Friday, March 29, 2013

Spicy (Roasted) Cashews & Round-Up of Top 5 (Plus One More!) Favorite Madhur Jaffrey Recipes

Six months cooking along with the recipes of Indian chef Madhur Jaffrey at I Heart Cooking Clubs comes to an end this week as we move on April 1 to our new chef Yotam Ottolenghi. Madhur and I have cooked together in the past and have always gotten along well. She has plenty of vegetarian and vegan recipes to choose from and others can be easily adapted to fit my needs. I know to cut down the butter and oil (considerably sometimes), and her recipes always seem to work out great for me.

I have had this simple little recipe for Spicy Cashews tagged to make since we started and it seemed like a good last recipe to make. Especially since I realized the first Madhur recipe I made for IHCC was for her "My Cream of Tomato Soup." So, now I can truly say that I have truly cooked the recipes of Madhur Jaffrey "from soup to nuts!" ;-) (Sometimes I find myself way too entertaining!)  

These cashews are meant to be deep fried and I am sure they are delectable that way. But my body on lots of oil is not, so I chose to roast them in the oven instead with just a little safflower oil. (My changes are in red below.) Same great flavor--much healthier to munch on. I think these would be even more terrific with some dried tart cherries or cranberries mixed in. 

Jaffrey says, "Cashews that have been freshly fried at home have an exquisite taste--far better that that of the canned or bottled varieties. The spices here are typical of many North Indian snacks--salt, pepper, cayenne, and the wonderfully aromatic roasted cumin."

Spicy (Roasted) Cashews
Madhur Jaffrey's Spice Kitchen
(Serves 4-6)

vegetable oil for deep-frying (I used 1 1/2 Tbsp safflower oil to bake)
300 g (10 oz) raw cashew nuts
1/4 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp roasted ground cumin seeds
(I added about 1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds)

Put a sieve on top of a metal bowl and set it near the stove. Line two plates with paper towels and put them nearby.

Heat about 2.5 cm/1-inch of oil in a deep 20cm/8-inch frying pan over medium heat. When hot, put in all the cashews. Stir-fry them until they turn reddish-gold, This happens fairly fast. Empty the contents of the frying pan onto the sieve to drain the oil. Lift up the sieve and shake out all of the extra oil.  Spread the cashews out on one of the plates and sprinkle the salt, pepper, cayenne and cumin on them. Mix well. Slide the cashews onto the second plate, this will take more of the oil off them. Serve cashews warm or after they have cooled. 

Note: The oil used for frying may be reused.

(For Roasted Spicy Cashews: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking pan with parchment paper. Place raw cashews into a medium bowl and toss with oil. Mix together salt, pepper, cayenne, cumin and cumin seeds if using. Sprinkle this mixture over the oiled cashew nuts and toss to coat. Spread the cashews out in a single layer on the lined baking pan. Place in the oven and cook about 15-20 minutes until a golden reddish-brown, stirring once or twice as they bake. Let cool on the baking sheet. Serve warm and store any leftovers in an airtight container.)

Notes/Results: Pretty addicting--especially when warm. These nuts are more savory than spicy even with plenty of black pepper, so if you really want spicy, up the cayenne. I have a cumin fetish so adding the extra flavor and texture of the seeds to the ground cumin worked well for me. Easy, no mess from the hot oil, and fun to much on, I will make these again. 


The cashews, still warm from the oven, are the perfect snack to munch on and contemplate my Top 5 Favorite Madhur Jaffrey recipes from the past six months of cooking along with her at IHCC. Madhur and I made a great team--I really liked every recipe I made, but these five (in no particular order) plus an honorable mention are the ones I still think about, crave even, and are worthy of a shout out. 

I clocked in several Jaffrey soups over the past six months, but my favorite was my vegan version of Mulligatawny Soup. So thick, hearty and full of flavor. This soup may have finally convinced my 81 year-old mom that she does indeed like curry despite living her life thinking she hated it. ;-) Jaffrey's "My Cream of Tomato Soup"--an Indian-spiced variation would come a close second to the Mulligatawny in the soups I made with Madhur. 

Perhaps the prettiest Jaffrey dish I tried were these golden-hued Pears Poached in a Saffron Syrup (Zaafraani Nashpati). So simple and the cardamom flavor really came through. I think they made an elegant presentation on a white and blue setting.  

Speaking of cardamom, it was also highlighted in these homey Cardamon-Cinnamon Apples with Sweetened Yogurt & Pistachios (Sev Ka Murabba). I reduced the butter and  added dried cherries for color. Served with honey-sweetened yogurt and chopped pistachios, these were wonderful comfort food. 

When it comes to comfort food, nothing says love to me like mashed potatoes, and these easy Indian Mashed Potatoes (Mash Aloo) were one of my favorite simple Jaffrey side dishes. I made mine vegan and loved the lemon juice, garam masala and green chile flavors. They elevate your standard bowl of mashed potatoes. 

I am used to a sweet fruity lassi so I was taken with this unique and pretty Pale Green, Spicy, Minty Lassi (Hari Lassi), combining tangy, spicy and minty flavors in one very refreshing drink. Bookmark this one for a hot and humid summer day.

Honorable Mention: Tandori-Style Tofu Kebabs. Yes, this originally shrimp dish that I adapted for tofu was delicious enough to gain an honorable mention. Grilled to be crispy on the outside and creamy within, this tofu had a ton of flavor. If you think you don't like tofu, this is the dish to give it another chance. 

Check out what the other IHCC participants did for their last Jaffrey posts by going to the IHCC site here, and following the links. If you are a fan or have been wanting to cook along with Ottolenghi, please join us next week!

Happy Aloha Friday!


  1. Couscous & ConsciousnessMarch 29, 2013 at 8:41 PM

    Sitting here on a Saturday evening, with a glass of red wine, I wish I had a bowl of these to munch on before I settle down to dinner. I'm definitely going to try these, and I will certainly do them your way rather than fried.

    Love your Madhur faves too, Deb - I'm especially longing for those pears and apples.

  2. Everything you made looks so good!! I really wish I had had time to cook with Jaffrey more!

  3. I love spiced nut recipes and agree with you on the frying bit. I have had "Plenty" sitting on my shelf FOREVER and have not utilized it much. May have to check into this club.

  4. The cashew nuts definitely look addictive! I love cashew nuts as they have their own natural sweetness, and with all the spices, I can just imagine how great these must be! Lovely with a tall glass of cold beer!

    Your vegetarian dishes from MJ, everything looks fabulous. I'm bookmarking the minty lassi!

    Looking forward to our journey with YO!

  5. I love that you started with soup and ended with nuts! Cute! The cashes look mighty tasty.

  6. I love that you included mashed potatoes in your roundup. I know those are a favorite comfort food of yours:) MJ's version does look delicious. I also think those pears look exquisite. I've never made poached pears, but I want to. I think I put it off because it seems too time-consuming (at least in my mind anyway).

    Love the seasoning on those cashews. Like you I would have baked them as well. Cashews are so tasty that they don't really need to be deep fried (although I'm sure they are quite delicious that way).

  7. Hey Debra,

    I hope you do join us for Ottolenghi--IHCC is an easy way to explore a chef's recipes. The weekly themes are fun and you can join in whenever you want/have time.

  8. My daughter made the baked cashews based on the recipe above and I loved them. Today, I am going to make them too!


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