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Sri Lankan cashew nut curry

Cashew nuts are amongst my favorite nuts, I love the sweet and creamy flavor, especially if they are roasted. Cashew nuts are grown in both Sri Lanka and in South India and they are used not just in snacks but in curries, stir-fries and to make korma sauce. However, the fruit is also edible, sweet, earthy and quite acidic. One of the unique facts about this fruit is that the seed is found outside the fruit, it hangs as a hook at the bottom of the delicate bell-shaped fruit covered in a shell that exudes a sticky, very caustic oil that will burn your skin.

This very easy curry is very delicate and aromatic. The spices enhance the flavors of the cashew nuts adding a hint of heat and tones of flavors. This curry is loaded with the nuts, so exudes luxury and elegance, perfect for when you want to impress your guests. I will admit that I absolutely loved the notes and textures of the curry and will have to make this again to curb my craving for these delicate flavors.

This is an amazing cookbook, so much so that I rarely now go to the other Sri Lankan cookbooks on my shelf. It is an absolutely gorgeous cookbook, from which I have cooked at least half the recipes, every one spectacular. I believe what makes this book special is the attention to detail, including recipes for every spice blend, The Roasted curry powder in this recipe, allows this dish to shine.

For more recipes from this cookbook click here.


1/2 lb roasted cashew nuts

1 cup coconut milk

1 cup water

1 teaspoon chili powder, or to taste

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

3-5 green chilies, finely diced

1 3-inch pandanus leaf

1 1-inch cinnamon stick

Salt, to taste

3 tablespoons ghee

2 small onions, finely diced

10 curry leaves

1/2 teaspoon dill seeds

2 pinches roasted curry powder (See recipe below

Add the cashew nuts, coconut milk, water, chili powder, ground cumin, turmeric, green chiles, pandanus leaf, cinnamon stick and salt and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes.

While the curry is simmering, add the ghee to a wide frying pan and heat on medium heat. Add the onions, curry leaves and dill seeds and sauté till the onions are well browned, about 5 minutes. Stir into the simmering curry. Taste and adjust for salt.

To serve, heat the curry to just below boiling. Serve in a bowl sprinkled with the roasted curry powder. Do not stir in the curry powder.

For the Roasted curry powder:

1 1/4 oz coriander seeds

2 tablespoons cumin seeds

1 cinnamon stick

5 cloves

1/4 teaspoon green cardamom seeds

1 dried red chili (optional)

1 teaspoon black peppercorns

2 teaspoons rice

4 curry leaves

Roast all ingredients individually on a frying pan till toasted and lightly colored. Cool and grind to a fine powder in a spice mill or coffee grinder. Store in an air tight container in a cool place.

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