Creamy Indian Cashew Chicken

I recently read in an ancient Indian manuscript that the word Friday actually translates to “creamy.”


Freaking sweet, right? But don’t ask me to show you the manuscript because right after I read it, I spilled some water on it and it’s at the . . . manuscript repair . . . store. For probably a long time.

But first of ALL, what did you think of Idol last night? Were you happy? Were you sad? I was all good with it. I mean it was no PHILLIP PHILLIPS stick of butter, but what can ya do?

So, the last time I made something with cashews, before this blog birthed itself onto the interwebz, things didn’t exactly end up hunky dory.

cashew1  cashew2

It had nothing to do with my cooking though! I don’t think. (don’t look at me like that.)

It was a normal Sunday evening, and I’d made something LIKE cashew chicken, but it was different. It had rice in it, chicken in it, cashews in it, la dee da. Aaron and I both ate it, normal normal, watched some Family Guy on the TVs, blah blah blah, and went to bed.

I woke up at like 3am to hearing Aaron all, “what? WHAT? OMG. WHAT IS THIS. WHAT IS GOING ON.” We flipped on the light, and staring back at me was a face so swollen, he looked like John Travolta meets Ron Perlman meets an inflatable party house for a 5 year old’s birthday party.

cashew3  cashew4

“Omg sweetie, this is so horrible! I’m so sorry! How can I help?” – is what I should have said. Instead I completely freaked my life, ran out of the room, and then started laughing so uncontrollably, a lion’s den would have been a more appropriate place for me to finish the night.

“I had no idea you were allergic to cashews, darling! I feel awful!” – is also something I should have said. But no, instead I panicked, “YOU CANNOT GO TO WORK LIKE THAT. YOU LOOK LIKE THAT DUDE WHO EXPLODES AT THE END OF ‘BIG TROUBLE IN LITTLE CHINA.'”


But see, I’m a detective. I watch a LOT of Law & Order. Like, an obscene amount. I started putting things together and remembered that when I bought the cashews from Whole Foods, they’d recently switched out all the bulk bins, so particles from certain nuts were transferred to other bins, and particles from certain other nuts were left in the original bins. Following me? Me either.

Anyway, I THINK what happened is that those specific cashews had touched the particles from some other nut that he was Travolta-style allergic to. Because it was NOT my cooking, you guys.

But I’m not defensive or anything!


I am happy to report that he immediately saw a doctor that morning, took a regular ole Benadryl, and has since been facial deflated, just like I like him.

Wait that came out wrong.

I am also happy to report that he ate this entire creamy cashew chicken dish, with the only swelling of the day occurring in my ego. RA RAAAA.


This is stupid yummy. And your weekend desperately needs it.


The end.

Creamy Indian Cashew Chicken:

(inspired and adapted from Pinch of Yum)

What it took for 4 – 6:

* 1 cup uncooked brown rice
* 1 white onion, quartered
* 4 cloves garlic
* 1-inch piece fresh ginger root, roughly chopped
* 2 Tbs. tomato paste
* 1 1/2 Tbs. garam masala
* 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
* 1/4 cup yogurt
* 1/2 tsp cinnamon
* 1 tsp chili powder
* 1/2 cup cashews, plus more for garnish
* 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive
* 1 pound chicken breast, cut into a small cubes
* 1 red bell pepper, diced
* 1 cup frozen peas
* 2 scallions, finely sliced
* cilantro leaves, for garnish
* coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Throw that rice in a rice cooker, add 2 cups water and you’re done. The end. Well, you have to turn it on. You knew that.

In a food processor, add the quartered onion and pulse until you have a paste, around 45 seconds or so.

To the processor, add the garlic THROUGH the cashews, plus a pinch of salt. Turn that baby on and pulse her until you get a nice saucey-ness. Taste it. GOOOOOOOODness be.

Now heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium. Add the cashew sauce and bloom for about a minute. It will get nice and fragrant.

Add the chicken, red bells and half the scallions. Cover and cook on medium-low until the chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes. Add the peas and cook another minute or two, until they pop in color.

Serve over the cooked rice and garnish with cilantro, remaining scallions and cashews!



