This Indian-inspired cashew sauce smells and tastes delicious! Featuring a mix of warm Indian spices, cashews, and cream or coconut milk, this is a versatile sauce. Pair it with crispy roasted cauliflower as a side – super delicious with the optional toasted coconut topping, or sauce up a Buddha Bowl of brown rice and warm root veggies or chicken.
You can make this cashew sauce vegan, with coconut milk or vegetarian, using cream. The rest of the ingredients are identical for both versions: onion, fresh ginger, garlic, garam masala, coriander, cardamom, cinnamon, and cashews.
About Garam Masala
An Indian-derived word, masala means spices or mixture of spices. Garam means hot, so the literal translation of garam masala is “hot spices” — however, it’s not hot in the sense of burn your tongue, but warming to the body. There also isn’t one definitive recipe for garam masala; there may be as many recipes as there are cooks, but for this recipe, we used a store-bought mix that consisted cumin, black pepper, black mustard seed, fenugreek, dill seeds, and coriander.
Choosing Cream or Coconut Milk
If you’re vegan, you’ll want to use coconut milk. If you’re vegetarian, you can use either cream or coconut milk – the choice is up to you. The coconut milk is going to impart a richer, more coconut flavour to the Cashew Sauce, but either way it’s going to be good.
We used roasted unsalted cashews. If you have raw cashews, you can toast them in the oven for about 10 minutes or so before adding to the sauce. If you have salted cashews, omit the salt from the recipe, adding it as needed after blending the sauce.
The overall process of this recipe is pretty straightforward: fry the onions until golden, add the fresh ginger, garlic, and powdered spices and fry until the flavours are mingled together, and then add the cream or coconut cream and cashews and simmer. The final stage is just blending it all together.
Step by Step in Pictures
This process is very similar to making our Indian-Spiced Spinach (Saag) recipe, where you fry the onions, ginger, garlic and spices for a relatively long time to get a nice deep flavour. Although it does take about 40 minutes total for all the stages, the result is certainly worth it! These two recipes also work really well together if you feel like making an Indian feast. You can make both of them ahead and reheat later, too.
Indian-Inspired Cashew Sauce is delicious over crispy roasted cauliflower, topped with the optional Toasted Coconut Topping. (Apparently we were channeling Pollock today.)
This recipe can be made vegan or vegetarian. If you’re an omnivore, the sauce is delicious over chicken. If you’re dining in a mixed group of vegans and omnivores, make the sauce using coconut milk.
Other Recipe Ideas?
If you like the sound of something warm and flavourful, you might also like:
- Spicy Tomato Peanut Bowls (vegan or chicken)
- 15-Minute Thai Chickpea Curry (vegan or pork)
- Tom Kha Soup (vegan or chicken)
- Roasted Veggies with Curry Cream Sauce (vegan, vegetarian, or pork)
- Indian-Spiced Spinach (Saag) – vegan or vegetarian
Indian-Inspired Cashew Sauce: Printable Recipe Card
Indian-Inspired Cashew Sauce
tastes delicious! Featuring a mix of warm Indian spices, cashews, and cream or
coconut milk, this sauce pairs beautifully with roasted cauliflower or chicken.
Also awesome drizzled over a Buddha Bowl with roasted veggies and brown rice.
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1.5 cups onion, diced
- 1/3 cup ginger, diced
- 3 cloves garlic
- 2 tablespoons garam masala
- 1 teaspoon cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1.5 cups cream or coconut milk (We used 12% milk fat cream for the vegetarian version)
- 2/3 cup roasted cashews, unsalted
Toasted Coconut Topping
- .5 cup coconut flakes
- 1/4 cup dates, chopped
- 1/3 cup roasted cashews, chopped
- 1 pinch cardamom
- 1 pinch pepper
- 1 cup roasted cauliflower, per person (See instructions in Recipe Notes)
- 1 cup roasted chicken, per person
- In a large heavy pan, heat the oil and then add the diced onions. Fry over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until ovens are medium brown, about 15 minutes.
- Add the ginger, garlic, spices, and water. Turn the heat down to low and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.
- Add the cream or coconut milk and cashews. Turn the heat up a bit until on a low simmer, and simmer, stirring occasionally for another 15 minutes.
- Transfer mixture to blender and blend until creamy.
Optional Toasted Coconut Topping
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Spread the coconut on a baking sheet and bake for about 6 minutes, until browning.
- Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl.
For a Thinner Saucehis makes a thick sauce. You can thin the sauce out with your milk of choice. We used cashew milk for our vegan version, and 2% for our non-vegan version.
Storage and ReheatingYou can make this ahead and store in the fridge for 2-3 days in a well-sealed container. Reheat over low heat, adding milk if necessary to thin out.
Nutritional InformationNutritional information is an estimate only, based on using cream, and not including the Toasted Coconut Topping.
To Make Roasted CauliflowerPreheat the oven to 350F. Chop 1 head of cauliflower (about 4 cups), into 2 inch pieces. Put cauliflower on baking sheet and drizzle with a tablespoon or two of olive oil. Roast for about 15 minutes and then stir cauliflower around on the pan. Roast for another 15 minutes until the cauliflower is becoming golden and caramelized. Smaller pieces may become darker – they will still taste good!
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