Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Cashew Masala

Cashew Masala

As the folk in Eastern Canada say, I’d ‘heard tell’ of cashew curry, but it wasn’t until I was reading Kanan’s recipe at Spice Up the Curry that I seriously looked at this delicious vegetarian dish. 

Please see her blog as her pictures are more detailed than mine, and quite a bit sharper.  I'm afraid mine are particularly blurry tonight. 

And as usual, I can never leave well enough alone, and I just had to fiddle with Kanan’s recipe. (Please forgive.)
As one of our dinner guests is dieting, I thought I’d skip the heavy cream and use coconut milk instead, thus keeping some of the sweet richness, but avoiding the heaving calories and cholesterol. 

Some day I will use the cream, as I find that pretty enticing, but for tonight I went with a near vegan meal, although I did use miniscule amounts of ghee…  Oh well, nobody’s perfect.  

1 stick cinnamon or cassia
4 cloves
½ teaspoon black peppercorns
½ teaspoon cumin seed
½ teaspoon coriander seed
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon salt

Gently roast the whole spices until they are fragrant and give off a wisp or two of smoke.  Put into a spice grinder, along with the turmeric and salt.  Grind to a fine powder, and set aside.

1 teaspoon ghee
1 cup raw cashews
1 tablespoon grape seed oil
½ large red onion, chopped
1 inch ginger, chopped
3 ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 Thai chilli (or to taste)
1 sweet red pepper chopped
¼ cup coconut milk
1 cup water

2 bay leaves (I grow my own, and they're not as strong as Indian bay leaves)
1 teaspoon dried fenugreek (kasoori methi)
20 stalks cilantro, chopped finely

Heat the ghee in a non-stick pan at medium heat, and fry the cashews until they are a little golden.  Remove the cashews from the pan, and set aside.  Add the grape seed oil to the same pan, then fry the onion, ginger, chilli, tomatoes and sweet red pepper until the onions are translucent.  Pour in the coconut milk and the masala.  Simmer till the tomatoes and peppers are soft.  Stir occasionally.  Add the water, and immediately pour these ingredients into a blender and buzz till smooth.  (If you have an immersion blender, that will work too.)  Pour back into the pan and add the bay leaves and dried fenugreek.  Simmer till the sauce is reduced to the consistency you prefer.  Be sure to stir it occasionally so it doesn’t burn.  Mine took about an hour, because I like it thick.
In the last few minutes before serving, add the cashews and fresh cilantro.  Heat through, and serve with rice.  In our case, our guests brought layered chapattis, something I haven’t dared yet.  We had a Tuesday night feast, allo gobi, a channadish, this delicious cashew dish and Cardamom Bliss Peach Crumble for dessert.  With some left over, I’m looking forward to an amazing breakfast.  Thanks to Kanan for inspiring me so beautifully, and thanks again to our guests for the delicious chapattis!