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40 Responses to Creamy Indian Cashew Chicken

  1. Tieghan May 17, 2013 at 8:04 am #
    Sp pretty and Bev this is awesome! I love the flavors and we LOVE cashews around here, so this is perfect! Happy Friday!!
  2. Chris May 17, 2013 at 8:56 am #
    This looks delicious! I need to run out to buy garam masala, as I've never cooked with it before. How fun! I thought your story was hysterical. I am sure it was scary for your husband (and I'm shocked he was willing to try another cashew dish at all! Brave man). But all I could think about was that scene in Hitch, where Will Smith's face gets all totally blown up and distorted when he eats shrimp and he ends up sucking Benadryl out of a bottle with a straw. Too funny! Kudos to you for mastering this dish and for your hubby for diving in! Thanks for sharing.
  3. danielle May 17, 2013 at 9:09 am #
    Super yum!! Im saving this recipe I need to try it.
    • danielle May 18, 2013 at 9:21 am #
      This looks amazing! I wanted to let you know that I featured this yumminess in my "What I Bookmarked This Week" post today - stop by and see!
  4. Julia {The Roasted Root} May 17, 2013 at 9:31 am #
    I feel slightly bad that I'm laughing my non-inflated face off at Aaron's discomfort, but that was a total crackup. I read in a similar manuscript that Friday not only means "creamy" but it also translates to "brownie" in some dialects. ;) This cashew chicken looks insaaaaaaaaaaaaane-o, and yes, will be made soon!
  5. marla May 17, 2013 at 9:31 am #
    Hey......I want some. Lots actually!
  6. Cara May 17, 2013 at 9:36 am #
    This almost looks too easy to be real, but no, you wrote it, so it's gotta be delicious. Can't wait to try!
  7. Kari@Loaves n Dishes May 17, 2013 at 9:39 am #
    I heart cashews...especially creamy cashews. De-Lish!
  8. Heather @ Barefoot Crafts May 17, 2013 at 9:59 am #
    I want to slurp this up with a straw. I'm not even sorry.
  9. Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie May 17, 2013 at 11:27 am #
    Wow this looks outstanding. I must have it. And yay for creamy friday! ...wait that sounds kind of bad...
  10. sara forte May 17, 2013 at 9:14 pm #
    carmex makes my lips poof up like an over-injected Bravo housewife. I don't know what I am allergic to, but I can't do the heavy duty chapstick. My worst nightmare is being allergic to nuts, I put them on everything, not sure I'd pull through. Until my nightmare becomes a reality, I need this sauce.
  11. Cassie May 18, 2013 at 8:41 am #
    This is fabulous, Bev. I love the Asian-version of cashew chicken. I'm sure this would be a big winner too!
  12. Gerlinde in Dallas May 18, 2013 at 11:32 am #
    This cashew chicken looks delicious! I never tire of Indian food and look forward to giving this a try.
  13. Sheila May 19, 2013 at 8:28 am #
    I love to use garam masala one of my fave spices! this looks super yummage.
  14. Marie Hawkins May 19, 2013 at 11:13 am #
    Looks lovely... So I take it the yoghurt goes in the food processor with the cashew nuts and onions? Or before you put the peas in? It doesn't say on the recipe. Many thanks!!
    • Bev Weidner May 19, 2013 at 12:23 pm #
      Hi, Marie! Actually, I say to add the garlic THROUGH (I'm not screaming at you.) the cashews. So all the ingredients in the list, including the yogurt! Make sense? Thank you!
      • Anonymous April 10, 2015 at 1:07 pm #
        I totally thought you were yelling at me. Had to read it like ten times before I got it:) BY THE WAY, it was delicious!
  15. Monet May 19, 2013 at 10:14 pm #
    I need to make tomorrow! I didn't like Indian food for a long while, but in the past year, I've fallen in love. I can't wait to try this (and I know my husband will be thrilled!)
  16. Sarah May 19, 2013 at 11:35 pm #
    LOL - oh Bev you make me laugh. I too would crack up at this. Awesome recipe!
  17. BusyWorkingMama May 20, 2013 at 4:43 pm #
    That looks delicious with the fresh herbs on top. I have not attempted much Indian cooking but this sounds wonderful. Yay creamy, I mean, yay Friday :)
  18. Nutmeg Nanny May 22, 2013 at 11:31 am #
    Yum! This looks amazing! I feel like I can already taste this glorious dish through your photos :)
  19. Lisa | With Style and Grace May 31, 2013 at 9:11 am #
    I am SO making this!!
  20. Tyler June 4, 2013 at 1:48 pm #
    This was so delicious! I used zucchini instead of red pepper because I had it on hand. I ended up using more yogurt because I added too much ginger! The chicken stays so moist from being cooked in the sauce. Love this recipe!
