Cashew Chicken Delight

Cashew Craze

Growing up in the small town of Mangalore in the state of Karnataka, South India was indeed a culinary adventure. Mangalore was once the stronghold of the Portuguese and German missionaries and a wonderful blend of all kinds of cuisine and culture which we children took great advantage of. Every household boasted a few chickens and numerous fruit trees. Coconuts and cashew nuts were readily available and used generously in all recipes from breakfast dishes to sweets to meat or just as a simple snack. The variety of food and seasoned cooks in the form of my mother, grandmother, aunts et al kept our taste buds active throughout the day. My mother was always game for new recipes and this again is one of hers handed down in the family for years from her mother’s mother. I have adjusted it to suit modern times as back then everything had to be done from scratch. Nowadays we have the advantage of dressed chicken, readily available coconut milk or grated coconut and packaged spices or nuts. I have also substituted the ghee with oil, being calorie conscious.

The Recipe:

Cashew Chicken Delight

1 kg chicken, jointed.

Grind the following to a smooth paste: 1 tsp. chilli powder; 5 cloves garlic; 3/4 inch ginger; 1/4 cup cashew nuts; 1 large onions; 1 tsp. coriander powder; 1/2 tsp. cumin (jeera) powder; salt to taste.

Seasoning:1 stick cinnamon; 3 cloves; 2 cardamoms; 1 large onion, sliced; 3 large tomatoes, chopped; 1 handful coriander leaves, chopped; salt to taste; 2 tbsp. oil for cooking.

Garnish: Few broken cashew nuts, some coriander leaves.

Wash and drain chicken.

Heat the oil in a pan. When hot, add the spices and onions. Stir fry till onions turn golden brown. Add the ground ingredients and stir fry on a medium low fire till the oil oozes out.  Add the tomatoes and simmer for five minutes. Add salt to taste. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes or until gravy is thick. Add chicken and simmer for 10 minutes, covered. Transfer to serving dish. Garnish with the coriander leaves and broken cashew nuts. Serve hot with plain rice or naan. (Indian bread).

NB:  In its original form, a small lime sized ball of good quality tamarind was used instead of tomatoes which became available only after Indian Independence in 1947. People made do with what was locally available.

 

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