Friday, February 22, 2019

Creamy Cashew Chicken Curry – Moooove Over Real Cream

This creamy cashew chicken recipe is completely dairy-free (expect for the butter), but that’s not why you should make it. You should make this simple curry because it’s so rich and satisfying that you won’t even care that it’s better for you, and possibly the cows.

It really is pretty remarkable how similar the cashew cream is to regular heavy cream in appearance, taste, and in-sauce behavior. In fact, cashew cream actually thickens up faster than cream, which usually has to be reduced a bit before it will coat the meat.

As far as the rest of the ingredients go, there’s nothing too exotic, except maybe for the garam masala, which in case you’re wondering, translates to “hot spice.” There are many variations, but if you can’t find one, the most common ingredients are cumin, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, nutmeg, mace, dried chilies, sesame seeds, mustard seeds, bay leaves, and turmeric; just in case you want to whip up a batch of your own.

Speaking of spices, how much you should use in this is a very personal thing. Below you’ll see what I went with, which I thought was on the fairly mild side, so feel free to add more. Also, the salt in our dry marinade does a pretty good job of seasoning the chicken, but you’ll probably need more as it cooks in the sauce, so be sure to check. Of course, the hardest thing about this recipe is deciding whether to serve it with rice, garlic naan, or both, but I'm sure you'll figure that out when you give this a try, which will hopefully be very soon. Enjoy! 

Ingredients for 4 large portions Creamy Cashew Chicken:
For the Spice Mix:
(use a little more than half to marinade the chicken, and the rest to add to the sauce)
2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
1 1/2  teaspoons cumin
1 teaspoon coriander
2 teaspoons paprika (hot and/or smoked would also work well)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
2 generous teaspoons garam masala, or other prepared “curry powder” blends

For the Cashew Cream:
3/4 cup whole roasted cashews
2 cups cold water

For the rest:
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs (mixed with 1 tablespoon vegetable oil and spice blend, and marinated for 4 to 12 hours)
2 tablespoons butter, divided
1 yellow onion, chopped or sliced
rest of the reserved spice blend
2 tablespoons tomato paste
4 finely minced garlic cloves
1 tablespoon finely minced ginger
1 cup chicken broth
all the prepared cashew cream
1/3 cup sliced green onions
1/3 cup freshly chopped cilantro
freshly squeezed juice of one lime, plus extra wedges for service


David52 said...

Every recipe you do is amazing.
I have one small request though, could you add a print button to your recipe page.
It would just make it so much easier to print out.
Keep doing what you do, its great

lt_sh said...

Hi Chef John, do you think I can I do this recipe with white fish instead of chicken?

Bill said...

• In a previous curry recipe, rather than tomato paste plus lime juice, you added ketchup -- which got you tomato plus acid plus sugar in one package.
• What about using coconut milk instead of cashew milk?

Troy Howard said...

John question... Soooo, you state that we should use garam masala if we have it, but most of the same ingredients in garam masala you already use in your dish. Why would you recommend that over curry itself then?

Unknown said...

Hey Chef,

As you successfully "not substituted" heavy cream for cashew cream, i sense potential for this dish to be completely vegan, as the sister of a close friend of mine is.

As i would switch out chicken broth/stock not with water for tough time reasons, but with vegetable stock, one big variable remains:

Now i am wondering, wether it would be a good idea, to simply switch out the chicken with, lets say.. mushrooms, for meaty flavour, as i am neither a fan of tofu, personally because of taste, aditionally as while it is made of soy, it also goes against the sisters beliefs, aswell as Tampeh, for the same reasons.

I hope my variations do not offend,
your delicious cashew cream blend! ;-)

Greetings and much love from my Mom-Jeans to yours!

Unknown said...

As soon as I saw this video (3 times) this morning I went to the grocery store and got all of the ingredients. The chicken is already in the fridge covered in a bowl. I can't wait to make this. It looks delicious! Thanks Chef John!

Nat said...

