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Cashew Coconut Chicken Curry

Cashew Coconut Chicken Curry

Adapted from Rawia Bishara.

Course Entree
Cuisine Curry, Middle Eastern
Keyword cashews, cauliflower, chicken, coconut milk, curry


Spice mix:

  • 6 T mild curry powder
  • 1 T cumin
  • 1 T coriander
  • 1 T turmeric
  • Several pinches saffron (optional)
  • 1 T black peppercorns, freshly ground
  • 1 t green or yellow cardamom pods, freshly ground
  • 1 t coarse salt
  • 2+ lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 6-7 T extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 4 T minced garlic cloves
  • 2 T minced ginger
  • 1/2 t red chile pepper paste
  • 1/2 t aleppo pepper
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, chopped into chunks
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 head cauliflower, broken into small florets
  • 1 15-oz can full fat coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup cashew butter
  • juice of 3 limes, plus more later
  • 1-2 T honey, to taste
  • 1 cup chopped cilantro plus more for garnish

For garnish:

  • chopped roasted cashews
  • chopped cilantro
  • lime wedges
  • Serve with basmati rice


  1. Whisk together the spice mixture ingredients. Divide it in half and rub half of it into the chicken thighs. Let them rest for 20 minutes.

  2. Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large, heavy pot like a Dutch oven over medium heat. Brown the chicken thighs in batches to prevent steaming. When they are browned remove them to a wide bowl and add 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil into the pot.

  3. Add the chopped onions with a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring and scraping at the bottom of the pan to remove any stuck bits, for 10 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger and red chile pepper paste. Add another pinch of salt and cook for 5 more minutes.

  4. Add 1/2 teaspoon of Aleppo pepper and the remaining half of the spice mixture and stir to roast the spices. Let cook for another minute.

  5. Add the butternut squash chunks and stir to coat in the aromatics and spices. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.

  6. Add the chicken back in along with any accumulated juices. Then add the 6 cups of water and cook for 10 minutes, covered.

  7. Add the cauliflower florets and stir in. Reduce heat to simmer, covered, for 20 minutes.

  8. While the curry is simmering, whisk together: the coconut milk, cashew butter and lime juice.

  9. At the end of the 20 minutes simmering time, whisk the coconut milk mixture into the curry and bring back to a simmer for 5-10 minutes. 

  10. Mix in 1 cup of chopped cilantro and 1 tablespoon of honey. Taste for more honey, more salt or more lime juice.

  11. Serve over Basmati rice and garnished with chopped cilantro, chopped roasted cashews and freshly squeezed lime juice.

Recipe Notes

This dish originally had tahini, crushed pineapple and flat leaf parsley (among other smaller changes). It is entirely possible my changes made it more Indian and less Middle Eastern!