This recipe is very special to me. It is one of the first recipes I ever tried to making as a newly married woman. I found this recipe, years ago, in the Sunday edition of the Chicago Tribune. The first time I tried it, it wasn’t as good as I thought it would be. I didn’t try making it again until a few years later, when my mother-in-law came to visit us from overseas. She taught me a lot of things, especially, how to cook. She encouraged me to try things on my own which gave me the confidence to create my own recipes. Under her guidance, I modified the coconut cashew chicken recipe I found years ago and it tasted wonderful. She passed away a little over a month ago. She was an amazing mother, a great teacher and a fantastic cook. I’m dedicating this post in loving memory of my mother-in-law. May you be at peace wherever you are.

Cashew Chicken

  • 1 ½ LB Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast (Preferably Organic) Cut Into Medium Cubes
  • 2 Large White Onions Chopped Small
  • 1 Can Coconut Milk
  • 6 oz Salted Cashews
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Teaspoon Whole Cumin
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Cumin
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Coriander
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Garam Masala
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Red Chili Powder
  • 1 ½ Teaspoon Minced Garlic
  • 4-5 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Butter
  • 1 Handful of Cilantro Leaves Chopped
  • Spice Pouch (Optional)
  • 1 Piece Cheese Cloth
  • 1 Piece String
  • 1 Cinnamon Stick
  • 5 Whole Cloves
  • 5 Green Cardamoms
  • 1 Black Cardamom
  • 1/3 Teaspoon Whole Black Peppercorns
  • 1/3 Teaspoon Whole Black Cumin

In a large pot heat olive oil, then add whole cumin and fry until slightly brown about 1-2 minutes. Add chopped onions, fry until golden brown about 10-12 minutes. Add cubed chicken breast, fry until color changes from pink to white about 7-10 minutes. Add salt, red chili, garam masala, coriander, ground cumin, and garlic, cook for 10 minutes. For extra flavor, you can add a spice pouch mentioned above. Take a piece of cheese cloth about the size of half a sheet of paper and put the cinnamon stick, black and green cardamoms, cloves, black peppercorns and black cumin on top of it and wrap it and tie it with a piece of string to form a pouch. Add the pouch to the chicken. Add coconut milk and cook for 15 minutes on medium to high heat (stir mixture occasionally to ensure the chicken does not stick to bottom of the pot) until sauce thickens. Cover and put on low heat for about 10 minutes. In the meantime, in a fry pan heat butter and fry cashews until slightly brown. Add cashews to chicken. When sauce is thick, add cilantro leaves. Serve warm with rice.

Ambreen Khawaja

Co-Founder, Mandala Integrative Medicine