Weeknights are hard, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up on flavor just to get dinner on the table fast. This chicken recipe uses the power of cashews to make an ultra-creamy sauce so silky and luscious you won’t believe there is no actual dairy cream in it. Simply soak raw cashews in hot water until they soften, blend with aromatics, and you have a flavorful sauce ready in no time at all. Here chunks of chicken are marinated in a ginger-garlic paste before getting a quick sauté. Feel free to substitute the chicken with a meaty fish, or paneer or tofu to make it vegetarian.

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4 servings

cup raw cashews


garlic cloves, divided


2″ piece ginger, peeled, halved, divided

lb. skinless, boneless chicken thighs, excess fat trimmed, cut into 2″ pieces


tsp. Diamond Crystal or 1 tsp. Morton kosher salt, divided


small jalapeño, halved


Tbsp. fresh lime juice


tsp. cumin seeds


tsp. ground turmeric


Tbsp. vegetable oil

Steamed rice, cilantro sprigs, and lime wedges (for serving)


  1. Step 1

    Place ⅔ cup raw cashews in a small bowl and pour in hot water to cover. Let sit until softened (you should be able to crush a nut easily between 2 fingers), 15–20 minutes.

    Step 2

    Meanwhile, finely grate 2 garlic cloves and half of one 2″ piece ginger, peeled, into a medium bowl. Add 1½ lb. skinless, boneless chicken thighs, excess fat trimmed, cut into 2″ pieces, and 1 tsp. Diamond Crystal or ½ tsp. Morton kosher salt and toss to combine. Let chicken sit while you make the sauce.

    Step 3

    Drain cashews and transfer to a blender. Coarsely chop remaining 1″ piece ginger, peeled. Add ginger, 1 small jalapeño, halved, 2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice, 1 tsp. cumin seeds, ½ tsp. ground turmeric, remaining 3 garlic cloves, remaining 1 tsp. Diamond Crystal or ½ tsp. Morton kosher salt, and 1½ cups water to blender and blend until smooth. Set cashew sauce aside.

    Step 4

    Heat 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Cook chicken, tossing occasionally, until cooked through, about 3 minutes. Add reserved cashew sauce and cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce is slightly thickened, about 3 minutes.

    Step 5

    Divide steamed rice among shallow bowls and spoon cashew chicken over; top with cilantro sprigs. Serve with lime wedges for squeezing over.

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