Chicken Cardamom Masala With Cashews 4.000

Mette Randem for The Washington Post

Jun 11, 2008

This recipe is based on a dish served at Preethi Restaurant in Thripunithura, in the southern Indian state of Kerala. This dish tastes just as good -- or better -- the day after. One reason is that the cooked meat will absorb some of the surrounding liquid as it cools, in a kind of after-cooking marinating.

Serve with rice.

Servings: 4
  • 2/3 cup plain full-fat yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons garam masala (Indian spice blend)
  • 6 to 10 cardamom pods, lightly bruised
  • 1 1-inch piece cinnamon stick, crushed
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder, or more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped ginger root
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 (3- to 4-pound) skin-on chicken, cut into 8 pieces (may substitute 4 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs, each cut in half
  • Canola oil, for frying
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 4 medium onion, chopped (about 5 cups)
  • 3 to 5 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons unsalted, roasted cashews (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons tomato paste or ketchup
  • 1 small head cauliflower, broken into small florets (4 to 5 cups)
  • 2 to 3 medium carrots, trimmed, peeled and cut crosswise into thin slices
  • Finely chopped cilantro or flat-leaf parsley, for garnish


Combine the yogurt, garam masala, cardamom, cinnamon stick, chili powder, ginger and salt in a large bowl. Add the chicken, turning to coat. Cover and marinate at room temperature for up to 2 hours, or refrigerate for as long as 12 hours (overnight).

When ready to cook, place a large plate close to the stove. Add enough oil to cover the bottom of a large, wide pot and heat over high heat. Scrape off as much of the yogurt marinade from the chicken as possible, reserving the marinade. Use paper towels to pat the chicken dry, then sprinkle the pieces with the turmeric. Working in 2 batches to keep from crowding the pot, place half of the pieces in the hot oil and cook, turning occasionally, for 10 minutes or until the skin is nicely browned; the chicken will not be cooked through. Add oil as needed. Transfer the chicken to the plate as you work.

When all the chicken has been browned, reduce the heat to medium and add the onions and garlic; cook for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they start to soften. Return all the chicken to the pot, along with the reserved marinade, cashews and tomato paste or ketchup; stir to mix well. Cover and cook for 25 minutes, then add the cauliflower and carrots, stirring to combine. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes, until the vegetables are cooked through and the carrots have given the sauce a nice sweetness. Discard the cinnamon stick and cardamom pods, if desired, before serving.

Garnish with cilantro or parsley and serve hot.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from "Where Flavor Was Born," by Andreas Viestad (Chronicle, 2007).

Tested by Frances Stead Sellers.

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