Thai Basil Chicken with Cashew



A little over a year ago, I met Chef Martin Yan for the first time at a Publix Aprons event. I was so girly-giddy that I breathlessly told him that he was my “culinary superhero.”

And if that didn’t scream, “freaky-fan-stalker!” then maybe he got a clue when I got a little so close trying to videotape Yan carving a chicken in 15 seconds that I almost got my bangs thwacked off. But nope, because that same evening, when I mentioned I was writing a cookbook, he actually said, “Send me a copy to review, I’ll write a quote for the back of the book.”

There was a chance that Chef Yan was just sayin’ that to be nice. I mean, he’s a celebrity chef who meets hundreds of people every day, he couldn’t possibly have remembered what he said to whom? So, two months ago, when my book was complete, I prayed that he really, really meant what he said and sent him a copy of the book galley with a kind note.

He remembered. And Martin graciously penned, “Jaden Hair delivers beautiful, simple and delicious food that will bring famly and friends to your table. She is the real deal who learned from the best, her mom. – Martin Yan.”

My publisher slapped that endorsement on the back cover of the book…and then I nearly fainted.Steamy Kitchen Cookbook The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook hits the shelves in mid-October, and I think the moment I see the real book at a real bookstore, I’m going to personally kiss the back of each book, right where Martin’s quote is.

A couple of weeks ago, Martin came back to town for a class…of course I attended and I gave Martin a big hug and thanked him profusely, freaky-fan-stalker style.


Martin Yan China Cookbook Giveaway

Martin Yan’s sponsor, Tsingtao Beer has kindly given me two autographed books to give away. CONTEST OVER…WINNER ANNOUNCED!

He wanted to send a little message to you, as he autographed these two books:

I’ll randomly choose 2 winners on July 31st. Just comment below with a nice little note for Martin Yan! What do you want to say to him? I promise he’ll read it.



If Yan Can…

carve a chicken in 19 seconds…SO CAN YOU!

This is the second time I’ve seen him do this – just simply amazing. Hear that camera-clicking? That’s me, multi-tasking. Camcorder in left hand, heavy camera in right hand. Hold still….don’t get too close to that cleaver!




Thai Basil Chicken with Cashews Recipe

Servings: 4 Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 8 minutes

What I love about this recipe is that it's super quick and simple to make. What takes the most time in this recipe is cutting up the chicken! Really, it's that simple. Yes, if Yan Can Cook, So Can You!

For Gluten-free version, use Panda Brand Lee Kum Kee Oyster Sauce in green bottle (though please double-ck label), San-J wheat free tamari in place of soy sauce and GF beer.

Recipe from Martin Yan


2 tablespoons lager-style beer, like Tsingtao
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper (or black pepper)
12 ounces boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon lager-style beer, like Tsingtao
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce (or add an additional 1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce)
1/4 teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable, canola or peanut oil
2 teaspoons chopped garlic
4 ounces asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon cornstarch, dissolved in 2 teaspoons water
1 fresh chili pepper of your choice, thinly sliced into rings (optional)
1/4 cup lightly packed Thai basil or sweet basil leaves
1/2 cup roasted cashews


1. Combine the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Add the chicken and stir to coat. Let stand for 15 minutes.

2. Combine the sauce ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

3. Place a wok or wide saute pan over high heat until hot. Add the oil, swirling to coat the sides. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 10 seconds. Add the chicken, asparagus, bell pepper and cook, stirring constantly until the chicken is no longer pink, about 2 minutes. Add the sauce and bring to boil. Add the cornstarch solution and cook, stirring, until sauce thickens, about 1 minute. Remove pan from heat and stir in chili, basil leaves and cashews.

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Comments 210

  1. Lisa

    You introduced my mother to Chinese cooking and forever saved me from the boredom of overdone roast beef.

  2. Candice

    Martin, your food ALWAYS looks so delicious. I can’t wait to try some of the new recipes in your book!

  3. Alta

    I LOVE Martin Yan. Jaden, if I was in your shoes, I probably would have acted just as “girly-giddy”, as you put it. That dish does look delicious too!

  4. Meg

    I loved watching Martin Yan when I was a kid! He made cooking interesting, fun, and exciting… I yearned (and still yearn) for his crazy knife skills.

  5. Kelli

    Martin – I have always enjoyed watching you cook. You’re amazing and I can’t wait to see your new cookbook. I tried to do some knife tricks but nearly lost a finger. I’ll leave it to you!