    • Anonymous June 11, 2013 at 5:37 pm #
      I had to add more yogurt because the mixture was quite dry and was sticking to the saucepan. Also, I would cook it for longer as the red ( and I added a green too) pepper was hard. Nice flavours though and quite spicy.
  21. Kat November 23, 2013 at 10:29 pm #
    The recipe needs a bit of help. It doesn't specify when to add the lemon juice, ginger or any of the spices. Mine was also very dry/thick. I ended up adding some vegetable broth and a little heavy cream to get it to a "saucy" consistency. The end result was quite good though.
    • Bev Weidner November 24, 2013 at 8:00 am #
      Hi, Kat! Actually, in the instructions I say to add all the ingredients at once, this THROUGH that. I even have THROUGH bolded. :) But I'm sorry you had to tweak it so much. I'm glad you end up liking it though! Heavy cream sounds like the right way to go.
      • leta April 4, 2014 at 4:36 am #
        I just read this delicious recipe several times and it does not say to add the ingredients all at once. also I do not understand what you mean when you say "through". I have never in all my years of cooking heard that description. Please explain to my simple brain..
        • Bev Weidner April 4, 2014 at 8:57 am #
          Hey, Leta! As in, this ingredient through that ingredient - everything in between. So in that list if I say garlic through the salt and pepper, it means all the ingredients between those two (including those two). Make sense? I've seen that description in countless cookbooks, cutting to the chase! (rather than writing out all the ingredients twice.)
  22. Melanie January 6, 2014 at 6:50 pm #
    This was an absolute hit tonight at our house. Even the 19 month old requested a second helping - thanks for a great and EASY weeknight recipe. :)
  23. Karen May 19, 2014 at 9:39 pm #
    Sorry, this was just not good according to my family. This was very thick and pasty and the rice was still hard so I would suggest using 2 1/2 cups of water so it has a chance to cook longer.
  24. Maris October 8, 2014 at 3:30 pm #
    Very tasty! I made it with slight modifications, used more cashews and yoghurt (greek) than suggested, left out the scallions (couldn't find them in my country) and used sugar snap peas and the result was delicious!
  25. Jessie November 21, 2014 at 2:50 pm #
    I have cooked chicken already and no food processor. Do you think I could sauté the onions and garlic, then immersion-blend them, then add everything to the crockpot on low for a few hours? (Minus the rice, of course)
    • Jessie November 30, 2014 at 9:02 pm #
      I did use the immersion blender! Sauteed the onions, garlic, and cashews for a little bit first, and I was afraid the cashews wouldn't blend, but they did! In hindsight, I would have soaked the nuts first if I wanted a perfectly smooth sauce, but as it was, it was pretty good!
  26. Anonymous January 11, 2015 at 2:04 am #
    Hilarious......and I'm definitely going to try this recipe one evening this week. You are very funny!
  27. Anonymous March 23, 2015 at 11:38 pm #
    Am i missing something? Where is most of the freaking recipe! Arh i just went out and bought the ingredients >:(
  28. Bethany Jones May 27, 2015 at 9:37 am #
    That looks so tasty, yet so hard to make. I hope I'll manage to do it properly. Btw, I'll skip the chili powder. I know spiciness is the core of Indian food, but adding chili will be little bit too much for me.
  29. Emily June 10, 2015 at 6:02 pm #
    I agree with a few of the above commenters that the recipe is too vague. The part about adding the garlic THROUGH the cashews...well, I, too, read that as somehow adding the garlic into the food processor through the blending of the cashews ("through" them) and was confused as to why you didn't include the instructions for when to add the other ingredients. A simple tweak of "add to the food processor all ingredients in the list from garlic up through (and including) cashews" should do the trick to clear things up. I had to come to the comments to find out if anyone else was confused and if you had clarified. Also, I agree that adding a little water along with the chicken and peppers and scallions helps thin out the paste. Thanks.
  30. Bob December 13, 2017 at 12:03 am #
    I used egg instead of chicken and brazil nuts instead of cashew, ommited the vegetables and curry ingredients Delish!
  31. Grissel July 6, 2020 at 2:04 am #
    The dish looks delicious. I love the texture and taste of cashew nut gravies.


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