Cashew Chicken Delight

Cashew Chicken Delight


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Special Mother's Day Entry 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. While Mothers Day was unheard of back then, I try to cook one of my mother's signature dishes nowadays as a celebration to her. To all Mothers, Happy Mothers Day.

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  • 2 lb. (1 kg) chicken, jointed
  • 1 tsp. turmeric powder
  • Oil for deep frying
  • 1 tsp. chili powder, to taste
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 3/4 inch ginger
  • 3/4 C. cashew nuts
  • 2 large onions
  • 1 tsp. coriander
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • Seasoning:
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 3 cloves
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 2 spring onions, cut fine
  • 4 large tomatoes,chopped
  • 1 tsp. garam masala (available at Indian grocery stores)
  • 1 handful coriander leaves, chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • 3-4 Tbs. oil for cooking
  • Garnish with broken cashew nuts and coriander leaves

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Grind the following to a smooth paste: chili powder, garlic cloves, ginger, cashew nuts, onions, coriander and cumin.

Wash and drain chicken. Dry completely. Rub with turmeric and salt to taste and deep fry till golden brown. Cover and keep aside. Heat the oil in a pan. When hot, add the spices and onions and spring onions. Stir fry till onions turn golden brown. Add the blended ingredients and stir fry on a medium low fire till the oil oozes out. Pour in 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 2 minutes, covered. Transfer to serving dish.

Sprinkle the garam masala on top. Garnish with the coriander leaves and broken cashew nuts. Serve hot with plain rice or naan Indian bread.

Note: 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. We had to make do with what was locally available.

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