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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Amy--It sounds like you may have come across some of Dr. Joel Fuhrman's writings (if you haven't, look for his great books on the effect of diet on chronic pain/autoimmune dieseases). I pursued this years prior (eschewing animal protein, refined sugars/flour, coffee, and alcohol), and found amazing relief, too. You are in the right place for your health. good luck!


I forgot to add to my note about coconut milk, that there is a lot of pulp left over after mixing it, so the milk needs to be strained. Also, if you want to add any cream, it's better to do it after straining, so none is wasted.


This looks fabulous, I love cashews. I need to incorporate more tofu into my diet, this looks like the perfect way to start!


I would never have thought of toasting the cashews. That just ups the flavor so much more and is the main reason I'm drawn to the dish. But then I look at the curry sauce and I want it right now.

Angela@Spinach Tiger

Love this combo---- for the non-vegetarians, I might try this with chicken in place of tofu too. Your blog is great---I refer lots of people to it all the time!

Season to Taste

I LOVE curry, and cashews are my favorite! This recipe is perfect. Thanks for sharing!


yum! making your own spice blends fresh makes such a difference! also, my local health food store has garam masala cashews that i always have on hand to snack on, perfect for this recipe too..thanks heidi

zoe maya

Heidi- I am a chronic pain patient. Recently I became a whole foods vegetarian because of several studies indicating that such a dient reduces pain. I have used your recipies and your cookbook so much that my husband asks whether we're "having Heidi for dinner?!" I just wanted to let you and your readers know that my pain has gone from an 8 on a 1-10 scale to a 2 based on this diet. I have also gone from almost daily migraines to 2 a month. Thanks for helping me make the transition to whole foods eating so easily. We have organic local veggies delivered weekly and I plan our menu based on your recipies and Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. Thanks so much. Amy


I've been thinking about using some of my curry - this looks wonderful because I love cauliflower! One thing I've discovered - I can make coconut milk from shaved coconut. I mention this because it is hard to find coconut milk from a store shelf that doesn't have any gums or additives. Although it takes preparation, you can soak the coconut shaving in water to get coconut milk. I've never used a fresh coconut, but that could be interesting and tasty!


Hi, Love Curry Loved Your Recipe FAB... Thanks Phil...

Phillip Morgan

Perfec mix of flavor, spice, and delectableness.


Love it! A bit of this, a bit of that. Good homemade food!

Life Chef

Just a note about coconut milk. I've been making it by blenderizing raw, unsweetened, shredded coconut and water. You can get it as rich or light as you like by adjusting the proportions of coconut and water, as well as removing or incorporating the oil (a lot of which separates on the blender's walls. the excess can be saved and used for anything you'd normally use coconut oil for.) Also, adding a but of half and half or plain silk creamer makes it very yummy too. The best thing about it--it's about 50 times less expensive than canned cocomilk.


I loooove curry. I bet some chickpeas would be delicious in this. I normally use light coconut milk, but I have noticed that it tends to separate when you cook it. Is that the reason you call for whole coconut milk in this recipe?


I loooove curry. I bet some chickpeas would be delicious in this. I normally use light coconut milk, but I have noticed that it tends to separate when you cook it. Is that the reason you call for whole coconut milk in this recipe?


I love your site and love cashew curry - have been looking for a recipe. As a sri lankan in the bay area, I'm delighted to see it on your site. Thank you so much! Meera


Your recipes and pictures always look fantastic! I love curry, but have never actually made it myself since no one else in my family likes it and I have also been a little intimidated. I will definately be trying this recipe though- Thanks!


Wonderful! These are items I always have on hand too. I make curry powder at home, but hadn't thought to toast the spices first, great idea!

Alisa (Go Dairy Free and Frugal Foodie)

I know very little about curries but I LOVE a flexible recipe. I think a lunchtime trip to Trader Joe's will have me all set for dinner tonight! On the topic of flexible recipes, I just posted my chili recipe on my site if anyone is interested.

Michelle @ What Does Your Body Good?

Oh this looks yummy!!! I will definately be making this! num num num


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