Indian Cooking with Cashew Nuts (Kaju): Things to Know

Cashew nuts are collected from cashew trees. This nut is the seed of the cashew apple, a fruit. Cashew nuts offer several health benefits.

The kidney-shaped beans are mildly sweet. Both raw and roasted cashew nuts are favorites for nut crazies.

Cashew nuts are used for garnishing in many desserts whereas Kaju paste (cashew paste) is extensively used in many Indian curries to create a rich, creamy and luscious texture.

Cashew nuts have a high starch content and so it works well as a thickening and creamy agent in curries and soups.

Ground cashew nuts are used for garnishing in the pudding, kheer, and confectionery. In Goa, toasted cashew nuts are used in rice dishes and even many curry delicacies.

What is Cashew Nut (Kaju Badam)?

Indian Cooking with Cashew Nuts

Cashew nut or Kaju badam is a popular edible nut that is commonly used in cooking, baking, and snacking.

It is the seed of the cashew tree (Anacardium occidentale), which is native to Brazil but is now grown in many tropical regions of the world, including India, Vietnam, and Nigeria.

Cashews have a unique kidney or crescent shape with a light brown color and a smooth surface. They have a rich, creamy flavor and a firm, crunchy texture.

Uses of Cashew in Indian Cuisines

Rich, creamy, and silky-smooth gravy can make you feel drooling. Whether it is Kaju mutter masala, butter chicken, or reshmi paneer, the rich and luxurious look comes from the Mahagathbandhan of curd and cashew paste.

Many Indian cuisines, from tantalizing butter paneer to delicious Kaju katli, are blessed with the buttery texture of cashew nuts.

From savory to sweet dishes, cashew nuts claim pride of place in Indian cuisines.

Veg Curries

Shahi makhani paneer – the name drops a hint about the royal extravaganza, which cashew nuts are a part of.

The widely popular delicacy has cottage cheese flavored with the aromatic riots of spices and served in creamy gravy.

When paired with butter nann or laccha paratha, the dish feels like a royal treat for paneer lovers.

Cashew curry is a little-known curry. The easy-to-make delicacy has makhana cooked in cashew-based gravy. Try it if you are a big cashew fan.

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Kaju mutter masala is a famous North Indian sabzi. Green peas bond with fried cashew nuts in flavourful tomato gravy seasoned with special Punjabi garam masala to offer a treat for your taste buds, especially when paired with chapatis or paratha.

Kaju kothimbir Vadi is a fair of flavors celebrated in the Maharashtra kitchens. Serve these with a cup of coffee or chai at your evening adda!

Kaju and Kerala? An interesting bond it sounds. Bitter gourd, influenced by delicately sweet cashew nuts, will lose its bitterness, leaving you awed by its tasty transformation.

Capsicum pieces simmered in flavorsome cashew gravy are best to relish with rice or Indian flatbreads. The creamy, rich, and delicious dish gets further richness from a combo of poppy seeds and coconut.

Craving a decadent dinner? Cashew biryani is loaded with the goodness of vegetables, cottage cheese, cashew nuts, and minty flavor.

The mildly flavourful biryani with nutty crunches is a palate-tempting delicacy for your weekend dinner or a family get-together.

Love to enjoy some tempting tropical flavors? Kaju kismis curry with a lovely fare of raisins and cashew nuts will make you greedy to the point of insanity.

I’m not complaining; the savory and tart taste will leave anyone gobsmacked for good reasons.

Khoya Kaju is a savory dish to be teamed with any type of Indian flatbread. The classic dish has been an absolute delight for centuries.

Cashew nuts with humble spices will leave you salivating like a child. Believe me, I won’t mind!

Non-Veg Curries

Butter chicken brings to your platter an epicurean dance of flavors at its finest best.

Chicken chunks flavored with an assortment of spices and cooked in tomato gravy thickened by cashew paste taste like nothing else in this world. Lacha paratha is the best choice for the duet with butter chicken.

Desserts

The sweet, crunchy bites of cashew nuts make them an automatic pick for several Indian desserts.

Think about payesh or kheer. An appetizing garnishing with dry fruits is enough to make you drool over it.

Kaju kopra sheera is an elevation of flavor with the romance of coconut-cashew pair. It’s good for your kids’ tiffin and your snack romance too.

Cashew chikki is a variation of peanut chikki. No extra bite for guessing that cashew nuts replace peanuts in this all-time favorite chikki.

This chikki is a timely and tasty treat to pacify your hunger pangs.

Cashew nuts make any dessert interesting with their crunchy twists.

