As much as I love coconut milk based curries, sometimes you just want something different.
For those days it’s hard to go past this cashew masala – a mild and creamy cashew-based pot of goodness.
I’ve called it ‘everyone happy’ because it’s a really easy recipe to adapt to different dietary requirements. Use all chicken for the omnivores, all chickpeas for the vegetarians. Or serve with steamed or fried rice for the carb lovers.
Garam Masala is an Indian spice blend that’s normally used at the end of cooking. I’ve recently rediscovered it as a chilli-free alternative for curry powder. I then serve Tabasco at the table for my Irishman to get his heat fix, while the rest of us are happy with the mild version.
See I told you – it really is an ‘everyone happy’ type of dish. One day I will write a book of all Everyone Happy recipes for those of use who are catering for different dietary requirements.
NOTE: It serves 4 if you’re using both chicken and chickpeas. If you choose one of these options, increase the quantity accordingly.
Everyone Happy Cashew Masala
- 100 g roast cashews + handful to serve
- 1/2 cup tomato passata / puree
- 1 cup water
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1/2 teaspoon fine salt
- 450 g chicken thigh or breast fillets
- 2 cans chickpeas
- 1 squeeze lemon
- 1-2 large bags baby spinach
Place cashews, passata, water, garam masala and salt in a medium saucepan with the lid on. Bring to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes to allow the cashews to soften.
Meanwhile drain your chickpeas and slice the chicken into bite sized strips. When the sauce has been simmering for 5 minutes, remove from the heat and very carefully puree in the pot with a stick blender. You can use a blender or food processor but it's pretty messy and you need to let the liquid cool a bit before pureeing.
When the sauce is creamy but not completely free of chunks, return to the pot to a medium high heat. Add the chicken and chickpeas. Cover and bring back to a simmer. Simmer for 5-10 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. If it starts to dry out and thicken too much add an extra 1/2 cup of water.
Remove from the heat. Taste and add a squeeze of lemon if needed. And more salt if it's a bit bland.
Serve with baby spinach in the bottom of shallow bowls. Finish with the extra cashews on top.
Net Carbs: 20g / serve
Variations & Substitutions Cashew Masala
short on time – brown the chicken in a separate pan while the sauce simmers. Then combine the two.
Keto / ultra low carb – use extra chicken or cooked low carb veg like cabbage, cauliflower or broccoli instead of the cashews. Use pine nuts almonds or almond meal instead of the cashews
vegetarian – all chickpeas!
nightshade-free – use coconut milk instead of the tomato. Or chicken stock. Or just more water and a pinch of brown sugar.
more substantial (carb lovers) – serve with steamed or fried rice for the carb lovers.
more substantial (low carb) – more chicken, more nuts,
more vegetables – feel free to add any veg to the pureed sauce to simmer. Excellent with zucchini or cauliflower. And try cauliflower ‘rice’ instead of the baby spinach to serve. Defrosted and drained frozen spinach or kale will work too.
different protein – any ground (minced) meat – beef, lamb, chicken will be good. Or sausages, salmon or eggs (amazing poached in he sauce).
more fancy / for entertaining – steamed rice or cauliflower rice or this spiced roast cauliflower salad with labneh.
Waste Avoidance Strategy
cashews / tomato passata / garam masala / salt / chickpeas – keep them in the pantry.
chicken thigh or breast fillets – freeze them.
lemon – whole lemon will keep wrapped in a plastic bag in the fridge for months.
baby spinach – either freeze or wilt down in a pan with a little oil and then keep in the fridge for weeks.
Problem Solving Guide
bland – more salt! More spice. Or douse it with tabasco.
too dry – overcooked chicken. Next time get it out earlier. For now a dollop of yoghurt will help.
sticking to the pan – the cashew sauce does like to stick after it is pureed so make sure you stir frequently in the final stages of cooking.
Prepare Ahead Cashew Masala
You can but I’m not the biggest fan of reheated chicken so I wouldn’t. Just cook as per the recipe but keep the baby spinach and extra cashews separately. Leftovers will keep in the fridge for 1 week or can be frozen.
More Recipes Like Cashew Masala
- Quick Tuna Curry Bowls
- ‘Buy Nothing New’ Curry
- Easy Mushroom Loaf
- Everyone Happy Nachos (Low Carb Nachos)
- Quick Taco Bowls with Lime & Cashew Sauce
- Flexitarian Fajitas
Have fun in the kitchen!