Fresh seasonal produce always excite me and I think staying away from metro life has brought them closer and easily available than ever. In between simmering summer temperatures and onset of monsoons, unripe cashew fruits make their way into local farmers market. In Andhra region, from where I come, tender cashew nuts are relished with drumsticks and onions curry. Andhra curry recipes always have this subtle sweetish spicy taste, which make me consume more rice. Well, I think delicious food always comes with an invisible tag warning, ‘eat more at your own risk’.
Had the cashew fruits bought were ripe; I would have had the chance to know what they taste like. Curiosity doesn’t kill the cat, sometimes at least. Do you know this – what we commonly call as cashew fruit isn’t the actual fruit. As you can see, there are two parts –the kidney shaped part which has seed or nut and the juicy part. Scientifically speaking, the fleshy part is the modified stalk of the flower. The true fruit is the kidney shaped half which has the nut. I learned about it in the eleventh grade botany class. It was one the many fascinating things I learnt while learning botany. Do you know that there are plants which eat insects? Yes, it’s true. Okay, I will talk about the recipe now.
The traditional Andhra ‘Pachi Jeedipappu Kodi curry’ uses the fresh cashew in whole. But, I wanted to have it along with roti, so reserved only handful of them for the crunch and pureed the remaining. Mom already marinated the chicken by the time I woke up. She just used some chilli powder, salt, turmeric and curd. I left it that way without any further add-ons and let the chicken soak it all for about 4 hours. As most of you might have known, the more time you marinate the chicken, the better it would taste. Just remember to refrigerate if your margination time is beyond 6 hours or right way if you are living in hot climate. I didn’t follow any particular recipe (lazy to research actually) so, the measurements are not to the T. Adjust spice and salt levels according to your taste.
- Chicken – ½ kg (boneless preferred)
- Fresh cashew nuts – 1 cup
- Roughly Chopped Onions – ½ cup
- Large sized tomatoes – 1
- Green Chillies – 4
- Drum sticks – 1 nos ( 6 – 8 nos 2 inch pieces)
- Shahjeera – 1/2 tsp
- Green cardamom – 1 nos
- Dried bay leaf – 1-2 nos
- Red Chilli Powder – as required (add half into marinade and half into curry)
- Garam Masala – 1tsp
- Turmeric powder – 1tsp (add half into marinade and half into curry)
- Ghee – 1tbsp + Oil – 2tbsp
- Salt – as required
Step –by- step:
½ tsp – turmeric powder
1 tbsp – chilli powder
½ tbsp – ginger garlic paste
2 tbsp – Curd
½ tsp – Salt
Clean the chicken pieces with water and take them into a bowl. Add the above ingredients into it and mix well, such that all the pieces are uniformly coated with the marinade.
- Place the cooking pot/pan on heat. Add the ghee and oil and wait till it gets hot and put in the bay leaves, cardamom and shahjeera.
- After a minute or half, toss in the slit green chillies, handful of fresh cashew nuts and chopped onions. Sautee the onions for a minute and add the drumsticks. Add the remaining amount of turmeric powder, mix well and put on a lid.
- As the onions turn translucent, add the marinated chicken into the pot. Mix well, replace the lid and check the pot after ten minutes. The heat level can be from medium to high now.
- Meanwhile, pulse the fresh cashews and tomato in blender.
- The juices from the chicken ooze out. This provides enough water for the chicken to cook. Add the red chilli powder, salt and tomato- cashew paste and mix. Let the lid on for another ten minutes.
- Now, add the garam masala and place the lid for another 2 minutes. Check for the spice and salt level. Adjust accordingly.
- By this time, the gravy comes together. Let the curry stay on heat for some more time, if you want thicker gravy. Serve it with rotis/rice/biryani.
I stored the left-over curry in the fridge and interestingly, the taste of the curry improved ten times the next day. I never experienced this before with chicken curries. Some post-cooking marination magic!
- Removing the cashew seed is a tedious process. Wear gloves while working with them. If not careful, the resin from the unripe fruit gives a burning sensation to the skin.
- Garam masala used in the recipe is mom’s recipe. It is a fresh blend of poppy seeds; garlic cloves, cumin, cloves and coriander seeds.
- Never add spices when the oil is at room temperature. Warm oil allows the spices release their aromatic compounds.
- This recipe works well with dry cashews too. Just soak them in water overnight or warm water for about half an hour.