMV for the permit today! Watch out Westchester County!

Stir-Fry Chicken with Cashews, Dates and Basil

Makes 5-6 servings
Prep Time:  Less than 30 minutes


  • 4 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
  • 8 garlic cloves, smashed and peeled
  • Large bunch of scallions, chopped into fairly large pieces (white and green parts)
  • 2-3 shakes red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup unsalted roasted cashews
  • About 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size chunks
  • 1/2 cup rice wine or dry sherry
  • 3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce (if you can find dark soy sauce it works really well here)
  • 8 pitted dates, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • Cooked rice for serving (if you put a pot on before you start the stir-fry, it'll be ready when you are done)

The Recipe

1.  If you have a wok, heat it over high heat--otherwise use a 12-inch deep skillet, for about 2 minutes until it's very hot. Add 2 tablespoons of the sesame oil and swirl it around until it's thin. Then add the garlic, scallions and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring for 2-3 minutes, until the garlic is golden but not brown. Watch carefully so it doesn't burn. Add the rest of the oil as well as the cashews and chicken and stir-fry until the chicken starts to brown--this should take about 5-7 minutes. Add in the rice wine, soy sauce and dates and simmer for another 5-7 minutes, until the sauce is reduced and syrupy and the chicken in entirely cooked through. Remove from the heat and stir in the basil. Serve immediately over rice.


Note:  Recipe adapted from Dinner:  Changing the Game by Melissa Clark. I left out the fresh ginger (because I'm not a fan), subbed in white meat for the boneless thighs, increased the amount of dates and cut the basil to 1 cup.

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