Cashew Curry Recipe

A simple, last-minute curry recipe - curry powder in coconut milk, deeply toasted cashew nuts, a handful of green beans, two handfuls of tiny cauliflower florets, and a bit of tofu for good measure.

Cashew Curry

There are a number of things I nearly always have in my kitchen. Top of the list: a can of coconut milk, onions, nuts, and spices. This puts me just a vegetable or two away from a flavorful pot of richly-colored curry. The one I'm featuring today is a favorite of mine and one I make often. I use a homemade Sri Lankan-inspired curry powder, deeply toasted cashew nuts, a handful of green beans, two handfuls of tiny cauliflower florets, and a bit of tofu for good measure. I might serve it over a bowl of grains, worked into an omelette or crepe, or like this - on its own.

Cashew Curry Recipe

I should mention that while I like this particular curry blend, other nights I might take the spices in a different direction entirely - for example, by using a Thai-inspired curry paste instead. I decide what to include in a curry by thinking about a few things. I like a hearty, substantial curry when the weather is cold. And a lighter, brothy one in warmer times. Root vegetables, potatoes, cabbage, chickpeas and the like when it is stormy. Fresh peas, asparagus and other farmers' market finds as spring comes around. I was just home from the airport when I made this one (no time to head to the market), and grabbed for some green beans from the freezer. Worked great. Play around with what you've got locally, seasonally. It's hard to go wrong.

Cashew Curry Recipe

I've included a recipe for one of the curry powders I like to make at home from scratch. It has evolved gradually from a recipe I jotted down years ago in a train station south of Colombo, Sri Lanka, featured in an English language publication. How authentic is it? I'm not too sure. But at this point I'm not splitting hairs. I love the warming spices accented with plenty of kick from the dried red chiles, and sometimes if I'm in the mood for more heat I'll add extra. The turmeric gives everything it touches a stunning golden hue while playing along with toasted cumin to deliver an earthy finish. That being said, feel free to experiment with or substitute your favorite curry powder here.

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Cashew Curry Recipe

There are few things as satisfying as cooking with your own freshly ground curry powder. I've included a favorite curry powder recipe below.* I use an electric spice grinder, and then sift the powder through a sieve to rid it of any remaining over-sized particles. Feel free to play around with other seasonal vegetables here. And as I mention up above, feel free to experiment with other curry powders as well. Because each curry powder is different, if you aren't sure about the amount of curry powder to use, start with a little on the front end, and add a bit at a time (after you add the water), until it tastes good to you.

1 cup whole coconut milk
1 - 2 tablespoons curry powder*
scant 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/2 large red onion, chopped
1 medium garlic clove, chopped
1/3 cup water
4 ounces firm tofu, cut into small cubes (optional)
1 cup green beans, cut into 1-inch segments
1 1/2 cups cauliflower, cut into tiny florets
1/3 cup cashews, toasted
a handful of cilantro, loosely chopped

Bring half of the coconut milk to a simmer in a large skillet or pot over medium-high heat. Whisk in the curry powder and salt, working out any clumps. Now stir in the chopped red onion and garlic and cook for a minute. Stir in the remaining coconut milk and the water, and then the tofu. Cook down the liquid for a couple minutes before adding the green beans and cauliflower. Cover and simmer for just about one minute, maybe two - or just until the cauliflower and beans lose their raw edge and cook through a bit. Remove the pot from heat and stir in the cashews. Taste and adjust the seasoning (salt / curry powder) if needed. Serve with a bit of cilantro topping each bowl.

Serves 2-3.

*I like to make my own curry powder on occasion using the freshest whole spices I can come by. This curry powder has evolved from one I read about in Sri Lanka a few years back - if you like more heat, add another red chile or two. In a dry skillet over medium heat toast 4 dried red chiles, 1 tablespoon coriander seeds, 1 tablespoon cumin seeds, 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, 1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds, and 1/2 teaspoon whole cloves. Toast for just a minute or two or until the spices are deeply fragrant. Now use a spice grinder to grind the chiles into a powder first, remove them, then grind the spices - it usually takes a couple minutes in the grinder for each. Place in a small bowl and stir in a scant tablespoon of ground turmeric, and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon. Sift through a medium-fine sieve to weed out any clumps and your curry powder is ready to use. Makes a scant 1/3 cup.

