BitterSweet

An Obsession with All Things Handmade and Home-Cooked

February, Quite Contrary

26 Comments

Writing about a month that’s nearly over and full of contradictions isn’t easy. Try as I might, on this bonus leap year day, I can’t find the words to sum it all up in one neat little package. Back in December, I thought I was being so clever when I prepared a batch of my favorite hearty, warming dishes, creating ample blog fodder for the brutal winter to come. Now I have a stock pile of main meals that are just a bit too rich for most days- Thank you very much, fickle Mother Nature. Still, inconsistent to the very end, there’s talk of snow in today’s forecast again today, so I’m seizing the opportunity to trot out a genuine belly-warmer while I still can.

It was something mentioned in an interview, an offhand comment that I forgot about as soon as I said it. A dish that I often would whip up for myself for a quick dinner, something easy to eat, and admittedly, almost embarrassing to spill the details about. You know those meals that you love but would never serve to anyone else? That was this curry. Although it was undeniably inspired by Sri Lankan curry, featuring cashews soaked for hours to lend them a uniquely creamy yet toothsome texture, I figured that people of more standard food preferences may find that approach a bit unappealing. Naturally, this was the comment that most readers picked up on and asked about, clamoring for a recipe. So here I am, sharing my secret semi-junky, completely inauthentic comfort food curry that was never intended to be shared in the spotlight. Lesson learned: Be careful what culinary sins you casually divulge on the internet.

Thankfully, it’s far from beyond saving, and a few small adaptions can make it more agreeable to pickier customers. Don’t soak the cashews to keep them crunchier, or swap them out altogether for beans to create a lighter dish. All the rest is pretty standard, but it’s gotten me out of a dinner jam more times than I can recall. When I think of comfort food, this recipe is high on my list.

Sri Lankan-Inspired Cashew Curry

1 1/2 Cups Whole, Raw Cashews*, Optionally Soaked for 2 Hours
1 Tablespoon Olive or Coconut Oil
1 Large Yellow Onion, Diced
3 – 4 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1 Inch Fresh Ginger, Peeled and Minced
1/2 Cup Vegetable Stock or Water
2 – 3 Tablespoons Madras Curry Powder
1 Large Sweet Potato or 2 Medium, Peeled and Chopped
2 Medium Zucchinis, Halved Lengthwise and Chopped
1 14-Ounce Can Light Coconut Milk
1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
2 Cups Frozen Peas
Salt and Black Pepper, to Taste

Cooked Rice, Quinoa, or Couscous to Serve (Optional)

*For a lower-fat (and lower-cost) alternative, substitute 2 – 3 cups cooked white kidney beans.

Rinse and thoroughly drain you cashews if soaking (or beans, if canned); Set aside.

In a large sauce pot over medium heat, warm the oil before adding in the diced onion. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking and burning, until soften and translucent; about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and ginger, and continue to saute for 8 – 10 minutes longer, so that everything is very lightly caramelized and highly aromatic. De-glaze with the vegetable stock or water, being certain to scrape up any tasty brown bits that may be clinging to the bottom of the pot.

Follow that addition with the cashews or beans, curry powder (to taste- I find it’s very mild and go with 3 tablespoons, but if preparing this for children, they may prefer the lesser amount), sweet potatoes, zucchinis, coconut milk, and soy sauce. Stir well to incorporate, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes, until the sweet potatoes are fork-tender. Turn off the heat, and incorporate the peas, straight out of the freezer. No need to thaw, as they’ll immediately come up to temperature once they hit the hot curry. Add salt and pepper to taste, and serve immediately! (It does reheat beautifully though- Just save in an air-tight container once fully cooled, and bring it back up to a simmer on the stove when you’re ready to eat. Add more water if necessary to thin out the stew.)

Serves 4 – 5 Solo; 6 – 7 with a Grain Accompaniment

Printable Recipe

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Author: Hannah Kaminsky

Author of My Sweet Vegan, Vegan Desserts, Vegan a la Mode, and Easy as Vegan Pie.

26 thoughts on “February, Quite Contrary

  1. Hi Hannah, Your standards are probably higher than most of us, seeing as you are a food expert :) This looks delicious to me, and I would serve it to guests! By the way, it’s snowing here again, so warm food is most welcome.