  6. Gina

    When other kids were watching cartoons on Saturday morning, I was watching cooking shows on PBS. Hands down my favorite show was “Yan Can Cook!!” His show was the first to really sparked my interest because I found it so entertaining to watch and the end product always looked so yummy. His catch phrase and voice still rings in my ears and I think about his delightful smile that brightened up the whole room through the television screen. I always love his enthusiasm and excitement for cooking. Every time someone compliments my cooking I tell them, “Everything I know about cooking I learned from my mom and watching cooking shows.”

  7. BC

    He is the Master of Chinese Cooking. The first ever cook show I seen by a Chinese when I was very young. It make us chinese proud seeing him, conquering a space in the western cyber cooking world. “Yan can cook”. That brings back memories. To attract a kid to watch cook shows is not that easy. That is how good, funny and amusing he is. I dun blame Jaden as a fan-stalker. If I were her, I will be watching with mouth open, saliva dropping πŸ™‚

  8. Barry

    That. is. AWESOME. You got a great quote for your book from Martin Yan! He’s the ?? when it comes to Chinese cooking. Nicely done!

  9. jane parks

    I have several Martin Yan books and look to these for wonderful new receipts. Yay Martin.

  10. bruleeblog

    I love Martin Yan! Whenever his TV show was on, I would yell, “Mom, Yan Can Cook!” and my little Chinese mother would come running so we could watch it together.

  11. Maddy

    Hi! πŸ™‚ I enjoy following your blog , and I also enjoy cooking Martin Yan’s recipes as well. I look forward to more great recipes in the future! Thank you for sharing your culinary experiences with me and other online readers.

  12. AngAk

    Just love Martin Yan—watched him on PBS with my German Mom, and she loved him too. I especially like his travel shows, back to China.

  13. Nancy

    Where have I been? I’m not familiar with Martin Yan’s books, but from all the rave reviews, I need to take a look at them.

  14. Diana

    What a great recipe. I am growing my first thai basil in my apartment windowsill and this seems like the perfect first recipe to use it in. Martin, you are an inspiration. As a haole girl growing up in Hawaii surrounded by tons of Asian aunties and tutus (grandmas) who cooked amazing food, my fascination with cooking was very Asian focused. I remember the first time I saw you chop a cucumber with lightning speed and decided you were the ultimate ninja of chefs. Thank you for the joy you have brought to cooking for so many of us.

  15. Jasmine

    Martin Yan is similarly my hero. I felt a little emotional for you, Jaden, when I read the quote he wrote for your book. Chef Yan, you made me want to learn to cook Chinese food! Thanks for bringing me back to my own people!

  16. Al

    I used to love to watch the cooking shows like the Frugal Gourmet and Yan Can Cook when growing up and Martin was one of my favorites. I remember watching him make noodles by hand and being amazed.

  17. Beate

    When I was a child I loved watching Yan Can Cook on PBS. I used to play ‘cooking show’ with my brother and sister.

  18. Jenny

    Oh I love this man! I, like many other here, watched his shows as a child on PBS. He helped inspire me to learn how to cook, and I still look to him for recipes and cooking guidance.

  19. Elaine Saxe

    Martin Yan is the reason I started cooking. My mother couldn’t cook, so I watched Mr. Yan, and practiced whatever he did.

  20. AmySue

    Wow! Martin Yan takes me back to my childhood. Almost every Saturday afternoon my Dad and I would watch Yan Can Cook on PBS! I always thought he was so funny!

  21. Linda M

    My mom, who I think is the greatest cook in the world, always said Yan was phenomenal and said his knife skills were out-of-this-world.

  22. zenchef

    Martin Yan is my kitchen hero! I love him so much i even named my blog ‘Zen Can Cook’. I wanted to be born as a talented Chinese chef but i got lost in the innerstate and took the wrong exit… France. Oh well, nobody’s perfect. Next life maybe!

  23. Willa

    I love Martin Yan! Yan Can Cook was one of my favorite shows when I was a kid. My parents (we’re Chinese) heartily approved.

  24. Alicia

    I grew up watching Chef Yan on TV and had always admired him for his culinary skills – fantastic chef who happens to also have a great sense of humour! πŸ™‚

  25. Jenny

    I’ve always loved watching Yan Can Cook! on PBS with my mom. We’re Chinese, too, and he was always so entertaining and funny (not to mention the food was always stellar)!

  26. Quynh

    I’ve always drooled over the delicious dishes Chef Yan cooked on his PBS show. His humor and enthusiasm were an added bonus! I’m so envious of his amazing knife skills!

