S. H. Fernando Jr.'s Cashew Nut Curry

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[Photograph: Susan Now]

Perhaps the most unusual curry in S.H. Fernando Jr.'s guide to Sri Lankan cuisine, Rice & Curry, is made of an ingredient more often found in a bowl of mixed nuts than in a steamy pot of coconut milk and chiles. Cashew Nut Curry is a wonderfully rich vegetarian curry, with soft, fatty cashews floating in creamy coconut milk spiced with curry leaves, lemongrass, coriander, and just enough chile heat.

What Worked: Never thought of nuts as a curry ingredient? Give it a shot; this is a fascinating dish.

What Didn't: All clear.

Suggested Tweaks: This recipe has us wondering what other nuts can be stirred into the curry equation.

Reprinted with permission from Rice & Curry by S.H. Fernando Jr.. Copyright © 2011. Published by Hippocrene Books. Available wherever books are sold. All rights reserved.

S. H. Fernando Jr.'s Cashew Nut Curry

About This Recipe

Yield:makes 4 to 6 servings
Active time:30 minutes
Total time:30 minutes plus soaking time


  • 1/2 pound (226 grams) raw cashew nuts
  • 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) water
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon ghee
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2-inch (5-cm) piece ginger, chopped
  • 2-inch (5-cm) stalk lemongrass
  • 2 to 3 green chilies, sliced
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 1 tablespoon coriander powder
  • 1 cup (250 ml) coconut milk
  • Salt to taste


  1. 1

    Soak cashews in water to cover overnight (ideally changing water a couple of times).

  2. 2

    Drain nuts and boil with the 1 1/2 cups water and turmeric powder until tender. Drain.

  3. 3

    Heat ghee in a pan. Fry onions, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, green chilies, and curry leaves until onions are translucent.

  4. 4

    Add coriander powder, coconut milk, salt, and cooked cashews.

  5. 5

    Cook on medium heat until liquid has almost evaporated.

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