There is lots of licky-sticky goodness crammed into this curry sauce. Think of it as a powerful cream, perfect for homemade paneer (find the recipe in the link below). So let’s talk nuts. Fattening or not? In theory, yes. Nuts have rich stores of beneficial fat. In practice, no. Nuts are not ‘fattening’ unless you shovel huge amounts into your diet. Nuts are naturally very filling, so they are difficult to overconsume. Cashew nuts are full of helpful monounsaturated fats. Much of the research on these fats demonstrates their efficacy in reducing the risk for heart disease, and in some cases, similar to subjects on statin drugs. Given that heart disease is Ireland’s number-one killer, we’d probably do well to add more unsalted and unprocessed nuts to our diet. I love the idea of fighting disease with our fork. If health is our wealth, let’s eat ourselves rich!
Simple curry sauce
You will need:
100g unsalted cashew nuts
2 tablespoons butter or coconut oil
2 onions, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
2 teaspoons garam masala
1 x 400g tin tomatoes
1 tablespoon maple syrup
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Paneer (enough for 4), cubed
1. Soak the cashews in cold water overnight, or for a minimum of 5 hours. Drain them, discarding the soak liquid.
2. In a large heavy-based pot, sauté the chopped onion in the butter or coconut oil, whichever you’re using, over a gentle flame until soft and sticky — about 12 minutes. Add the chopped garlic, the ground cumin, the sweet paprika and the garam masala and whack up the heat. Stir for 1 minute. Any longer, and the garlic will start to blacken and taste bitter.
3. Add the drained cashews, the tinned tomatoes (passata is fine too), the maple syrup and the lime juice. Putter for five minutes, then blitz into a smooth sauce using a NutriBullet or blender, watching out for hot splashes. Season generously.
4. Return the sauce to the pot and add the cubed paneer (you could also use cooked baby potatoes or halloumi or firm tofu). Add up to 100ml water if you’d like to loosen up the sauce. Heat until piping hot, before plating up with bowls of rice and poppadoms. I like to store this sauce in individual portions in the freezer, ready for those chaotic weeks when it’s tricky to find time to cook nourishing family meals. To defrost, take out a day in advance and allow to defrost in the fridge. Heat to a bubbling boil, and plate up your favourite way.