Sri Lankan cashew curry also known as Kaju maluwa or cashew nut curry is so delicious, creamy and nutty in terms of flavour. But the best part of it is, it’s Vegan and Gluten-free. The perfect dish for any curry lovers out there.
As a kid growing up, in fact in any Sri Lankan households our typical Sri Lankan meal will consist of at least 3 types of vegan or vegetarian dishes and one protein curry. Also growing up in my household in Sri-Lanka we stayed one day of the week vegetarian which was Friday, as that was the day we would go to church and also my parents thought it would be a good healthy alternative to eat less meat. Not that we ate meat every day of the week, but as you must already know I grew up in a family that was very health conscious.
I will be very honest, we didn’t eat cashew curry every week, in fact, if we were lucky we would eat it once in two months. It was quite an expensive nut. So this dish is actually considered a dish that we would make for a special occasion. And was never a dish that would be eaten as an everyday dish like the dhal curry (lentil curry)which I will do a recipe for it soon.
My mum always cooked the cashew curry in a different way, which was a spicy version and a bit crunchier. Whenever we had an event at our place my dad would bring cashew curry from Hilton Colombo which was creamier and delicious, and I definitely prefer the creamier version. And since I worked at Hilton Colombo, I definitely learnt their recipe and that’s the same method I use to make my cashew curry now.
How to make the cashews soft in the Sri Lankan cashew curry
It is very easy to make this curry but you need to have a lot of patience as the cashew needs to be soft. The best way to make them soft is to soak it overnight in water with a little bit of salt, this way it is going to plump up and then soften the cashews at the same time, it will also help the cashews to season on the inside.
How to make the Sri Lankan cashew curry creamy
I would usually add less coconut milk in all my curries, except this curry. Because the cashews are quite bland in terms of flavour, and to make it flavourful, you need to cook it with coconut milk, that way the cashews absorb the coconut milk and make it very creamy.
What to serve with Sri Lankan cashew curry?
My go-to combo with cashew curry is:
Chicken curry ( Try my delicious chicken curry recipe)
This is actually a party combo offered by many caterers or any event banquet menus. you can totally omit the chicken curry and make it a vegetarian or a vegan menu.
Do you add peas to Sri Lankan cashew curry?
Some do and some don’t. Peas are not a traditional vegetable found in Sri Lanka. So I assume this is something that is done by restaurants and hotels to present it better because it gives a green colour to the overall dish. Also because cashews are expensive, so to balance the cost, restaurants would add peas into it. I prefer the peas added to it, because it presents very well, and it definitely adds flavour to the dish.
Is Sri Lankan cashew curry meant to be spicy or mild?
This cashew curry is meant to be mild, in fact, you can omit the chilli specified in the recipe because that’s how its meant to be. We usually serve it with very spicy chicken curry, so the spiciness is balanced as a whole meal.
What type of cashews to use for the Sri Lankan cashew curry
Usually, raw cashews are used for this recipe, but I bring my cashews from Sri Lanka, and due to boarder protection rules I cannot bring raw cashews into Australia, therefore I bring oven-roasted cashews and that’s the one I use and there is definitely no difference between using raw cashew nuts or roasted cashew nuts.
you can also check my other Sri Lankan recipes here.
Watch video how to make Sri Lankan cashew curry
Step by step recipe on how to make Sri Lankan cashew curry
Sri Lankan Cashew Curry Recipe
- 1/2 Brown onion Chopped
- 2 cloves Garlic Chopped
- 1 Chilli Chopped (optional)
- 5 Curry leaves
- 350 g Cashew nuts Raw, roasted
- 2 tbsp Oil Canola, vegetables, coconut, olive oil
- 1 tsp Mustard seeds
- 1/4 tsp Tumeric Powder
- Salt to taste
- 500ml Thick Coconut milk As needed
- 100 g Green peas Frozen
- Soak the cashews in water with 1 tsp of salt overnight ( cashews should be submerged in water)
- Heat a pan on medium heat with oil
- Add onion, garlic, chilli, curry leaves and cook until soft
- When the onions are soft add the mustard seeds and cook them for 30 seconds, then add turmeric, salt, cashews ( drained) and add coconut milk(All ingredients should be submerged in water) cook for 20 minutes with a lid on
- Then after 20 minutes add more coconut milk and cook without the lid for further 30 minutes, if the liquid has evaporated, keep adding more coconut milk. The trick is not adding too much coconut milk at once but keep adding as needed so the cashews soak up coconut milk which in turns make it creamy ( you might need to add coconut milk 3 times)
- After 50 minutes of cooking the cashew curry, taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Cashews should be ultra-soft at this point.