Sri Lankan Coconut Chicken Curry with Cashews

2 pounds skinless boneless chicken
thighs, cut in 3-inch chunks
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon grated ginger
2 teaspoons grated garlic
¼ teaspoon cloves
¼ teaspoon fennel seeds
¼ teaspoon cardamom seeds
¼ teaspoon allspice berries
¼ teaspoon cumin seeds
¼ teaspoon coriander seeds
¼ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon cayenne, or more to
3 tablespoons lemon juice
¾ cup raw cashews
¼ cup shredded dried unsweetened
1 pound small parsnips, peeled and
cut in 2-inch batons, optional
2 tablespoons ghee, coconut oil or
vegetable oil
1 ½ cups finely diced onion
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 2-inch piece cinnamon stick
3 cups chicken broth or water
1 cup thick coconut milk
A few sprigs mint and cilantro for
garnish, optional
By David Tanis YIELD 4 to 6 servings TIME About 1 hour
Coconut Chicken Curry With Cashews
Step 1
Season chicken generously with salt and pepper and put it in a mixing
bowl. Add ginger and garlic and massage into meat. In a dry skillet
over medium heat, toast cloves, fennel, cardamom, allspice, cumin and
coriander until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Grind the toasted spices to a
fine powder in an electric spice mill and add to chicken. Add turmeric,
cayenne and lemon juice and mix well. Let marinate at room
temperature for at least 15 minutes, or refrigerate up to 1 hour.
Step 2
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Put cashews on a baking sheet and roast
until lightly browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool.
Spread the shredded coconut on the baking sheet and toast until
lightly browned, about 5 minutes, then let cool. Grind the coconut with
1/4 cup cashews in a spice mill or small food processor to make a
rough powder. Reserve 1/2 cup roasted cashews for garnish.
Step 3
Bring a small saucepan of lightly salted water to a simmer, then add
parsnips and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and cool.
Step 4
In a wide heavy-bottomed pot, heat ghee over medium-high heat. Add
cooked parsnips, if using, and sauté until lightly browned. Remove and
reserve. Add chicken pieces to the pot, stirring occasionally until
lightly browned, about 5 minutes, then remove and set aside. Add
onions and cook until softened, about 5 minutes more. Add tomato
paste and let it sizzle with onions for a minute or two. Add broth and
bring to a brisk simmer, stirring with a wooden spoon and scraping up
any caramelized bits from the pot. Add cinnamon stick, chicken and
the ground coconut and cashew mixture. Adjust heat to a gentle
simmer, cover and cook for about 30 minutes, until chicken is tender.
Taste the sauce and adjust seasoning if necessary.
Step 5
To finish the dish, stir in coconut milk and add reserved parsnips.
Cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until parsnips are heated through and the
sauce has thickened slightly. Transfer to a serving bowl and sprinkle
with reserved cashews. Garnish with mint and cilantro sprigs, if using.

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