I saw this recipe yesterday night before bedtime and knew I had to make it. Today I did and my god was it AMAZING! When using hot smoked paprika it was definetly on the spicy side however ;-).

I only noticed after I was finished that i forgot the cillantro and green onions. That's why I dont cook for a living I guess :)

Haroldm said...

Are the cashew's salted ?

Buck Turgidson said...

I had 90% of the ingredients for this in my kitchen already. The last 10% cost me $20 at whole foods (not counting the beer to drink while making it). Thanks Chef John!

Lisa from Indiana said...

Oh. My...This was truly delicious. My only substitute was olive oil for the butter, since I've got some lactose sensitive family members. Served it over noodles. The flavors are perfectly balanced. Thank you Chef John!!!!

Unknown said...

Just made this and it was so good. My husband is a chef, but its his birthday weekend and I told him I would cook. Made gim this and he loved it!

Mitch said...

This was great! I was short on cashews so about half the cashews were pistachios. Worked out fine.

AJB said...

This was tonight’s dinner along with the naan bread. The house smelled amazing and the meal was fantastic. This recipe is definitely a keeper.

Unknown said...

I made this last night. It is so delicious. And the cashew/water blended was just like using cream. I would never know it wasn't cream based but for this recipe. The texture, smell, and flavors are amazing. I just had leftovers for lunch. This dish is even better the next day. A keeper for sure!

Unknown said...

The thigh is my favourite part of the chicken for curries. To make curries even more decadently delicious, I like to charcoal grill (since I sadly have no tandoor) the meat and then add it into the sauce to finish.

I'm also obsessed with thoroughly napal- I mean caramelizing onion, which makes more tomato-y curries taste sweet and fruity, which beautifully complements some of the funkier spices you can throw in.

Unknown said...

Very tasty dish, almost as good as what my Indian son-in-law makes! thanks Chef John. I love your videos.

Stephanie L said...

I made this for the first time tonight. What an amazing blend of flavours. I will make it again for certain and next time I'll make it with your recipe for garlic naan as well. Thank you for sharing.

Unknown said...

Could you do next time a Papua New Guinean recipe? A humane stew is what it is called. It only takes some salted water, a handful of allspice, a bayleaf and an arm (preferably Welsh). Thanks!

April said...

I didnt have cashews do I used 1/2 and 1/2.
Short on time so no marinatin and it was an excellent meal!

Unknown said...

Love your videos.
How about showing us how to make Singaporean Laksa noodle soup?
Best regards,

Unknown said...

hi chef john. i am following your blog over years now. can you make a video about a dough named biga? thank you so much

clc said...

MunBlu, I was thinking the same. Trying to eat lower on the food chain but, not a fan of tofu. I'm gonna try this with eggplant, cubed or sliced thick & oven-roasted to almost-doneness before adding to the sauce. If anyone has other suggestions for veggie versions please post!

Also: the hard part for me is how to build from a great entree to a complete meal. Other than rice/naan/noodles/some starchy accompaniment, what have y'all served alongside this dish?

Unknown said...

Great curry recipe, chef!

I made a vegetarian version with cauliflower, chickpeas and couldn't help myself so i added some paneer to it as well :) But the flavour of the saus was great. I'm going to use cashew cream more often!

Keep up the amazing work :)

Di said...

I made this with smoked paprika which doesn't work in this recipe for me. The smoky flavor detracts. Will make it again with regular paprika.

fattah said...

chef john, if you were to add beans to the recipe, what kind of beans would go well with this recipe. i was thinking of adding either chickpeas, navy beans or cannellini beans. what would your bean of choice be ?

Larthan said...

