After spending so much time around Indian friends and getting to eat the incredible food they make, I decided I needed to learn some of the basics of making curry. For the most part it’s very simple, but it all starts with gathering the right ingredients. I used to rely solely on coconut milk – occasionally heavy cream – for a rich creamy curry, but this Creamy Tofu & Cashew Curry has taught me that using cashew cream as base yields an incredibly smooth sauce. The flavors are mild and well balanced, as opposed to the usual bolder flavors found in most curries.
An interesting thing about cooking different cuisines is that it’s a fun exercise in learning about new ingredients and cultures. You also get the chance to explore new neighborhoods when hunting down ingredients. Whenever I get the chance to explore Asian shops I’m always amazed by the sheer number of exotic ingredients I’ve never seen before. It ignites my innate sense of curiosity and I want to try everything.
I once heard that a good curry should be like a spot-on salad: one flavor should never dominate the others. Most of the ingredients included in this recipe are part of the korma paste, that we are making from scratch, but feel free to adapt the ingredients to what’s available to you, and adjust the ratios according to taste. You should always use your intuition when cooking. Instead of stressing out over exact quantities, you can customize the spices ratio and make any necessary ingredient swaps.
Although I chose not to add any vegetables to this curry, feel free to add any kind you please. If you like having a bit of a crunch, perhaps adding ingredients such as sugar snap peas, cauliflower, or even chickpeas would be great. The baked tofu does offers a crunch bite, that’s why I like baking it separately and adding to the curry right before serving so that it keeps that crispy exterior.
To make the korma paste it’s best to add all ingredients to a blender and whizz until a paste forms. Alternatively, you can just skip that step and add everything straight to the pan along with some olive oil. Toss until spices are fragrant to draw out their flavors, and then add the liquids. I do this whenever I feel like speeding up the process and it doesn’t really alter the final product.
You might need to soak the cashews in hot water for about 20 minutes before blending. But I’ve learned that you can also skip that step by adding hot water to the blender. That has always worked for me, but keep that in mind, in case it might turn out to be necessary. Soft cashews are essential for a really creamy sauce.
One last thing about this curry is that if you’re on a high protein diet, it’s a great way to add plant-based protein to your daily intake. The cashews also provide an extra dose of healthy fats, so a great meal to keep in your dinner rotation.
Creamy Tofu & Cashew Curry
For korma paste:
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1 tsp ginger, grated
- 2 tsp garam masala
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp chili powder
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 small red onion, finely chopped
- 15 oz extra firm tofu
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 can coconut milk
- 1/3 cup water
- 1/2 cup cashews
- 1/2 cup hot water
- 1 lemon
- cilantro, to garnish
For the curry:
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Prepare the tofu: line a baking sheet with parchment. Drain the tofu and gently squeeze out some of the water with paper towels. Cut tofu into cubes.
- Transfer the tofu to a medium bowl and drizzle with the olive oil and season with salt. Toss to combine.
- Arrange tofu onto prepared baking sheet in an even layer. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, tossing the tofu halfway, until deeply golden.
- Meanwhile, prepare the korma paste: add all ingredients to a blender and blend until a paste forms. Alternatively, skip this step and go straight to step 6.
- Heat olive oil in medium pot over medium high heat. Add onion, garlic, and ginger. Saute, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft, about 2 minutes. Add all remaining korma paste ingredients and cook until fragrant, stirring to combine, about 1 minute.
- Add the coconut milk and 1/3 cup water. Bring to a gentle boil and reduce to a simmer.
- Prepare the cashew cream: add the cashews and hot water to a blender. Blend until creamy.
- Add cashew cream to curry and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, until sauce has thickened. Taste and adjust seasoning.
- Add the tofu and juice of 1 lemon.
- Top with fresh cilantro and serve.
If you make this Creamy Tofu & Cashew Curry please be sure to leave a comment! I’d love to hear from you and I love responding to every comment. And don’t forget to also tag me on Instagram. I’d love to see your photos!