Kickin’ Cashew Chicken

I had a girls night a couple weeks ago with a new girl friend in Helena. I love a good excuse to try a new recipe and get together in the kitchen!

Thank goodness my guest was not picky at all; that makes for a stress-free and fun-filled evening. I had my eye on Lindsay’s Kickin’ Cashew Chicken at Pinch of Yum so Indian food was on the menu 🙂 I increased the tomato paste along with a few of the spices, added a serrano for a kick and tossed in some fresh veggies to bulk up the meal. Winner! Both my food-loving guest and the hostess were delighted with the results!

Classic — the original recipe called for the cashews to be blended into the sauce. I got to talking (and of course, not paying attention) and wound up adding them in with the golden raisins toward the end of cooking. This was fine by me since I love texture in my dishes – another happy accident 🙂

Kickin’ Cashew Chicken (adapted from Pinch of Yum)

Ingredients

2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
6 Tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup cashews (I bought raw and toasted them but already roasted is fine too)
1 1/2 Tbsp garam masala
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp chili powder (I used mild)
1/2 tsp to 1 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp lemon juice (about 1/2 lemon)
2 Tbsp plain yogurt (I used Greek)
1 serrano chili pepper, deseeded and deveined (omit for mild dish)
1 Tbsp coconut oil (grapeseed, canola, ghee or butter can be used)
3/4 to 1 lb chicken breast, cubed
1 1/2 cups fresh mushroom slices
1 small red bell pepper, diced
2 handfuls of fresh spinach (about 3 cups)
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1 cup water

For serving: cooked rice, quinoa, millet etc (I used brown rice)

Directions

1. In a food processor, process the onion pieces for about 1 minute or until a smooth puree forms. Add the next 9 ingredients (paste through serrano) to the onion mixture and process for another 1-2 minutes. If you want a chunkier sauce, pulse until desired texture is reached.
2. In a heavy pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Pour the spice mixture from the food processor into the pan and saute for 2 minutes. The lightly cooked spices will start to give off a nice aroma.
3. Add the cubed chicken breast, veggies, half of the cilantro, and the golden raisins. Stir-fry for another minute or so.
4. Add the water and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook over low heat for about 10 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through. Serve over rice and garnish with remaining cilantro and/or cashew pieces. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes: If you’re hesitant about the cilantro and/or the quantity of spice, reduce the amounts to your liking. The sauce without the serrano is not all that spicy, omit pepper for a milder version. There are lots of flavorful spices, but it’s not firey-hot-get-me-a-glass-of-water spicy.
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