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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This looks amazing and can't wait to try it - I have a cauliflower in my fridge. One of my favourite veggies to put in a curry is the white asparagus - I usually brown it a bit in a separate pan to bring out the flavours. I love this website and the recipes! Thank you.


I just made this curry for my parents. It was good but I made some minor tweaks. I reduced the pepper so my mom wouldn't explode, and I ended up needing more sauce because I used more veggies, so I added water, which diluted the curry. I ended up putting a touch of peanut butter, demerera sugar, and vinegar in the sauce to compensate for what I thought was too thin and not creamy/rich enough. (I also high heat-sauteed some of veggies before putting them in the sauce to add color). Thanks for the recipe!


Good curry! I will use the curry powder for some different variations in the future.


I made this last night - it was absolutely delicious! I used a curry powder that a friend brought me as a gift from Morocco, so mine could've used some spicing up, but other than that it was a breeze to make and totally yum. Thanks for this great recipe - the first one I've tried after oogling over this blog for a couple months.


nice food....


I love curries. I love to experiment with different levels of heat and different types of chilis when making my curries. And on top of it I love cauliflower ^.^ I can't wait to try this!


This is an amazing recipe. Thank you! Miwa (fellow Kyoto fooder) and I have been looking for a recipe for homemade curry to adapt for Japanese kare- (curry) for a long time. We consulted Marc @ No Recipes and got some great insight. I love the idea of cashews and coconut milk. I will definitely run this one past Miwa. Thanks! P


This turned out great! what a beautiful color! thanks for the recipe!


Just a note to be sure and buy "coconut milk" and *not* "cream of coconut" by mistake! It came out ok, but a little too sweet for dinner!


Oh wow. I just about drowned in my own drool while reading this recipe. Time for a trip to the store for supplies. Thanks for the yummies Heidi.

Bill B, Logan, UT

I adore curries, and recently, I had an opportunity to cook with Jasmine, a wonderful Sri Lankan lady who taught me a lot, including her recipe for her curry powder. It is not entirely dissimilar to yours, but she also adds the ubiquitous curry leaves, and pandan leaf is optional. You can find her recipe here: I've also writen a bit about cooking with Jasmine here: Through the experience of cooking Sri Lankan with Jasmine and on my own, I've come to really like the cuisine a lot. Please point us out to any other Sri Lankan recipes you know of!


I am new to Indian foods, recently trying a few frozen organic, vegetarian meals that have been delicious. I especially enjoy Paneer and was wondering if it could be exchanged with the Tofu in this recipe, should I decide to make my own? Great recipes, I enjoy your blog. Thanks so much~


love love love the coconut cashew curry! Thank you so much for sharing the magic of your cooking. It is truly my favorite grad school procrastination to visit your site! thanks again! xoxox k8 in mpls


This recipe looks fantastic can't wait to try it! Never had tofu in a curry before.


I am looking forward to trying this recipe, in particular the curry. I traveled in Sri Lanka years ago and loved the food. Thank you for sharing - I find Sri Lankan recipes hard to come by in the states... Recently I had pizza with caramelized cauliflower florets on it. It was so of the best pies I've had...but I digress. I want to try to master the use of cauliflower, first in this curry. I have been enjoying your recipes in Germany, making some substitutions when I can't find all the ingredients here. Thank you for your beautiful website and ideas!


I love the yellow color! Is this anything similar to Thai yellow curry? P.S. I've always been a silent fan of your blog but never left a comment... :) Great photography!


I made this curry tonight. It was a big hit. I have been wanting to try coconut milk but couldn't think of what I wanted to do with it. Now I know. I used less curry powder because the one I have is very hot. My husband loved it and said he wouldn't mind having it tomorrow too. Thanks.


Heidi, Before Cooking 101 it was hard to stay on track. Stuff like your Cashew Curry totally bypasses all my cooking/eating "issues" and takes me straight to HAPPY...why would I do anything else? Thank you! One question re: curry powder...I was taught to kind of "toast" the ground powder in the pan first and then add ingredients...should I not do that if I make your powder? Thanks. HS Hi Katy, thanks for the nice note. Because I pre-toast the spices before grinding them (in this instance), I don't pan-toast them. But it really depends on the curry powder you are using.