  2. I think it is really cute that you were ashamed of publishing such a recipe. First, I must say that it looks appealing and yummy, and like most of people when something lookks good it makes you want to try it !
    So first step = successful
    Then reading the list of ingredients, it seems like a mix of wonderful foods.
    So second step = successful

  3. I loved your post and I know exactly what you mean. I have a repertoire of family meals for hubby and I that I would never dream of making for guests because I think they’re not fancy enough. The food that is. One evening I made one such dish, vegetable cous cous and as we were digging in, we got a surprise call from a good friend of ours who was passing through so I told her to stop by and join us for dinner. My head was whirring with what to make and hubby said, “why not the cous cous?” I thought he was crazy but that’s exactly what I did and now when she visits she always asks me to make it for her! Your curry looks fabulous and I think it’s definitely “guest worthy.” Sometimes our guests want to eat what we eat.

  4. If this is an embarrassing meal…. looks incredibly delicious & comforting to me! And I love soaking cashews before using them in stir-frys. The texture is spot-on!

  5. I don’t know why you would be embarassed about this meal! It sounds delicious and I never think of preparing cashews that way.

  6. I have some throw-together meals that I would never dream of sharing, and trust me, they are nothing like this :)

  7. Our weather has been all over the place as well…it’s meant to be summer here in Australia but we’re having LOTS of rain, wind, and chilly days

  8. Lovely photo, post and lovely sentiment.
    Best,
    Conor

  9. If you love to cook something for yourself, most likely we all would love to try it as well. The flavor combinations sound great.

  10. This definitely looks like comfort food and it looks delicious! I am all about meals that are quick yet still really good and this looks really good.

  11. this month (this whole WINTER, in fact!) has been a bit ridiculous, now hasn’t it? I definitely have meals like this that I would share online for the world…but yours is way more impressive. Anything curry sounds like comfort food to me!

  12. What a delicious and hearty looking curry! I love that you used cashews!

  13. I love that you shared this beautiful stew now- we just got dumped with a big snow storm. I’d love to try this about now!! It looks absolutely delicious and I’m interested in trying the cashews in it. Those are my favorite nuts!

  14. Hannah, there’s a cashew curry recipe in one of the gorgeous cookbooks I have lying around and I’ve never had the courage to make it, so rest assured this dish is fit for a queen, not embarrassment. I might just had the courage to try it soon now it has your blessing! xox

  15. I am guilty of charged as having more secret go-to dishes in my repertoire than I care to share, lol! None of them clean up as pretty as this lovely curry though. ;) The cashews are a wonderful addition.

  16. I love how elegant this looks and sounds with using very basic ingredients. I’ve never made anything curry flavored, but I think this is the first recipe I’ll try! Thanks for sharing!

  17. We’ve enough of our share of terribly cold weather so I’m totally ready for spring. Our winter did start very late too though. Just when you think it’s not coming anymore it hits! I’ll keep this dish in mind when it does..:)

  18. We had two really cold weeks and now winter is over it seems. Which is good for my little daughter because she can’t take the cold very well yet. But yeah, not so much winter food anymore. I am already craving salads. But I think your curry would fit very well into a meal plan for a mild rainy day, too.

  19. This recipe rocks, I made it this past Wednesday with chickpea (that was the only canned bean I had left in the pantry) and it was delicious. I served it over quinoa and it made for a perfect winter meal.
    Thanks!

  20. we all have one of these everything curries or bowls for those days:) its such an to your taste editable recipe! and love your pictures! which make everything look so delicious and gorgeous! its crazy cold out here since the last 2 days.. lets see if the sun comes out for the weekend. brrr

  21. Yum! I have yet to make an authentic curry at home, but I’ve made quite a few curry dishes. So, something like this is totally up my alley and looks absolutely marvelous. Thanks for the recipe!

  22. I have recipes that are not worth mentioning, forget about sharing :D Truly can relate to your qualms.

    This is however a great recipe — comforting with mild spices for winter.

  23. I’ve been meaning to try Sri-Lankan food for a long time now. This recipe is just perfect. I am missing a few ingredients, but I’m making this curry as soon as I get them :-). It looks absolutely gorgeous, I can’t wait to see what it tastes like!

  24. Pingback: Better than Bolognese. « Wake Me Up With A Smile.

  25. I made this tonight. Switched out cauliflower for the sweet potatoes to reduce the carbs. It worked well and was wonderful. Thanks for helping me bring this to my table.

  26. Pingback: Cashew Curry Soup | Garden Seeds and Honey Bees

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