So, I'm sure this would have been great if I didn't suck at cooking. I started out strong - prepared everything the night in advance (chicken seasoned, broth set aside, cashew cream blended up, onion diced), and everything was going great... Until I realized just how smoky my house had become (I caught it before the anime detector did, but alas)... And at that point I became frazzled, trying to desmoke the house, while trying to get the recipe continued. I threw in the onion, garlic, tomato paste and ginger, but in my hazy "oh God someone's going to call the fire department on me" mind I forgot to let it toast, because others in the house we complaining about the smoke. Instead, I ended up throwing in the liquids immediately, upon which I realized that my "large skillet" is clearly not big enough for this recipe, for it would overflow of I put in even half the chicken. So, now with a bubbling hot mess of raw onion and tomato paste, I had to dump this all into a cold, large pot and bring it back up to a boil before I could throw in my chicken (which, by the way, would be burnt to a crisp if I cooked it on high for five minutes on one side, as your video suggests!) to finish cooking.

Do yourselves a favor, folks - don't cook this if you don't have a very good ventilation system in your kitchen (the folks who built mine were lazy and vented over your head back into the room - big help that is, let me tell you /s) and for the love of all that is good, use a large pot from the start.

Di said...

Will make again with paprika instead of smoked paprika which was too dominant a flavor. A brilliant recipe as always.

Anonymous said...

i subbed all liquid for coconut-almond milk

came out amazing

Michele Cryan said...

who has made this and Chicken Tikka Masala? Which one is better?

Unknown said...

I was wondering if I could use some yogurt when marinating the chicken? Thanks chef for the recipe.

Mr. Webster said...

another amazing dish to add to the dinner rotation. Family is debating if this is better than Tikka Masala recipe. Everyone agrees that both are delicious.

Thank you so much for your blog and your recipes and your sense of humor. Just wanted you to know how much I enjoy and value what you do.

ChefLar said...

Hi Chef John I’m new to your website and
absolutely Love all of your recipes.
Your videos are a delight to watch (Even my
husband is quoting “and as always Enjoy!”)
I’ve made several of your recipes and they have
all been fantastic. I am telling everyone about you
as I feel the younger generation Is not
as into cooking as our generation was, but I
believe your Website and video recipes will
change that. I’ve always loved to Cook, and even
more so now that I’ve found your website.
Thank you Chef John you are my new
favourite recipe source.
Cheers and happy cooking
Lara :)

ChefLar said...

BTW I just made your cashew chicken curry
And Garlic Naan last night. OMG yum!!!
No more chicken korma takeout
thank you for yet two more
amazing culinary creations!!

Serena said...

I've made dozens of your recipes, and I have to say this one might be the best one I've done so far! Recently I started the keto diet which has made eating/cooking a little difficult, but I realized with this recipe I could make a few tiny changes and lower the carbs even more than it already is. I'll definitely be making this at least once a week! Thanks so much for the recipe.

Karthick Raj said...

I really liked your Creamy Cashew Chicken Curry Recipe, its very tasty and we as a family enjoyed it. Thank you for sharing this recipe with us. I recommend it for everyone to try once its a very amazing.

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Cook it Kook said...

Made it it rocked had a cheap blender so some whole cashews made it into the dish was awsome!

Unknown said...

I just tried this and it is insanely delicious. Your caramel chicken is also out of this world. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Anonymous said...

Regarding printing the recipe, if you go to the link you can print from there.
Hope that helps.

The Beaded Bird said...

I don't know about other browsers... but in Google Chrome... you'll see a circle in the upper right corner of the page that has 3 dots in it. If you click on that, a menu will scroll open giving you the option to 'PRINT' any page you're on.

The Beaded Bird said...

I don't know about other browsers... but in Google Chrome you'll see a circle in the upper right corner of the page, that has 3 dots in it. If you click on that, a menu will scroll open & you'll see an option to 'PRINT' any page you're on.

Robinson said...

The chicken dish looks amazing. I guess this creamy chicken cuisine & Jaipuri Chicken would serve as a great Main Course cuisine for extravagant weekend lunch & dinner with family. I will surely try preparing Cashew Chicken Curry this home.

Nicco said...

Tried it and it was AMAZING!!!(OPRAH voice). Definitely restaurant worthy. Thank you chef.

Enrico, With my two best friends said...

Chef John, What is the make of the cutting board in this video?


Unknown said...

Chef John,

I have made this multiple time. My crew at the firehouse and my crew at home love this recipe. Outstanding. That k you