Indian food is not only an important cultural cuisine with ancient roots, it is a beloved category of food around the world. The rich spices and textures in Indian food make it a popular choice for takeout on every continent. But if you love Indian food, you may want to make it at home as well. Not only is this more cost-effective, but you can also make healthy alternatives to takeout at home. Indian food already makes use of healthy ingredients, but many people choose to incorporate cashews or cashew powder as a way to add nutrients or replace other ingredients. Some Indian recipes even call for the nut already. Below are some of our favorite ways to use cashews in Indian dishes.
- Cashews are often eaten on their own as a snack. Some people like the pure, buttery taste of cashew nuts just as they are, but it’s common to roast them and add flavorings to cashews. By simply tossing roasted cashews in some masala, an Indian spice blend that contains a range of aromatic flavors.
- Punjabi recipes like gravies or subzis often contain cashews in their original form. Cashew powder can be added to masala, or whole cashews can be ground as a part of creating the masala, to form a smooth paste. This paste is used as a form of a roux, adding thickness and consistency to the gravy. When heavy or spicy flavors are being used, the creamy nature of the cashew powder may also add balance.
- Many rice preparations also include cashews as a way of varying the texture and adding a slight crunch to rice dishes like Biryanis and Pulaos. The South Indian delicacy, Bisi Bele Bhaat, also contains cashews in many traditional preparations.
- Kebabs and tikkas, both preparations of small pieces of meat, often make use of cashew powder as a breading for the meat. Afghani paneer, for example, calls for cashew powder to be mixed with poppy seeds and garam masala as a marinade. The meat can also be deep-friend within this mixture for more crunch.
- Kaju Katli, a famous Indian sweet, is made from milk, ghee (clarified butter), raw cashews, and sugar. Just these four ingredients are needed, as they are then thickened and turned into diamond-shaped treats. These can also be used to make kaju rolls and a range of other sweets.
- Many Indian desserts, like sheeras and Basundi, make use of dry fruits. Cashews can be added whole or chopped to these fruits to create a richness and texture.
- For many Indian snacks, the batter can often contain cashews. Kanchipuram idli is commonly eaten in South India and contains cashews, and Gujjias are a sweet and deep-fried treat stuffed with cashews.
- Vegan cuisine is popular in India and many of these dishes use cashew powder or cashews. When ground enough, the oil in cashews can allow them to become a paste or cashew butter, which can be used as a spread. Cashew milk can also be used to add a creamy texture to dishes like curries.
- Maida is a white flour from India, made from wheat like most traditional flours. It is often used for baking and to thicken other dishes. Cashew powder can be used as an alternative to maida in the same way it is used as flour in other cuisines. Soups and stews are common places cashew powder may be substituted.
- Fried snacks are popular in India, and Chivda is a popular snack mix, similar to a trail mix. Cashews can be fried and added to a Chivda to add additional flavor and texture profiles.
- Just like other cuisines, Indian cooks enjoy a cookie or cake as a confectionary treat. Cashews can be used as a topping or mixed-in treat, or cashew powder can be used for the baking process.
- Almonds on their own have always been a popular dessert in India, or they may be dipped in chocolate and honey for added sweetness. Cashews are now commonly used in similar recipes.
Many other cuisines also use cashew powder as an ingredient. If you are interested in cooking Indian food or anything else using high-quality cashew powder, Beyond the Nuts offers pre-ground cashew flour that is ethically sourced and free of any preservatives, making it the perfect base for your next recipe.