Cashew nut curry

Cashew nut curry

My Feast
Chris Chen

We arrived in Sri Lanka to begin filming My Sri Lanka a day before one of the biggest festivals in the Colombo area, the Kelaniya Perahera, a procession with no less than thirty elephants dressed in all their finery. It’s a very exciting spectacle and I shared with the crew my memories as a kid in the throng of 100,000 people watching the parade. The build-up was amazing, with people walking around a giant bodhi tree planted from a seedling from the original tree under which Lord Buddha is said to have found enlightenment.

Our driver found a parking spot for us in the temple grounds and we went to work to prepare a meal for filming. I cooked this luscious and regal curry as a thank you to the high priest of the temple.


Quantity Ingredient
250g raw unsalted cashew nuts
40g ghee, (see glossary)
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 sprig curry leaves, leaves picked
2 small green chillies, chopped
10cm pandan leaf, (see glossary)
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and ground
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
300ml coconut milk
150ml coconut cream, plus extra to serve
salt, to taste
pinch roasted curry powder


  1. Soak the cashew nuts in a small bowl of water for 1 hour. Once softened, drain and set aside to dry off a bit.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the ghee in a medium saucepan over high heat. Once hot, add the onion, curry leaves, green chilli and pandan leaf and cook until the onion is fragrant and is starting to change colour.
  3. Add the cumin, turmeric, chilli powder and cinnamon stick and stir over medium heat until the spices are lightly toasted. Add the nuts and stir to combine. Add the coconut milk, bring to the boil and cook until the sauce has thickened and reduced by half.
  4. Stir in the coconut cream, bring to the boil, then remove from the heat and season with salt.
  5. Serve topped with a little extra coconut cream and the roasted curry powder.
My Sri Lanka
Island Feast
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