Carrot and cashew payasam are made with soaked cashews and grated carrots slow-cooked in milk. Cardamom powder lends it a dash of Indian flavor.

Have you ever tried cashew puri? If not, I bet you will go gaga over it. Just a handful of ingredients – cashew nuts, almonds, milk, butter, saffron, and cardamom powder – and voila!

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Kaju barfi or Kaju katli is the most famous traditional Indian dessert made with cashew nuts.

It takes just 15 minutes to make this diamond-shaped mithai but the taste lingers forever.

Cashew is a beloved nut with an enriched nutritional profile. You can toss it in your desserts or use it as a paste to prepare mouth-watering savory dishes and even Kaju barfi. Enjoy the crunch; it will be a blessing for your health.

How Does Cashew Nut Taste?

Cashew nuts have a creamy and buttery taste, with a slightly sweet flavor. The texture is also smooth and crunchy at the same time.

Roasting or toasting the cashews can enhance their flavor and bring out a nutty taste, while adding salt can provide a savory note.

Overall, cashews are known for their mild and versatile taste, which makes them a popular ingredient in both sweet and savory dishes.

Can Cashews Be Used for Cooking?

Cashew nuts are considered a versatile ingredient that has a naturally creamy texture perfect to make curries, fried, desserts, ice cream, dairy-free ice cream, and even cheese.

It is used for rich and high-protein rich dishes to make them more delectable.

What Happens If You Boil Raw Cashews?

Boiling cashew nuts can make them soft and remove some of the natural bitterness.

However, it is not recommended to boil raw cashew nuts as they contain a toxic substance called urushiol, which can cause skin rashes and other allergic reactions.

The cashews that we usually consume have been roasted or steamed to remove this toxic compound.

Boiling them for a prolonged period may leach out some of the nutrients and flavor from the nuts.

Therefore, it is generally not a common practice to boil cashew nuts, especially raw ones.

How Do You Cook Raw Cashews?

Raw cashews can be cooked in various ways. Here’s one way to cook raw cashews:

  • Soak the cashews in water for at least 4 hours or overnight.
  • Drain the water and rinse the cashews.
  • Heat a pan over medium-high heat.
  • Add the cashews to the pan and toast them for a few minutes until they turn golden brown. Stir them occasionally to prevent burning.
  • You can add a pinch of salt or any other seasoning of your choice while toasting for extra flavor.
  • Once toasted, remove from heat and let them cool before using in your recipe or storing them in an airtight container.

You can also roast raw cashews in the oven. Here’s how:

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
  • Spread the cashews in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  • Roast for 10-12 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they turn golden brown.
  • Remove from the oven and let them cool before using or storing.
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Both of these methods will help enhance the nutty flavor of raw cashews.

What is the Best Way to Eat Cashews?

Cashews can be enjoyed in various ways, and the best way to eat them depends on personal preference. Here are some popular ways to eat cashews:

Raw: Raw cashews can be eaten as a snack or added to salads, smoothies, or oatmeal.

Roasted: Roasted cashews are a popular snack that can be eaten on their own or added to trail mix. They can be seasoned with salt or spices for added flavor.

Cashew butter: Cashew butter is a great alternative to peanut butter and can be spread on toast, used in sandwiches, or added to smoothies.

Cashew milk: Cashew milk is a dairy-free alternative to cow’s milk and can be used in smoothies, coffee, or baking recipes.

Cashew cheese: Cashew cheese is a dairy-free alternative to cheese and can be used in vegan recipes or as a dip.

Cashew chicken: Cashews are a common ingredient in many Asian dishes, including cashew chicken. This savory dish is a great way to enjoy cashews as part of a meal.

Overall, cashews are a versatile and nutritious food that can be enjoyed in many ways.

Questions & Answers:

How Long Does It Take to Cook Cashews?

Cashews are cooked within 10 to 12 mins, whether you are roasting it or tossing it with salt and ghee.

Can You Boil Cashews Instead of Soaking them?

Yes, of course, you can boil the cashews instead of soaking them. It simply saves time if you are trying to make a fine paste of it.

What is Cashew Called in Different Languages?

Cashew (cashew nut) is known as Kaju in Bengali and Hindi.

Conclusion

Cashew nuts offer several health benefits and are a popular edible nut used in cooking, baking, and snacking.

Cashew paste is extensively used in many Indian curries to create a rich, creamy, and luscious texture.

From savory to sweet dishes, cashew nuts claim pride of place in Indian cuisines and are used in several veg and non-veg curries, as well as desserts such as payesh, kaju kopra sheera, and kaju barfi.

The high starch content of cashew nuts works well as a thickening and creamy agent in curries and soups.

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