Sri Lankan Cashew Curry - You'll Go NUTS!

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A curry made of cashews - that sounds NUTS! But its totally the most delicious thing ever and will kind of blow your mind if you haven't experienced it before. The cashews are raw and soaked so they get all shades of creamy awesomeness, and eating them as the primary ingredient not a snack to go with your beer is nothing short of a revelation (believe me, once you've had this you will be ready to try a peanut curry and the world is your snack with gravy!) 

Sri Lankan curry is superb, it has the aromatics of cinnamon which is a local crop in Sri Lanka (as are cashews), along with notes of clove and fennel. The coconut element along with the nuts is fatty and creamy and this makes for a rich and substantial main. I like to serve it with a diced tomato, red onion, green chili, coriander and lime sambal for a fresh, sour sherberty element to cut the delicious fats, and steamed jasmine rice cooked with a knotted fresh pandan leaf. You can buy these from your Asian grocer fresh or fresh frozen,  pandan adds an amazingly aromatic flavor to the rice. Peas aren't always used in a traditional cashew curry, but they go perfectly, and you can also use green beans or asparagus depending on what is in season or your totes fav. 


300 g Cashew Nuts,

2 tbsp coconut oil,

1 stick Cinnamon stick,

150 g Onion,

2 cloves garlic,

1.2 tsp Turmeric power,

2 tsp Sri Lankan Curry power, 

400 ml coconut milk,

2 stalks Lemon Grass, 

 10-12 Curry Leaves,

1 cup frozen green peas

1 tsp Palm sugar,

1 tbsp Lime Juice and handful of fresh garlic.

Let's DO This!

  1. Place the cashews in a bowl and cover with room temperature water. Add a tsp of salt and mix to dissolve. Cover and leave the cashews to soak overnight (up to 24 hours).

  2. When ready to cook the cashews - drain them and leave aside.

  3. Heat the coconut oil and add the chopped onions and garlic and saute until translucent.

  4. Add the bay leaves/curry leaves and saute for a few minutes until it becomes fragrant.

  5. Add the cashews, curry powder, cayenne pepper, sugar and a generous pinch of salt and the coconut milk. Mix to combine.

  6. Cover and let it simmer for 45 minutes. Check from time to time to make sure there's enough liquid in the saucepan - add water if needed. Add salt to taste.

  7. Add some water if the gravy is too thick (I added about ½ cup of water). Add the frozen peas and cook until the peas are heated and cooked through and the gravy is simmering - about 10 more minutes.

  8. Serve immediately with rice. This can be made a couple of days ahead and it actually tastes better on the second day.

Polly McGee