This delicious Cashew Butter Chicken is as good as it gets. By using cashews instead of cream, this recipe is as rich and creamy as any restaurant-style butter chicken, but it’s so much healthier for you. It’s easy to make and a naturally dairy-free + paleo + Whole30 compliant recipe that EVERYONE will love.
- 1 1/2 cups raw cashews (see notes)
- 2 tablespoons oil, divided
- 1 lb. chicken thighs or breasts
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 5 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1 – 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped
- 1 – 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar or coconut sugar (omit for Whole30)
- Sea salt, to taste
- 1 tablespoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- ¼ to 1 teaspoon chili powder
- Seeds from 4 cardamom pods
- Place the cashews and 1 1/2 cups of water into your blender or food processor and blend on high until completely smooth. Pour into a bowl and set it aside. Don’t clean your blender yet – you’ll need it again.
- Heat half the oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and brown on both sides, about 10 minutes total. You don’t need to cook the chicken all the way. Chop the chicken into bite-sized pieces.
- While the chicken is browning, start cooking the curry. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion to the pan and cook until it is soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and ginger and let it cook for 5 minutes more. Add all the spices to a small bowl while the onions are cooking.
- Add the spices to the onions and let them cook for a minute, stirring the whole time. Pour the tomatoes into the pan and scrape the bottom of the pan. Carefully transfer to your blender and blend on high until smooth.
- Pour the curry back into the pan, add the cashew cream, the chopped chicken, 1/2 cup of water, and (if using) the brown sugar. Bring the curry to a boil then reduce the heat to low, cover the pot, and let it cook for 10 minutes. Season to taste with sea salt.
Cashew pieces are less expensive than whole cashews and work well in this recipe. If you don’t have a high-powered blender, I recommend soaking the cashews in water for a few hours. Rinse the cashews and discard the water before you blend them.
Feel free to use coriander and cumin seeds instead of ground if that’s what you have on hand. Curry powder can be used instead of garam masala, although I personally prefer the taste of garam masala.
For paleo and Whole30 diets, serve with cauliflower rice.