Hello , this is Chef John from food wishes dot com with creamy cashew chicken .
That's right .
For thousands of years , we've been pulling on cow's udders to produce cream when we could have just been blending cashews with water , which probably would have been a lot easier .
But anyway , the point is in addition to learning a very fast , easy and delicious chicken curry recipe , I'm also going to show you a very simple and devastatingly effective substitute for heavy cream .
So with that , let's go ahead and get started .
And before we get to our core cream , we have a few things to do including mixing up our spice blend , which is gonna involve some kosher salt , some ground cumin , some ground coriander , some paprika , some cayenne pepper , some turmeric and last but not least some masala , which is a blend of many exotic Indian spices .
And I'll give you a little more detail about that in the blog post .
But anyway , once we have that all together , we'll give it a mix .
And once that's been accomplished , we'll go ahead and set that aside and we will move on to cutting up our chicken .
And today I'll be using boneless skinless chicken thighs .
And if you look at the smoother side of a chicken thigh , you'll notice sort of a little crease .
And on one side of that , the chicken is a little thinner than the other side .
So , what I like to do first is make one cut right about where that is to create one piece and then I'll cut the meat on the other side of that crease in half , since it's a little thicker to create two pieces .
All right .
So that's how I do it .
But bottom line , we're shooting for about two inch chunks .
So go ahead and cut those any way you want .
And no , I'm not going to trim off any of those little pieces of fat you can if you want .
I mean , you are after all the batman of your fat man , but that's gonna add flavor and richness .
So I'm gonna keep it .
And once that's cut up , we'll go ahead and transfer that into a bowl where we will add some oil as well as about half of our spice blend .
And in case you're wondering , we will use the rest in our sauce .
And then all we need to do at this point is give that a thorough mixing and yes , I really should be using my hand here since chicken thighs are well known for their nooks and crannies .
And we want to make sure this is very thoroughly coated , but either way , once we do have that meat seasoned .
We'll go ahead and wrap that and refrigerate that anywhere between four and 12 hours .
So , yes , doing this the night before will work .
And by doing this ahead of time , our meat is going to be beautifully seasoned before we start cooking it , which is definitely an advantage with this kind of thing .
And then what we'll do when we're ready to start cooking is melt some butter over high heat .
And as soon as the foam on the top just starts to turn golden brown , we will quickly add our chicken to the pan and we'll go ahead and move that around until we have a nice uniform , hopefully single layer .
And yes , I am crowding this pan a bit and you could do this in two batches .
But as long as your chicken is nice and dry and you're on high heat and that butter was nice and hot , it should be fine , which reminds me if you're using a frozen chicken , make sure it's very well thawed and drained and dried very , very thoroughly .
Otherwise , you're not gonna get browning , you're gonna get boiling and we don't want boiling .
We want browning .
So we will let our beautifully seasoned meats here for about five minutes .
At which point we'll go ahead and give them a turn and we will give the other side about four or five minutes at which point we're gonna pull that from the heat and transfer it right back into the bowl .
It came from Owen .
If you're worried about cross contamination , you don't understand cross contamination .
Because we're gonna cook this chicken in the sauce .
There is no danger here .
So please relax and then what we'll do is place that exact same pan back on the stove and we'll set that over medium high heat and add a little chunk of butter and then to our dirty but flavorful pan , we'll go ahead and add one cut up onion along with the rest of our spices as well as a little bit of tomato paste , some finely minced or crushed garlic and some very finely minced or grated fresh ginger root .
And what we'll do is cook that stirring over medium high heat for about two or three minutes to sort of take that ride off our onions as well as to wake up our spices and toast that tomato paste a little bit .
And yes , I am wearing my mom jeans today .
Thanks for noticing .
But anyway , like I said , we'll cook that stirring for a few minutes .
At which point we can go ahead and add some chicken broth or chicken stock or if times are tough , you can use water .
