Cashew Chicken Curry

This is my favorite chicken curry recipe. It has a delicious mix of flavors from the curry powder, ginger and garlic, which is great in and of itself, but add in a sauce that is thickened with ground cashews and you've got a real winner. The first time I made it I tasted it and fell in love, and I've been cooking it and tweaking it ever since. The original recipe calls for a 3-4 lb chicken, cut into pieces, but I've adapted it to use boneless chicken breast pieces because they cook faster and my husband and I aren't fans of playing the identify-what-is-good-meat-and-what-isn't game once everything is dyed yellow and covered with sauce. I will be the first one to admit that the bone-in chicken was much better so if you have extra time on your hands, use the original 3-4 lb chicken suggestion instead of the chicken breasts and just increase the simmering time to 40 minutes.
I do suggest to be careful of what type of curry powder you use. I usually use the McCormick brand because it's easily available and not too spicy. A month or so ago I tried this recipe with a brand X curry that I had bought for a dollar. That was not so wise. It turned out to be too spicy to eat. If you aren't familiar with your curry, I would suggest going light on the curry and adding more if needed.

Chicken Cashew Curry

2 T unsalted butter
2 medium onions, finely chopped (2 cups)
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
2 tablespoons curry powder 
1 tablespoon Garam Marsala
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin 
1/2 teaspoon cayenne (omit if you don't like spicy food)
3-4 chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch chunks
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes 
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro 
3/4 cup cashews (1/4 pound) 
3/4 cup plain whole-milk yogurt (coconut milk also works)

Heat butter in a 5- to 6-quart wide heavy pot over moderately low heat until foam subsides, then cook onions, garlic, and ginger, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add curry powder, salt, cumin, and cayenne and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add chicken and cook, stirring to coat, 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, including juice, and cilantro and bring to a simmer, then cover and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes. (If making ahead, see cooks' note, below.)
Just before serving, pulse cashews in a food processor or electric coffee/spice grinder until very finely ground, then add to curry along with yogurt and simmer gently, uncovered, stirring, until sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes.
Cooks' note: Curry, without yogurt and cashews, can be made 5 days ahead and cooled completely, uncovered, then chilled, covered. Reheat over low heat before stirring in yogurt and ground cashews.

 Recipe source: Gourmet Magazine, Jan 2005

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