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. Nancy in OKC

    Mr. Yan, my grandmother taught me to cut up a chicken 45 years ago, but she was not nearly as fast accurate,or handsome It has served me well, I taught my husband and 3 daughters. Thanks for the wonderful demo. A YanFan.

  2. Melissa


    I have been a fan of yours for so long, way before the days of easy access food shows like Food Network! Thanks so much for wonderful shows and delicious recipes!

    Melissa Krinos

  3. Melissa


    And by the way, I’m a Tampa Tribune reader and I read how incredibly nice and generous you were! That makes you even MORE awesome!


  4. Marilyn Signer

    Enjoyed your column about Martin Yan. Several years ago I had the pleasure of seeing him at a dinner given by the Organization of Chinese Americans in the Washington DC area. My daughter and I were guests of one of the members. After his presentation, including cutting up a chicken in 18 seconds, he joined us at our table. The conversation was delightful as was the food, served family style. Not the usual Asian restaurant food. I am a Tribune subscriber.
    Marilyn Signer
    Lakeland, FL

  5. Kasia

    Mr. Yan
    I love all kinds of food and one more cook book to conquer would be fab. Let me practice and see if I can carve a chicken in 17 seconds….
    Kasia Frawley

  6. Linda

    Dear Chef Martin Yan,

    May I respectfully mention another chef, Thomas Keller? I will explain momentarily.

    I am yet another huge fan of yours, dating back to the PBS chefs Nathalie, Jacques, Julia, and of course, Martin!!

    When your show came on back then, my husband FINALLY joined me in our living room, and we loved watching your knife skills coupled with your humor, which made my belly ache so much with laughter. You are the best!

    What a joy to know you truly love life as much as you appear on your show!!

    I have always loved reading Jadens column, but this one about you,
    Chef, was particularly inspirational.

    I cant wait to get my hands on the Steamy Kitchen cookbook.

    Back to Chef Keller his Bouchon book is the ONLY signed cookbook I own. I am so utterly in awe of you, Chef Martin (YEARS of admiration). If I am one of the 2 lucky winners to receive your signed copy of Steamy Kitchen, you will make me the happiest amateur cook in the Bay area!

    Mr. Keller watch out, you have Big Time competition!!!

    Love you, Chef Martin, thank you for visiting Tampa, and supporting our food writers (even the freaky fan-stalker types) We truly do love you!


  7. Mary R., Tampa

    Dear Chef Yan:

    I love the recipes in your Quick & Easy cookbook! One of my favorites is the Refreshing Beer Drink using Tsingtao beer.



  8. Mary R., Tampa


    I am a Tampa Tribune reader. Can’t wait to read the Chef Yan’s book about China Towns and look forward to seeing Jaden’s new cookbook when it comes on the market.



  9. Lianne

    Martin Yan is fun, energetic and makes cooking fun! I especially love when he adds the cultural aspect to the segment and goes on location!

    Thank you!

  10. John Bottomley

    I also met Martin Yan about 18 years ago at a show. He was so kind and very personable. It’s amazing how being a chef and cooking have come into vogue, but Mr. Yan plowed the way for so many. He’s been true to his profession all of these years.

    Congratulations on your cookbook. I truly hope it’s a big hit for you.

    I too love to cook and have attended over a dozen Apron’s cooking school classes. Thanks for a great article.

  11. Lisa

    I used to watch Yan Can Cook and always enjoyed trying his recipes! I love your China Town cookbook!!! I have worked with Chef Jaden at a local store doing cooking classes, she talked about the cookbook and can’t wait to get a copy!!

  12. Nora

    Your reaction to Martin Yan is the way I felt about working with you. Can’t wait to try this week recipe!!!

  13. Eleanor

    Martin Yan; thank you for pleasing my tastebuds with your sensational recipes.
    You have awakened a true passion for cooking within me.
    Thank you.

