Cashew nut curry recipe from Milk, Spice and Curry Leaves cookbook

An easy-to-prep and filling dish that will bring the colours of autumn right to your kitchen

Image for Cashew nut curry recipe form Milk, Spice and Curry Leaves cookbook
Recipe by Ruwanmali Samarakoon-Amunugama, from Milk, Spice and Curry Leaves, copyright © 2020 by Ruwanmali Samarakoon-Amunugama. Reprinted with permission of TouchWood Editions.

This cashew nut curry recipe from Ontario-born Sri Lankan, Rwanmali Samarakoon-Amunugama is an easy-to-prep and filling dish that will bring the shades of fall right to your kitchen. In her new cookbook, Milk, Spice and Curry Leaves, Ruwan features 60+ recipes from Sri Lankan cuisine that combine traditional cooking techniques with South-Asian ingredients.

Image for Cashew nut curry recipe form Milk, Spice and Curry Leaves cookbook

"I can recall the first time I had cashew nut curry—the cashews had been plucked fresh from the trees and husked for cooking. They almost melted in my mouth, something Sri Lankans would call Kiri caju (literally, milk cashews). The natural creaminess of the cashews blended with coconut milk and spices is delicious. Serve with black pork curry and tempered snake beans," says Samarakoon-Amunugama.

Samarakoon-Amunugama is also hosting a live Facebook launch event on October 21, where she and Epicurious cookbook columnist Lauren Joseph will discuss how their Sri Lankan roots have inspired their joy for cooking and sharing food, how their love for their parents' homeland has influenced their daily lives, and how the general lack of awareness of Sri Lankan food in North America inspired Samarakoon-Amunugama to write her debut cookbook.

Cashew nut curry

1/2 lb unsalted raw cashew nuts, (soaked overnight in water)
1/4 small small red onion, chopped finely
7 curry curry leaves, ripped into small pieces
1 inch-long piece of pandanus leaf, fresh or frozen
1 tsp fine sea salt, or to taste
2 cardamom pods
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp unroasted curry powder
1/4 tsp ground turmeric
1/4 tsp cayenne powder
3/4 cup coconut milk

In the first 30–35 minutes of cooking, you may have to add some extra (hot) water. If so, add ¼ cup at a time.

Gently stir the cashews with a wooden spoon while cooking; otherwise the nuts will chip or break. Alternatively, use a pot with two handles so that you can periodically shake the pot to mix the ingredients.

Using a small, sharp paring knife, split open any whole cashew nuts. The cashews should be white in colour. Discard any that are greyish. Place the cashews in a medium-size pot.

Add the onion, curry leaves, pandanus leaf, salt, cardamom pods, paprika, curry powder, turmeric, and cayenne. Add just enough water to cover the cashew nuts. Cover and bring to a boil over medium heat. Let cook until the cashews are soft and cooked through, approximately 30 minutes. If the water is absorbed sooner than this, add a splash of hot water as needed.

Add the coconut milk and more salt if desired. Swirl to combine, and cook slowly over low heat for another 30–35 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Note: Raw cashews take some time to cook through. To quicken the process, I recommend soaking them in a bowl of water for a minimum of 2 hours, but preferably overnight. Drain and rinse before using.



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Serves 4-6
Prep Time:
10 minutes
Cook Time:
40 minutes