Thursday, August 2, 2012

Creamy chicken and cashew curry

My cousin LOVES butter chicken. In fact, as part of my payment plan for her giving me her Kings of Leon tickets, butter chicken and lasagne are the accepted currency. I made her a huge lasagne for when she had some friends coming over, which I'm told she LOVED. She also passed it off as her own, so it was lucky that the friends coming over were her boyfriends, not hers - they would have seen straight through that lie!

This time though my sister organised for us to have a pot luck -  she would being entree, I would make the mains and my cousin would bring dessert. So I decided it had better be butter chicken, as she'd been asking for it for a while, and I still hadn't made it. I used a recipe from and while the recipe was easy, using accessable ingredients and really tasty - a butter chicken it was not. That's why I've not labelled this post as butter chicken, it just didn't taste like it, as good as it was!

This was a delicious, mild curry, I liked the inclusion of ground cashews to thicken the sauce, which is the traditional thickening agent used in butter chicken. It's creamy and rich, and it's easy to increase portions to feed a crowd. I didn't add any chilli to this one, as my family are chilli-phobes, but it would be great with a hit of heat to warm the richness of the sauce.

Next time I think I will change this recipe. The way it is now is great for a quick meal to serve a family or friends when you haven't got loads of time (unless you follow the recipe which tells you to marinate the chicken overnight!). I think this sauce would benefit from being cooked with chicken frames to give them flavour - but grilling the marinated chicken and adding it towards the end of cooking to give more depth of flavour.

Don't be put off by the long list of ingredients - if you already cook curries, you should have most of this in the cupboard anyway!

Creamy chicken and cashew curry
Serves 4 with leftovers

1/2 cup natural yoghurt
1 tbs lemon juice
2 tsp turmeric
3 tsp garam masala
1 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp grated fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1.5kg chicken thigh fillets, chopped
125g cashews, roasted
60g unsalted butter
1 tbs sunflower oil
1 onion, finely chopped/blitzed
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
2 tsp sweet paprika
425g can tomato puree*
3/4 cup chicken stock
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 cup thickened cream

Serve with Turban Chopsticks Royal Festival Biriyani and naan breads.


1) Combine yoghurt, lemon juice, turmeric, garam masala, chilli, cumin, ginger and garlic in a bowl. Add chicken and stir well. Cover and refrigerate overnight (This is optional, the curry is fine if you do it as far in advance as possible - I marinated it for about 30mins).

2) Place cashews in a food processor. Process until finely ground, and set aside. Since you have the FP out, blitz the onions too.

3) Heat the butter and oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the onion, cardamom, cinnamon and bay leaves and cook until the onion starts to soften. Reduce heat to low, then add chicken and marinade, paprika, tomato puree, tomato paste, half the cashew powder and stock. Simmer for 15 minutes. Stir in cream and cook for a further 10 minutes. Check the sauce, and if it is too runny add more of the cashew powder, and reduce it down a little further.

4) Garnish with whole cashews, chopped coriander (if you don't hate it like I do!) and serve with Turban Chopsticks biriyani.


  1. I love family members who accept food for currency - I have a couple of those :) haha

    1. Haha yeah it's great - I find it easier to pay in this currency!!

  2. Looks delicious! I don't normally cook curries from scratch but looking at the list I have more than half of them already.

    1. Thanks Adrian! It was really nice, a warming, rich, cuddle in a bowl kind of curry! It was really easy to make too, you should def have a go at making a curry from scratch!!

  3. This looks so heart warming...I do love a good curry. Better still so much Indian is naturally gluten free!

    1. It was def warming, the kind you can sit in the corner of the couch with a bowlful and be quite happy!

  4. Sounds and looks delicious (great photo).

    I'm looking forward to reading about your quest for the perfect butter chicken too!

    1. Thanks BVG! Lol I don't even REALLY like butter that much, I mean its ok but it's not my fave curry - however it is a crowd pleaser, a lot of people love it, so it would be good to find a great recipe for it! Ill keep you posted!!