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Chicken with cashew nuts

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Chicken with cashew nuts

Cashew nuts are a large cash crop in Kerala, sold by the sackful in the markets. The only onions I saw there were red, which accounts for a sweeter and milder onion flavour in the curries you find here. In India, water is used as the base for the sauce in a curry, but I have used stock to enhance the chicken flavour.


  • 1 cup freshly grated or thread coconut
  • 3 tablespoons coriander seeds (or about 2 tablespoons ground)
  • 6 cloves (or about ¾ teaspoon ground)
  • 8 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
  • 2cm piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 cinnamon stick (about 1 teaspoon ground)
  • 4 dried or fresh red chillies (plus 1 extra for garnish)
  • 2 teaspoon cumin seeds (about 1 teaspoon ground)
  • ¼ cup oil or butter
  • 2 red onions
  • 1 whole chicken, cut into pieces and skin removed
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups unsalted toasted cashew nuts


  1. In a dry frying pan, place the coconut, coriander seeds, cloves, garlic, ginger, cinnamon stick, chillies and cumin seeds and cook over a moderate heat until the coconut is toasted and the spices fragrant.
  2. Process in a food processor until finely chopped. Add 1 cup water and process to as fine a paste as possible. (If the paste is not fine enough, your curry will look as if it has 'separated'.)
  3. Heat the oil or butter in a large-lidded frying pan and add the onion, browning over a moderate heat for 5 minutes. Add the skinned chicken pieces and brown evenly on all sides.
  4. Add the coconut mixture and the stock and allow to simmer over a moderate heat for about 30 minutes.
  5. Grind three-quarters of the cashew nuts in a food processor until as finely chopped as possible and stir into the chicken. Simmer for about a further 15 minutes.
  6. Add the remaining cashew nuts and season with salt. Simmer until the chicken is well cooked. Garnish with a fresh red chilli and serve with boiled rice.

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