Cooking Tidbits: Ginger and Cashew Chicken Curry

In my good ole town Carnation, they had these classes.  Something along the lines of “Back to Basics” or “Learn from the old, create the new”- I can’t remember the name, but the idea was that people in the community would share their forgotten art skills in a series of weekly classes.  Some of the classes: Cooking, bread-making, canning, herbs, gardening, curing meat, making cheese, etc.  AND included in the evening, I could hardly believe it:  Dinner and free babysitting!  All this only cost $5.  I love when people put this kind of stuff together. I love you people!!!!!

I now know how to make yogurt- it’s easy really.  But that’s not my tidbit I’m sharing today.  A very good friend and I went to the canning class- a decent class, a little too basic, but worth it all for this one tidbit:  The extraordinary canning woman was showing us how to put up rhubarb compote (for granola and atop ice-cream….duh…) she pulled out some fresh ginger root and began peeling it with a …….. get ready, cause here is the tidbit…… a spoon!  That’s right- a spoon!  My friend and I were instantly at 100% attention:

Us:  “What are you doing?!”

Her:  “Oh- you’ve never peeled ginger with a spoon?  It’s a nifty little trick- works perrrrfect.”

And it does. The spoon just eats if off, like magic. I used to use a peeler, but that was so cantankerous, trying to get around all the knobs without slicing my fingers.  A spoon is all kind curves- I’ll never use anything else.  It is really fun.  I could do it all day.  And the fresh smell of ginger goes straight to the brain- it enlightens the brain, that is.

You’ve got to try it!  Here’s a recipe to get your spoon on:

Chicken Curry with Cashews

**This dish is yummiest made in the morning and eaten later that evening- flavors taste best after having a chance to mellow and round.

1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
2 medium onions, finely chopped (2 cups)
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger (peeled with a spoon- schizam!)
3 tablespoons curry powder (add extra if you love curry)
2 teaspoons salt (sea salt of course)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
1 (3 1/2- to 4-pound) chicken, cut into 10 serving pieces (or use any chicken you have, just remember bones add a deeper flavor)
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes

1 can coconut milk (or 1 cup cream)

3 T. sugar
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3/4 cup cashews (1/4 pound)
3/4 cup plain whole-milk yogurt

Optional throw-ins: cardamom, cinnamon, California golden raisins, lime juice (I dunno, like 2 tablespoons or so?), diced potatoes and cauliflower

Heat butter in a wide heavy pot over moderately low heat until foam subsides, then cook onions, garlic, and ginger, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add curry powder, salt, cumin, and cayenne and cook, stirring, 2 minutes. Add chicken and cook, stirring to coat, 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, including juice, coconut milk (or cream), sugar and cilantro and bring to a simmer, then cover and simmer gently, stirring occasionally, until chicken is cooked through, about 40 minutes.

Just before serving:   Pulse cashews in a food processor or electric coffee/spice grinder until very finely ground, (OR, you can just chop them up a little- which is what I like to do) then add to curry along with yogurt and simmer gently, uncovered, stirring, until sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes.

Serve with cooked basmati or jasmine rice, and chopped fresh cilantro.  Delicious!

Note:  Curry, without yogurt and cashews, can be made 5 days ahead and cooled completely, uncovered, then chilled, covered. Reheat over low heat before stirring in yogurt and ground cashews.




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2 Responses to Cooking Tidbits: Ginger and Cashew Chicken Curry

  1. jenna says:

    Hey Lyn, was just catching up from having missed a few weeks. I love the spoon tid bit. I never would have come up with that on my own. Getting around those knobs usually means shaving off most the good ginger so I’m glad to have a little time-saver. I’ll be trying out this recipe next time we’ve got company. Sounds yummae!

  2. Jaclyn says:

    Mmmmm… there is nothing like the smell of fresh ginger! And I love how it clings to your hands all day. I’m definetly going to try this recipe when I’m cooking again!

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