This vegan creamy cashew curry sauce works wonderfully with all kinds of foods from chicken breasts and firm tofu to peas and lentils. It freezes well and quickly jazzes up weeknight dinners.
Drain the cashews. Set aside.
Heat 1 tbsp oil in 2qt pan over a medium high flame. When hot add cinnamon stick, cardamom pods and cloves. Let sizzle until cloves swell up, about 1 minute. Add the diced shallots. Cook stirring until the shallots start to get golden about 2 minutes. Add diced tomatoes and drained cashews. Cook until the tomatoes soften. Add 1/2 cup water. Cover. Lower heat to medium. Simmer 10 minutes.
Remove the whole spices, reserving the cinnamon stick. Blend remaining contents of the pan until smooth. Set aside.
Prepare the tempering spices: In a clean pan heat the remaining oil over a medium high flame. Add the bay leaf, cardamom pods and reserved cinnamon stick. Let sizzle 1 minute. Add grated ginger and garlic and cook stirring until the garlic smells cooked and nutty, about 1 minute. Take care not to let it burn.
Add the ground spices, salt and sugar and stir to mix. Fry for a few seconds. Quickly add the tomato cashew purée to the pan and cook stirring until well mixed and heated through. Add a 1/2-1 cup water if it seems thick. Lower the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer 10 minutes. It is ready to use.
For a curry with peas: Bring sauce to a low simmer. Add frozen peas to the sauce straight from the freezer. Do not defrost. Cook 2-3 minutes. Serve with steamed basmati rice.
And if you’re not vegan for an even richer tasting sauce, use ghee instead of oil. You can also stir in light cream instead of water in step 5,. That said I find the cashews plenty rich enough.
Also in step 4, for even more heat, add a couple of whole dried red chilies to the tempering spices. Remove before serving or freezing.
Serving Size 1/2 cup