Chickpeas, Spice Ease and Five C’s

Chicken Chickpea Curry with Cashew Butter and Coconut Milk

Curry is one of my favorite takeout meals, especially Thai Red Curry and Panang Curry, but it’s something I rarely make from scratch. However my mother had some leftover cashew butter that she didn’t know what to do with so a five C curry it was— Chicken, Chickpea, Cashew Butter and Coconut Milk Curry!

Actually there are another two C’s if you count the cardamom and coriander seeds. I figured I would try my hand at making curry paste this time so I picked up some whole spices at the Asian grocery.

It was fun, although it would have been far easier if I had a mortal and pestle to grind the toasted spices. I suppose I managed well enough with a plastic ziplock bag and a glass.

With marinated chicken thighs and plenty of spices, this curry is super flavorful. Plus as a one pot wonder, it’s quite easy to make!


If you’re not in the mood to serve it over rice, try it with naan, grilled squash, cauliflower rice, roasted eggplant or mashed potatoes.

Is it weird I enjoy curry over mashed potatoes?

I wouldn’t go so far to say I prefer it to rice but there’s something about the way the potatoes soak up the curry sauce. Creamy potatoes with a kick from the curry, you gotta admit it’s a pretty satisfying combination, no?

If curry with mashed potatoes isn’t your thing, don’t worry. You can eat this Chicken Chickpea Curry straight from the pot— I won’t judge!


Dumpling Border






Recipe Type: Curry

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Serves 8

This curry is nutty, creamy and super easy to make. Plus with the fiber-filled, protein-packed and folate-rich chickpeas, all you need is some brown rice for a deliciously healthy meal.

Curry Ingredients

2 15.5 oz. cans chickpeas, rinsed
1 13.5 oz. can lite coconut milk
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup cashew butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1/2 tablespoon ginger paste
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/4 teaspoon cardamom seeds
1/4 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/8 teaspoon cloves
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
Optional: 1/4 cup unsalted cashews, chopped

Marinade Ingredients

2lbs skinless chicken thighs
1/2 tablespoon ginger paste
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon turmeric
3 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 stalks lemongrass, chopped

Marinade Instructions

  1. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper then massage with a mixture of ginger paste, minced garlic and turmeric.
  2. Add lemon juice, olive oil and lemongrass in a large plastic bag.
  3. Add the chicken and turn to coat.
  4. Refrigerate overnight or for at least four hours.

Curry Instructions

  1. In a dry saucepan, toast whole spices over medium heat for about 2 minutes until fragrant.
  2. Grind the toasted spices and add the ground spices (i.e. if you’re using ground cloves instead of whole.)
  3. Remove the chicken from the fridge and rub it with half of the spice mixture.
  4. In the same saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat.
  5. Add onion, garlic, green pepper and jalapeño. Stirring frequently, cook until golden brown.
  6. Add the other half of the spice mixture and ginger paste. Cook for 30 seconds or so, being careful not to burn the spices then add the cashew butter and tomato paste.
  7. After another 30 seconds, add the marinated chicken (sans chopped lemongrass) and give the thighs a quick sear.
  8. Add the chicken broth and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 20 to 25 minutes until the chicken is tender.
  9. Turn the heat to low, remove the chicken and add the chickpeas.
  10. Shred the chicken with two forks and return it to the pot, along with coconut milk.
  11. Stir and add the bay leaf. Cook over medium-low heat for another 10 to 15 minutes.
  12. Remove the bay leaf and add the optional chopped cashews or use as a garnish. Serve while hot or enjoy reheated as leftovers.

Pairs Well With

Rice                Fried-Plantains                 cornbread                 Green-Salad


* If you’re short on time, you can use ground spices instead of grinding them yourself.

* To me, this curry is very mild. I wanted to ensure the nuttiness of the cashew butter came through but the spice level is adjustable. You can remove the stems of the jalapeño for an even milder dish or add more jalapeños for a kick.

* I like adding stalks of lemongrass in decent size pieces to the curry along with the bay leaf. However it is a little more work to fish them out.

* For extra credit, use all whole spices instead of ground. Make a little extra spice blend and store for a rainy day.

* To recreate the dish photographed above, top individual bowls of Chicken Chickpea Curry with chopped cashews.


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