Instant Pot Cashew Chicken for the Year of the Rat

Instant Pot Cashew Chicken for the Year of the Rat

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It can be fun to celebrate ethnic holidays and even better when you can save a little money by celebrating at home. While we love Chinese food here, and occasionally indulge in take out, it is much easier on the pocket book to whip it up at home. This Instant Pot Cashew Chicken is perfect for kicking off the Year of the Rat with your loved ones! This makes for a great educational, yet fun family moment, when you incorporate the kiddos!

instant pot cashew chicken

For the year 2020, the main zodiac element is metal, and the animal sign is Rat, and hence, 2020 will be the Year of the Metal Rat. The Chinese year will last from January 25, 2020 to February 11, 2021.

Instant Pot Cashew Chicken for the Year of the Rat

How Long is the Chinese New Year holiday?

The Chinese New Year of 2020 falls on January 25th (Saturday), and the festival will last to February 8th, about 15 days in total. 2020 is a Year of the Rat according to Chinese zodiac. As an official public holiday, Chinese people can get seven days’ absence from work, from January 24th to 30th. You can help the littles understand this by comparing it to our own winter holiday break from school that runs around Christmas and our New Year’s Eve/Day.

More about the Year of the Rat

The Rat is the first of all zodiac animals. According to one myth, the Jade Emperor said the order would be decided by the order in which they arrived to his party. The Rat tricked the Ox into giving him a ride. Then, just as they arrived at the finish line, Rat jumped down and landed ahead of Ox, becoming first.

In Chinese culture, rats were seen as a sign of wealth and surplus. Because of their reproduction rate, married couples also prayed to them for children. If you want to dig deeper into how this holiday is celebrated by the Chinese people, you can get some fun books for kids HERE on Amazon.

Let’s focus on a year of wealth and surplus for you!

Chicken is a very frugal dish, boneless skinless chicken breast is on sale all the time, and thighs are even less expensive. Chicken thighs would make a slightly tastier dish, but you could easily switch out for the boneless skinless breasts if you wish. This gem can be whipped up in less than 20 minutes and serves four. Make it fun and festive for the littles with some Chinese paper lanterns or even chopsticks!

Easy Instant Pot Cashew Chicken with Vegetables

You will need:
  • 1 tbsp. flour
  • 2 tbsp. cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1.25 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, diced into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 tbsp. sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 cup red bell peppers, diced small
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 cup roasted cashews, halved
  • 3 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp. Asian chili garlic sauce
  • 3/4 tsp. minced ginger
  • Green onions for garnish


In a large ziploc bag, add cornstarch, flour, salt, pepper, and the chicken.
Close the bag and shake to combine.
In your Instant Pot add the oils, and chicken. Set it to saute’. Saute’ for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring often.
The chicken should be almost cooked through.
Add the broccoli, bell peppers, garlic, and stir to combine.
To a medium bowl add the soy sauce, honey, rice wine vinegar, chili-garlic sauce, and ginger. Whisk to combine then set aside.
Add the sauce to your items in the Instant Pot and stir to combine.
Close the lid on your Instant Pot and set to seal.
Use manual setting and set the time to 8 minutes.
Once done, open the seal to release steam.
Add the cashews to the chicken and stir to combine.
Add the green onions, stir to combine, and serve immediately.
This dish is great when served with rice or Ramen noodles.

If you want to have even more fun with the kids, you could have a Mulan Movie Night during the Chinese New Year window! Have the littles help you make our Our Mulan Movie Mushu Rice Krispy Treats!

Other fun recipes to try: 15 Recipes To Celebrate Chinese New Year

–> Don’t have an Instant Pot yet? Why? They take the place of 7 different appliances! Get one here: I want an Instant Pot Now and maybe some Instant Pot accessories to be able to do more with it!

Other chicken recipes you may want to try:

Print off our Easy Instant Pot Cashew Chicken recipe here: Instant Pot Cashew Chicken Recipe From Operation40K


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