  14. Nora

    Martin is very down to eatrh on any program I’ve seen him on and enjoy watching his knife skills!!!
    I’m a Tampa Tribune reader.

  15. Lisa

    I remember seeing Martin on the food network cooking with Emeril. Having met Emeril and seeing them together I can only imagine the out takes and the fun times they had during the breaks!!!

    I’m a Tampa Tribune reader.

  16. Anneliese Meier

    I am sure Mr. Yan had fun with you at Publix, Jaden! Mr. Yan, I am sorry I missed you but I travel a great deal. I have taken a cooking class with Jaden (wontons and such) and had a graeat time. With chef’s like you both, cooking is a pleasure and a fun hobby to have.

  17. noobcook

    I grew up on Yan Can Cook, and even though I was really young and didn’t had a chance to cook then, watching Chef Yan in action ignited an interest in food and cooking which lasted till now (and it’s been more than a decade!)

  18. Susan D.

    I recently hooked on to cable tv once again and watch a lot of food network. I wish Martin still had a show on. Used to watch him all the time

  19. carol ann harmon

    Mr. Yan, You are incredible. Is your fast-chopping ability something you were born with or did it take a while to learn? I am amazed and wish I could prepare food so quickly. Always enjoyed your show, and hope to see you at Publix the next time you’re here. And thanks for being so nice to Tampa’s Jaden.

  20. Jacqueline Falasca

    Dear Mr. Yan,

    What a generous soul you must be (and a happy one). Chinese food has been enjoyed by my family since I was a little girl and we would go to Chinatown (NY) to spend the day and eat out. One of my best friends is Chinese and she taught me to make wonton soup and eggrolls. I hope I get to know you better through your Chinatown cookbook. This would be the very first signed edition cookbook I’d own! Maybe Jaden’s will oneday be my second…

    Thank you for your entertaining and mouth-watering show!


  21. Jacqueline Falasca

    PS I am a Tampa Tribune reader who loves Jaden’s column and cooking!


  22. Gastro888

    Dear Mr. Yan,

    Thank you for being a culinary legend! You are always fun to watch and your knife skills are beyond amazing! Cheers and keep it coming!

  23. Ken Foltz


    Thank you very much for giving me an opportunity to comment on your article about Martin Yan.

    I grew up watching Martin Yan and other chefs on television. However, he more than anyone else captivated my interest which has led to my life-long hobby of cooking. This rubbed off on our son who is now a chef with Hyatt Hotels.

    I, too, have fond memories of meeting Martin Yan. I first met him sometime in the early 1990’s at a department store in the Westshore Mall where he gave a demonstration in their kitchen department. I had planned on buying his book after the demonstration, but they sold out before I could purchase one. He graciously gave me a business card and told me who to contact for his book. He even promised that he would sign it for me. Imagine my surprise when my book arrived and I discovered that he had autographed it personally to me! I was shocked as I never thought that he would remember me.

    I met him again at Apron’s in north Tampa about a year ago. I took that opportunity to thank him for remembering me that day many years ago.

    You’re right, Martin Yan is the “real deal!” He continues to feed my interest in cooking.

  24. Ken Foltz


    Thank you again for giving me an opportunity to comment on your article regarding Martin Yan (see previously posted comments on July 27 @ 2:58 pm).


  25. George Rezac

    On thing that keeps me from trying new recipes is the large number of exotic ingredients and the many cooking steps.

    I read through the Thai Basil Chicken recipe and realized that I had almost all the ingredients, and the rest were easy to obtain. Plus there are basically just two steps: combine, cook.

    I can do that! Thanks for keeping it easy.

    Lakeland FL

  26. Scott L. Peeler, Jr.

    I enjoy cooking and like to see other men give it a try also. It is nice to have had a few recipes published over the years. Mr. Yan, keep up the good work in showing us all some interesting recipes.

    Scott L. Peeler, Jr.

