Friday, 16 September 2016

Indian Spiced Cashew Chicken

A craving for Indian food, two soft tomatoes, some yoghurt and cashews inspired this recipe. I wanted to make something other than the usual few recipes I rely on, and drew from all of them to come up with this recipe.

It was a success...creamy, full of spicy flavour with a hint of heat. Definitely something that I will make again! I also managed to stay away from some of the less healthy ingredients such as whipping cream, butter and coconut milk.

Start off by making the marinade for the chicken. In a blender, combine:

1 cup of cashews
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground coriander
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
1/2 cup water

Blend until you have a smooth paste.

Combine the nut paste with:

3/4 cup plain Greek yoghurt

Combine the marinade with:

6 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

Cover and refrigerate for 3 - 4 hours.

To make the sauce, cook in olive oil until softened:

1/2 medium onion, diced

Add the spices and cook, stirring, for two minutes:

1/2 cinnamon stick
2 green cardamom seeds
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon paprika

When you can smell the aroma of the spices, add the tomatoes and cook for a couple of minutes:

2 medium sized tomatoes, diced

Stir in:

1 cup of water

Bring to a boil.

When the sauce is boiling, stir in the chicken and marinade.

Turn the heat down to a simmer, cover and leave it to cook for about 45 minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked, and is fork tender.

Taste and season with salt and pepper.

I served the chicken over basmati rice, and sprinkled some toasted cashew pieces over the top.

  • This recipe was quick and easy to put together. Once you have moved past the measuring involved with the nut paste, everything comes together nicely.
  • I had 1 cup of cashews, but wanted to save some to garnish with, so I used almonds to make up the difference. You can use all almonds if you like; peanuts can also be used.
  • Mincing the fresh ginger and roughly chopping the garlic make it easier for the blender to do its job.
  • If you feel that the blender is straining, add a bit more water to loosen the nut paste up.
  • I did not peel and seed the tomatoes, but you can if you wish to. If you want to use canned tomatoes, do not include the juice and use about 1 cup of diced tomatoes.
  • Chicken stock can be used instead of just water; milk, whipping cream or coconut milk can also be used to give an even richer, creamier sauce.
  • By 'fork tender' I mean that you can cut a piece of chicken with a fork.
  • Bone in chicken thighs can also be used, but they will take longer to fully cook. Cubed lamb leg or shoulder can be used for this recipe. Cubed chicken breast is another option....thread these onto skewers, grill and serve the sauce over the top.
  • The chicken can be marinated overnight if you wish.
  • Adding chopped fresh cilantro as a garnish would brighten the dish up and add some freshness and colour.

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