And then as soon as that stuff in the pan starts bubbling , we can go ahead and add our reserve chicken in along with , of course , any and all accumulated juices .
All right , I'm sorry .
But if you're throwing away accumulated juices .
We can't be friends .
And then what we'll do once our chicken's been stirred in is go ahead and pour in our cashew cream , which I will show you how to make right now .
And that's simply done by adding some whole roasted cashews to a blender with some cold fresh water .
And we'll go ahead and blend that very well on high speed .
And by the way , you don't have to have the fancy blender to do this , but it does help .
And then once that's blended , we can go ahead and add that to our pan and we will carefully stir everything together and it really is remarkable how close that looks .
And as you're about to see acts like heavy cream .
And what I mean by that is once this comes up to temperature and starts simmering , it thickens up almost exactly like a heavy cream wood .
I mean , the first time I tried this , I was very skeptical , but I ended up being blown away by how well this worked .
And if you're thinking , I like yanking on cows .
Can I use cream for this ?
Yes , you could totally substitute cream here .
But believe it or not , at least for this recipe , I think the cashew cream actually works better .
But anyway , what we're gonna do is go ahead and stir that in and reduce our heat to medium .
And then we're simply gonna simmer this until our chicken's cooked as much as we want and our sauce reduces to our desired texture .
And the great thing about using chicken thighs is that you can eat it as soon as it's cooked through or you can let it simmer until it's almost fallen apart .
So , theoretically , we could let this cook for as little as five or 10 minutes or reduce the heat even further and let it simmer for like 45 minutes .
It really depends on what kind of texture you're going for .
And of course , how hungry you are and how soon you want to eat .
But while you can safely eat this after about five or 10 minutes , I think the texture and flavor is gonna be best if you let it simmer for about 15 or 20 minutes .
Which is exactly what I did and then what we'll do to finish this is stir in a nice big handful of sliced green onion as well as some freshly chopped cilantro .
And as soon as that stirred in , we can turn off our heat and our creamy cashew chicken is pretty much done except of course for the mandatory final taste for seasoning .
All right .
Maybe we need some more salt .
Maybe we want a little more heat .
You decide .
But if we're happy with it , which I was , we'll go ahead and serve that over some steamed rice , making sure we have plenty of that gorgeous sauce .
And by the way , if I had a time machine , I would go back and stop all the great wars but not right away .
All right , the first thing I would do is go back and save some whole cashews to garnish this with .
Those would have looked really nice here .
So if you can try to remember to save a few .
So I ended up garnishing with some cilantro as well as our patented cayenne dusted lime .
And that's it are 100% dairy free except for the butter , creamy cashew chicken is done .
So let me go ahead and squeeze over some fresh lime and go in for a taste starting with some of that beautiful curry cashew cream sauce .
And not only was that tremendously delicious but not once while I was eating , this was I thinking this is good for a cream substitute .
I mean , it's not even gonna cross your mind .
And the reason I think the cashew cream works so well here is because any subtle differences in the taste between real cream and the cashew cream are completely obliterated by all those amazing aromatic spices we used .
And that's not to say cashew cream won't work for a cream substitute in other dishes .
But with something highly seasoned like this , it works especially well .
Oh , by the way , that lime juice was so good with this , it probably wouldn't be a bad idea to squeeze a little bit into the sauce as well .
So I'll probably add a note to that effect in the ingredient list .
And yes , of course , you can use chicken breast for this instead but don't right .
Not as much flavor .
Plus it can dry out a lot faster .
But anyway , that's it what we're calling creamy cashew chicken .
This was very , very loosely based on a famous recipe called butter chicken , which I still need to do .
But this really did feature everything I love about that famous Indian dish .
And while this was amazing on the rice , it's equally awesome with garlic non , which we just showed you how to make in a recent video .
So if you haven't checked that out yet , you definitely should .
But no matter what you serve this honor with , I really do hope you give this a try soon .
So head over to food wishes dot com for all the ingredient amounts and more info as usual and is always enjoy .