Chicken in a cashew nut sauce

Chicken in a cashew nut sauce

Reza’s Indian Spice

If you want prosperity on a plate, do as the Moghuls did and cook with cashew nuts, as they were a very expensive ingredient designed to impress. This has a nice medium heat to it and the richness of the sauce is a complete delight; one for the chilli weaklings! When you are grinding the spice and cashew mixture, make sure the paste is very smooth, as the sauce may look curdled if it’s not finely ground. Serve it with colourful vegetables to add a few more tones and textures.


Quantity Ingredient
250g cashew nuts
100g vegetable oil
2 onions, chopped
1/2 onion, finely sliced
12 garlic cloves
2.5cm piece of root ginger, chopped
2 1/2 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
4 dried red chillies
6 cloves
8cm cinnamon stick
100g freshly grated coconut
2 green chillies, finely chopped
1kg boneless chicken thighs and legs, cut into 5cm pieces
3 tablespoons yogurt


  1. Before you start, put 100g of the cashew nuts into a bowl and add just enough warm water to soak them. Leave for two hours. Drain and place them in a blender or food processor, adding a little warm water. Blitz to a thick, smooth paste. Set aside.
  2. Place 25g more of the cashew nuts in a small frying pan and stir over a medium heat until toasted. Set aside.
  3. Heat a small amount of the oil in the same pan and cook the sliced onion until crisp. Drain on kitchen paper and set aside.
  4. In a large frying pan, dry-roast the garlic, ginger, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, dried chillies, cloves and cinnamon over a low heat for five minutes, stirring. Add the coconut, 75g more of the cashew nuts and the chopped onions and roast for 10 minutes more, stirring all the time. Remove from the heat and leave to cool. Grind the mixture either in a blender or food processor, adding 150–250ml water, to a very smooth consistency.
  5. Heat the remaining oil in a wide cooking pot, add the blended spice mixture and fry for 10 minutes over a low heat. Add the ground cashew paste with some salt and fry for two minutes, adding the green chillies.
  6. Increase the heat to medium-high, and add the chicken pieces. Fry for five minutes, then add the remaining untoasted cashews. Stir-fry for a minute or so, then add 600ml of water. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10–15 minutes, until the chicken is tender and cooked through.
  7. Serve with a dollop of yogurt, the reserved toasted cashew nuts and the crispy fried onions.
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