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Cashew curry is a rich, flavorful curry made with cashew nuts and a host of vegetables; some cashew curry varieties also include fish and meat. In Sri Lanka curry made from cashews is very popular and is known as kaju maluwa. The curry is often made using fresh cashew nuts; there are vast cashew nut plantations in Sri Lanka and the nuts are usually harvested in April. Cooking with cashews is also prevalent in the Goa and Konkan regions of India, where cashews are widely grown. The creamy cashew curry made in these parts may differ from the Sri Lankan variety in the type of spices used, and the recipe in both cases may include the use of coconut milk as well as grated coconut.
The curry powder used to make cashew curry can be purchased in a ready-made pack or the spices can be ground fresh for use; many cooks prefer using freshly ground spices as these give the curry a better flavor. The curry powder is made by separately roasting cardamon seeds, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, cloves and dried red chilies. These are mixed together in a bowl, turmeric and cinnamon are added to the mixture, and then the cashew curry powder is ready to be used.
To make the cashew curry, the nuts may be used raw or roasted, or they may be soaked in water, coconut milk or bicarbonate of soda. Other ingredients to make the curry include green beans, cauliflowers, potatoes, onions, tomatoes, coriander, lemongrass, curry leaves, garlic, ginger and salt. Fruits like pineapples can often be added to flavor the cashew curry, and, as mentioned earlier, coconuts are also used with a good deal of success. In the case of non-vegetarian curries, crayfish, fish, beef,and chicken seem to work well with the cashews. Depending on preference, the curry can be made with a thin or thick sauce.
The cashew curry can be a main dish or a side dish in a meal. It is not usually eaten on its own, but is served with flat Indian breads like roti, chapati and nan, or with white or brown raised bread. The curry also makes an excellent combination with regular rice or fried rice. It is also possible to use the cashew curry to make other dishes; it works well, for instance, when it is folded into a stuffed paratha or pancake, or into an egg omelet.