Sri Lankan Chicken & Cashew Nut Curry


  • 200g cashews
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 500g skinless chicken thigh fillets, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • ginger, a thumb-sized piece, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 green chillies, deseeded and chopped
  • 400g coconut milk (tin)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • a small bunch of coriander, roughly chopped

Sri Lankan Curry Powder

  • 4 cardamom pods, seeds extracted, shells discarded
  • 1 tsp basmati
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • 4 cloves


  • To make the Sri Lankan curry powder, put all of the ingredients into a frying pan and cook over a medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until lightly browned and smelling toasty. Cool, then tip into a spice grinder or use a pestle and mortar to grind to a powder.
  • Tip the cashews into the pan and toast for 2-3 minutes or until caramelised, then tip onto a plate to cool.
  • Heat the olive oil in the same pan and cook the chicken thigh pieces for 5 minutes on each side until really golden, then scoop out onto a plate.
  • Put the onion, ginger, garlic and chillies into a food processor or blender with ½ of the toasted cashews and 50ml of water, and whizz to a paste.
  • Tip the spice mix into the pan and cook gently for 1 minute. Add the cashew paste and cook gently for 10 minutes until thickened. Tip in the coconut milk with 250ml of water, the cinnamon stick, chicken and the rest of the cashews, and simmer for 30 minutes until the chicken is really tender.
  • Add the red pepper slices and simmer for another 5 minutes.
  • Stir through the lime juice and coriander. Serve with steamed basmati rice or naan bread.