2009 Resolution, learn to cook: And last night, I made this curry! And it was delicious. Now if I can just figure out what to do with that 3/4 head of cauliflower left in my fridge... not an ingredient I'm used to using. As a warning to other curry neophytes, I bought a TBSP of curry powder at my local co-op, thinking I would use the small called for measurement and the dish would be relatively mild on the spice-o-meter. Wrong, my eyes were on fire...!!! But it was still delicious! Thanks for the inspiration and a recipe easy enough for a newbie!


I love curry but found out last year that I have a garlic allergy. It's been really tough to find pre-made curry powder without any garlic in it so I am really looking forward to giving this a try. Also, just realized I am reading this post while eating my leftovers of your tasty frittata recipe - which my husband declared one of the best things he's ever eaten! Thanks for all of your amazing recipes - I second any and all of the posters with food allergies and sensitivities who rely on your cookbook to find healthy and delicious foods - they are lifesavers!


I can't wait to try this! I have a purple cauliflower in the fridge and some sugar snap peas. Just wondering whether I can add a sweet turnip or some kabucha squash as well... One thing, though: I'd cook the tofu in the coconut milk & spices a little longer, I think. It soaks up the flavor so beautifully! And for the commenter who suggested non-vegetarians use chicken, I still recommend tofu! My husband is a meat-eater, but orders tofu in every curry dish because of the way it gets infused with flavor.


I like this dish a lot. I'm a huge fan of cashews and different nuts turning up in my food. The restaurant Amitabul uses a ton of nuts in their stir frys, etc. which is why I love it!


What a great recipe! Even my anti-curry husband inhaled it. I used chickpeas, carrots, potatoes and peas b/c that's what I had here-- so different from your ingredients, but they worked perfectly on a snowy night. Thank you for providing such a delicious recipe framework.


I made the curry for dinner today, with frosen beans and frosen broccoli, and it was fantastic! Thank you from (frosen) Norway!


Love this recipe. The ground masala sounds fantastic - my suggestion would be to add a peppercorn or two. Also, I'm curious how cooking the garlic and onion in coconut milk instead of sauteeing them would taste. Thanks for another tasty recipe, Heidi.


Hey all! I've been a reader forever and I absolutely love it - thanks Heidi for such an excellent and quality website. For the spice issue, my mom has been doing this forever and I never realized what she was doing until recently - she would toast whole cumin seeds (maybe like a pound of it in a huge skillet) and after it cooled a bit, she would pulverize it in our blender until it would become this soft, powdery fluff. She would sprinkle this on any curry dish for a finishing smoky flavor.


This looks like a real pleasure. I can't wait to try it at home! Thank you.


I can almost smell that, the photos are so vibrant! Good hearty recipe too!


This curry powder recipe sounds great. Nothing can beat making your own. And using fresh spices really makes such a difference. I love cauliflower and curry, such a lovely pairing.

Abby @ mangerlaville

Wow, reading Amy's post at 9:54 put such a smile on my face. jenn, I use a coffee grinder for my spices and it seems to work just fine. Never used a spice grinder though. May be better? Thanks Heidi for the great recipe and your spice blend. Love curries -- the best way to use up a bunch of veggies!


WOW! I am on a curry kick lately...just finished a bowlful of curried fruit. I can't wait to try this! I love everything in the only makes sense to eat all of it together!


i agree that a can of coconut milk is a pantry staple! i love curries and usually lean toward the thai influenced ones but this recipe looks delicious - thanks!

the purcells

I'm wondering if a coffee grinder would work for grinding spices?


yumm! - and to think for the longest time i thought curry was a single spice, rather than a combination of several....some of your readers might enjoy checking out


I would just like to try out this recipe first and then I will get back to you later on it.Ok?


I love to find different curry mixtures to try out. :)


Made the curry this evening and it was really lovely. Since you weren't splitting hairs about the authenticity of your curry blend, I went a step further and added kaffir lime leaves instead of cilantro. Perfect! Thanks for sharing!!


Wow ... this sounds (and looks) fabulous! I can't wait to try it! And thank you for including the curry powder recipe. Small Footprints

Small Footprints

Everything looks so yummy. Can't wait to try one them. You will be hearing from me soon. My husband loves to try new recipes too. Denise


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