Try this Keralan chicken and cashew curry and serve with our pilau rice or naan bread. Also check out our chicken tikka masala, butter chicken, chicken korma, Sri Lankan chicken curry and more easy chicken curry recipes.

Chicken on the bone gives this curry so much more flavour, so try to use bone-in cuts if you can, but chicken thigh fillets or turkey would also work.

This recipe uses curry leaves, which lend a beautiful nutty flavour. For advice on where to buy this ingredient, read our guide on what are curry leaves.


  • 900g chicken thighs and drumsticks, skin removed
  • 2 heaped tbsp greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2cm piece cinnamon stick
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp (see cook's notes) cardamom powder


  • 75g cashew nuts, soaked in 100ml just-boiled water
  • 4cm piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 green bird's-eye chillies, stalks removed


  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • a handful cashew nuts
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 10-12 fresh curry leaves


  • STEP 1

    Put the chicken in a large bowl with the yogurt, turmeric and pinch of salt. Mix well. Chill for 2 hours, or preferably overnight.

  • STEP 2

    Put all the cashew paste ingredients into a blender, along with the cashew soaking liquid. Blitz to a smooth paste and set aside.

  • STEP 3

    Heat the oil in a large, wide, heavy-bottomed pan over a medium heat, and sizzle the cinnamon stick and cloves for 1 minute. Add the onion and fry, stirring for 10-12 minutes until softened and turning golden brown. Add the chicken and left-over marinade and fry for 8 minutes, turning the chicken to seal as you go. Reduce the heat and season. Add 100ml of water, cover and cook for 25 minutes, stirring halfway through.

  • STEP 4

    Add the cashew paste, remove the lid and simmer for 5-7 minutes, or until the gravy has thickened slightly and just coats the chicken. Add the cardamom powder, cover and turn off the heat. Leave until ready to serve.

  • STEP 5

    Heat the oil in a small frying pan. Fry the cashew nuts for 2-3 minutes or until starting to brown. Scoop into a bowl with a slotted spoon. Set aside. Add the mustard seeds and curry leaves to the pan. As soon as they begin to splutter, pour everything over the chicken, along with the cashew nuts.

Cook's notes

If you don’t have cardamom powder, grind cardamom seeds with a pestle and mortar to a powder to make ½ tsp. Don’t throw away the pods – you can use them to make chai tea, or put them in a pot of sugar to subtly flavour it.

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