I was lucky enough to travel to this beautiful and exotic country for the first time last year; however, I’d fallen in love with the food long before, when my good friend introduced me to the cuisine while at medical school. One of the first dishes I tried was this gorgeous cashew curry. Rich in flavour, this bowl of goodness pairs beautifully with simple brown rice but also tastes fantastic on its own. Cashews are a great source of resistant starch that releases sugar into the bloodstream much more slowly than potatoes or other starchy foods, and helps boost our community of gut microbes.
Sri Lankan Cashew Curry
2 tbsp coconut oil
15g root ginger, peeled and grated
5 garlic cloves, grated or finely chopped
1 bay leaf
1 shallot, finely diced
8-10 curry leaves (optional)
5cm piece of lemongrass (tender base only), thinly sliced (optional)
3 tsp curry powder (Sri Lankan or regular)
260g unsalted cashews, soaked in water for 20 minutes, then drained
400g tin coconut milk
100ml hot water
400g tin chickpeas, drained and rinsed
100g sweetcorn kernels (frozen, fresh or tinned)
50g baby spinach
10g fresh coriander, finely chopped
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Melt the coconut oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat, then add the ginger, garlic, bay leaf, shallot, curry leaves and lemongrass (if using) and sauté for 2-3 minutes until softened and lightly coloured.
Add the curry powder and drained cashews, along with a pinch each of salt and pepper, and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes. Add the coconut milk, hot water and chickpeas, bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 20 minutes.
Add the sweetcorn and spinach, re-cover and cook for a further 2-3 minutes to gently cook the greens. Remove from the heat, stir through the coriander and serve.
+ Try peas instead of sweetcorn.
+ Green radish leaves, chard or other leafy greens work well instead of spinach
Extracted from The Doctor’s Kitchen: Eat to Beat Illness by Dr Rupy Aujla (Thorsons, approx €20). Photography by Faith Mason.
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