Cashew stir-fry is generally a dish that includes cooked vegetables, cashew nuts, and meat, but some meatless versions may be made with tofu. It is prepared on the stove or over a flame employing a Chinese cooking technique that often uses a pan called a wok. Some types of stir-fry are prepared on a hot, flat metal grill. Cashew stir-fry can contain a wide variety of vegetables, and can be sweet, savory, or spicy, depending on the sauces used during cooking. This dish is commonly prepared by home cooks, but is also popular in Asian restaurants.
The most common type of meat used in a cashew stir-fry is chicken, but it sometimes has pork or beef in chunks or slices. This dish can also be made without meat, and it can be made as a vegetarian dish if sauces with animal products are avoided when flavoring the cashew stir-fry. Tofu is commonly substituted for meat in a stir-fry dish, but some sauces commonly used to flavor stir-fry dishes, like fish sauce, may also contain ingredients that are undesirable to some vegetarians.
The vegetables in a cashew stir-fry vary depending on availability and the preferences of the chef. They often include sugar snap peas, carrots, and broccoli, as well as cauliflower, bell pepper, and bean sprouts. Flavors frequently used to make cashew stir-fry can vary widely from dish to dish, but usually include ingredients like garlic, lemon, and sugar, and sauces like teriyaki sauce, fish sauce, and sweet and sour sauce.
Stir-fry is a cooking technique that is Chinese in origin. It involves cooking food at a high heat on a metal wok or grill. Generally, when cooking cashew stir-fry, the meat is added first, followed by vegetables. The cashews are not cooked long in the dish, and are generally stirred into the food at the last minute before the cashew stir-fry is served. Including the cashews in the dish at the end of preparation keeps them from overcooking and losing their crunch.
Though a stir-fry is a common dish made at home, it can be challenging to perfect. The main difficulty is ensuring that the ingredients are added in the correct order and cooked for the correct amount of time to ensure the best flavor and texture for all the elements in the dish. Mistakes in timing during preparation can mean that ingredients can turn out overcooked, undercooked, or burned.