  27. Richard Fernandez

    Jaden, Loved you column and was intrigued by Martin’s recipe. I was going to make a paella out on my grill Sunday afternoon, but opted to make this recipe. It was fabulous. I also enjoy two of your recipes, the Korean style pulled pork and the thai chicken lettuce cups. Can’t wait for you cook book to hit the stores.


  28. Dana King

    Mr. Yan,

    I am a realatively new fan! I have seen your book in stores and flipped through, thinking how many things looked absolutely divine — but never had the chance to purchase it before. However, I am a HUGE fan of any dish that combines cashews and chicken, so I just had to make the Thai basil recipe last night for dinner. It was sooo good! Even a realative novice like me can cook it, and my husband and picky children were fans of the meal. I will definitely be cooking this again, and I will have to pick up a book so I can try out some more of your recipes. Thanks for giving me one more recipe to add to my personal repertoire!

    Dana King

  29. Jean Cuni

    I love watching Mr. Yan on PBS. He makes Chinese food accessible and easy…especially when I’m missing mom’s food!

  30. kimberly

    Mr. Yan,

    My mother’s family is originally from China but emigrated all over the world several generations ago. We have loved watching your fun shows over the years and have learned so much about Chinese culture. We especially love your Chinatown series. we alway enjoy your cookbooks, and we’re looking forward to reading Jaden’s as well.

    Thanks for years of great memories!!


  31. kimberly

    I have been a loyal Tampa Tribune subscriber for many years! LOVE your column, Jaden!


  32. Jeff

    Mr. Yan:

    You got some mad knife skills. I have one of your cookbooks that’s fallilng apart but I can’t part with it because I still refer to it when I’m at a loss what to cook.

    Keep cooking!

  33. Julie

    Mr. Yan,

    I grew up watching your show, and I’m convinced that you played a big role in fueling my passion for cooking. I still cannot carve a chicken in 19 seconds…but I’ll keep working on it. 🙂 I can’t wait to get my hands on your cookbook (whether won or purchased)!

    Best, Julie

  34. Clara P

    I am inspired by your recipes to cook healthier meals.I am looking forward to your book,but I’ll still clip your recipes for my notebook.

  35. Clara P

    I am also aTribune reader.Do you have any quick recipes using boneless chicken thighs that are hot and spicy?

  36. Julie

    I used to watch Martin cook on TV with my mom. He was entertaining, and his food looked so yummy on TV.

    Since moving from Florida to New England, I miss my mom. I also miss Publix.

  37. ML

    Oh my goodness, when my brother and I were little (we’re in college now), we always used to watch Yan Can Cook on PBS on Saturdays, and we LOVED it. I will never forget one time when he was making some kind of beef, and he said, “This beef is so buttery…It melt in yo mout’h!” in his adorable accent. My brother and I didn’t stop repeating it for MONTHS every time we ate something delicious (especially beef). Now that I have remembered this, I will have to remind my brother. I would love to have a book, so that my brother and I can actually cook one of the recipes and relive our childhood Saturdays!!

    P.S. Jaden, lucky you that you have his quote on the back of your cookbook!!!

  38. Deborah


    I am a Tribune subscriber and enjoy reading your columns. I would love to win a cookbook and would donate it to be used as an auction item towards my organization’s upcoming Signature Chefs Auction event. The Signature Chefs Auction is a food/wine event and fundraiser for the March of Dimes and features local chefs presenting a signature dish for guests.


  39. Marti J

    I would love to have Martin’s cookbook, and the relish the attitude with which he cooks! I can’t imagine anyone any happier to be in the kitchen with, so please enter me for the cookbook.

    I can’t write more… I gotta go look around your incredibly fun blog!

  40. Rhonda Myers

    I was lucky enough to see Martin Yan in Grass Valley this past summer, and I was even luckier to have been invited to assist him up on stage!!! He is such an awesome chef and a wonderful person! That was one of the best days of my life!!!

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