Of course, garam masala isn't exactly a single ingredient. Technically it's a combination of a bunch of different spices, but let's not get off topic here. These eight ingredients combine to make one incredibly flavorful dish and if you're looking for a simple intro recipe into the wide world of Indian cuisine, this may be it.
Even with just a few ingredients, it's a surprisingly developed dish. The garam masala adds complexity and the cayenne brings the kick. And don't forget the whole heap of red onion—half of which is blended at the beginning of the recipe while the other half is sliced thinly and sautéed in a pan. I was a little worried it would overwhelm the dish, but it didn't. The real star is the creamy cashew and cilantro sauce, which adds most of the character to the dish and lovingly coats the sliced chicken in a rich and layered sauce.
- 1/4 cup cashews
- 1 red onion, 1/2 chopped, 1/2 thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
- 2 tablespoons Canola oil
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, sliced into 1-inch by 3-inch strips
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
Add the cashews, chopped red onion, and cilantro to a blender. Pour in 1/2 cup of water. Blend into it is a smooth puree.
Pour the oil into a skillet set over medium-high heat. Toss in the sliced red onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often until lightly browned. Dump in the pureed cashew mixture, reduce heat to medium, and cook until the mixture has thickened. Most of the water should evaporate and it will turn a darker green.
Toss in the chicken and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Pour in another 1/2 cup of water. Scrap up any brown bites on the bottom of the skillet. Add the salt, garam masala, and cayenne. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 6 minutes.
Remove the cover, crank the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring occasionally, until the the sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes.