Cashew Nut Curry


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


    as a side curry

Appears in

Hidden Kitchens of Sri Lanka

Hidden Kitchens of Sri Lanka

By Bree Hutchins

Published 2013

  • About

With emotions still raw from the war, I was a little nervous when I arrived at the 233 Brigade in Vakarai to stay with the Sri Lankan Army. However, like most Sri Lankans, the soldiers were incredibly warm and welcoming and we had a lot of fun cooking this cashew curry in their mess kitchen. It was a unique experience and at times felt quite surreal, but I loved it and would go back in a heartbeat!


  • 500 g (1 lb 2 oz/ cups) raw cashew nuts, soaked in water for 3 hours
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • teaspoons Manike’s thuna paha (or store-bought roasted curry powder)
  • teaspoons unroasted chilli powder*
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus ½ teaspoon extra
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus extra to taste
  • 16 cm ( inch) piece rampe (pandanus) leaf*, cut into 4 cm (1½ inch) pieces
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced
  • 1 red onion*, sliced
  • 500 ml (17 fl oz/2 cups) coconut milk*
  • 250 ml (9 fl oz/1 cup) coconut cream*
  • 3 thin green chillies*, cut in half lengthways
  • 1 sprig curry leaves, leaves picked


Drain the soaked cashews, then place in a wok or heavy-based saucepan with the turmeric, thuna paha, chilli powder, pepper, salt, rampe, garlic and half the sliced onion. Add the coconut milk and stir to combine. Bring to the boil, then cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the cashews are tender.

Stir in the coconut cream, check for seasoning, then add salt to taste. Add the chillies, curry leaves, the rest of the onion and the extra pepper. Simmer for a further 2 minutes, uncovered, then remove from the heat. Serve with a main curry and rice.