Dhania Murgh (Cashew Chicken/Tofu/Paneer curry in a Cilantro Sauce)

This recipe is supposed to be made with chicken, but one can easily substitute paneer or tofu.


2 small red onions

1/4 cup raw cashew nuts

1/4 cup cilantro leaves and stems (firmly packed), and roughly chopped

2 T canola or other vegetable oil

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp garam masala

1/2 tsp cayenne pepper powder

1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into 1-inch cubes OR 1/2 lb paneer or tofu cut into 1-inch cubes (or your preferred size).

Cooking directions

Prepare the onions by coaresly chopping one into about 8 pieces and, for the other, cutting it in half and then thinly slicing it.

In a blender, add 1/2 cup water, the coarsely chopped onion, the cashews, and the cilantro.  Puree into a smooth paste, scrapping down the sides of the blender jar once or twice, as needed.

In a large saute pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the sliced onion.  Cook for 3- 5 minutes, stirring, until the onion is light brown.

Add the puree from the blender. Cook the mixture, stirring now and then, until the liquid has mostly evaporated.  A thin, brown coating will form on the bottom of the pan, and some oil will start to separate from the mixture.

Add 1/2 cup of water and use a spatula to scrape the browned mixture off the bottom of the pan.  

Add the salt, garam masala, and cayenne.  Stir to mix in the spices.

Once the mixture begins to simmer, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.  Once or twice during this time, stir the mixture.

Add the chicken (or paneer or tofu) and cook about 5 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through (or until the paneer or tofu are heated through).


The color of the onions isn't critical; yellow ones will work fine, too.  Also, if you don't have small onions, substitute one very large onion.

Depending on whether you like more sauce or more chewables in your curry, you can vary the amount of chicken/paneer/tofu.  Anywhere from 1/2 to 1 lb should be fine.  Paneer is very rich, so I suggest using a smaller amount of it, around 1/2 lb.

This recipe is a slight adaptation from one in Raghavan Iyer's 660 Curries (New York: Workman Publishing, 2008).

Page last updated: 12/10/08