  27. Karen

    I remember my mom walking in on me in the kitchen one afternoon, just in time to see me chop a nice piece of fingernail into the onion I was attempting to dice with some of Martin’s skill and flair. She took my knife away. I went back to watching Yan Can Cook. Martin Yan is da bomb with a knife. I’m more like a dud firecracker πŸ˜€



  29. Melissa Warren

    I am famous in my family for my fajitas and the recipe is actually an adaptation from on of Martin Yan’s cookbooks from over 15 years ago! I’ve been a fan for a long, long time!

  30. Melissa

    Martin Yan always made cooking fun, my husband and kids enjoyed watching his shows as much as I did and they certainly enjoyed the food! (I’m a Tampa Tribune reader).

  31. Bonnie M. Mullen

    Dear Jaden,

    I always read your food and recipe column in the Tampa Tribune and love your flair for writing and your information about food. Chef Martin Yan’s recipe today for Thai Basil Chicken with Cashews along with the photograph excited my food cells which are now calling for me to try making the dish. Chef Yan is such fun and has an excellent philosophy about life to cope with the many challenges life brings.

    Keep writing and Best Wishes with the sale of your new book. Regards, Bonnie

  32. john flanigan


  33. JOHN

    I’m a Tampa Tribune reader.Glad to find out that Mr.Yan is genuinely real and caring, not just famous. And he is right on in his endorsement of you.

  34. Jeff Kennedy

    Look forward to your column every week. You’ve become another great resource for the Chef’s I work with every week.I’ve borrowed many ideas from you since moving here. Kogi’s was a smash!!

  35. TikiPundit

    Martin Yan was one of the two chefs who inspired me to start cooking and stop eating out Chinese so much. I received the Yan Can Cook Book in 1989. This was because I watched the two chefs on Bay Area TV back then. Top-class cooking and he had fun in the kitchen. I still have the book, of course.

  36. Emily North

    My family loves the Thai Basil chicken with cashews recipe. I had some friends over for dinner and made the chicken dish and it was a great success. Both families wanted the recipe and even the kids (6 kids under the age of 7) loved it and wanted seconds. One of the family’s told me that she purchased Martin Yan’s newest cookbook because the recipe was so yummy. Thanks for putting the recipe in the Tampa Tribune, my internet copy was splattered with recipe ingrediants!

    I am a Tampa Tribune reader.


  37. Brenda

    Can’t wait to try Martin Yan’s Thai Basil Chicken Recipe that was published in the Tampa Tribune’s Sunday edition. My husband and I enjoy cooking and experimenting with Thai recipes at home – he loves Tsingtao Beer and I always have Thai basil growing in a pot or in my herb garden.


    I am so happy that Mr. Yan penned your new cook book, i got a chance to meet Mr. Yan at publix cooking school 2 yrs. ago. What nice person he is. I’m sure that he penned in your book, are his true feelings. Because of Mr. Yan i now buy whole chickens, and still have all my fingers (NOT IN 18 SECS.).GOOD LUCK



    What a lucky person to have met such a loving person. I to met Mr. Yan at publix. I know you are a very proud of your cook book and of him penning your book.I will look for your book in oct. and i wiil try to be at your book signing.I to am going to write a cook book soon. And when i do i would be honered to have you pen my book.
    ( will you remember me).


  40. Malika Walker

    Yan Can Cook and Julia Child on PBS was the highlight of my week as a homebound Mom while her husband was out to sea! I feel like we have grown older together and wiser too ~ thanks to Martin!

  41. kayenne

    Since ‘Yan Can Cook’, I decided I can, too, when I was little. And here I am… still loving every moment!

    I’ve yet to learn to chop and mince like he does though!

  42. Annie

    Dear Chef Yan, your show was such an education for me, growing up in a meat-and-potatoes American home where the kitchen was off-limits to the kids. You introduced me to new ideas, food history, techniques and most of all, attitude in the kitchen. You taught me that cooking was not only interesting but fun, as well. Just reading your name always makes me smile. Thank you for sharing your enthusiasm and I hope you continue to do so in good health for a long, long time.

  43. Annie

    I love Martin Yan! I used to watch him all the time as a kid and giggle about how to make all my favorite dishes. Yan can cook! πŸ™‚

  44. Joe Tharp

    I used to watch Martin Yan on his TV show many years ago. It is because of him that I bought my first wok and whole chickens. You really do save money that way. May you wok forever Martin.

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