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How to Cook with Cashews

Cashews are the sweet-nutty seeds of Anacardium occidentale, a tropical plant native to warmer climates. Their unique flavor, pleasing crunch, and buttery texture complement various sweet and savory dishes. Whether savored as a snack, or food topping or cooked into creamy sauces, soups and curries, cashews never fail to please your taste buds!

What are Cashews?

Cashew nut, also known as Kaju, is a kidney-shaped seed derived from the cashew tree, native to Brazil. Despite being called nuts, cashews are actually seeds that hang below the cashew apple (fruit of cashew tree). Cashews are enclosed within hard, poisonous shells that need to be removed before they reach the market. 

They’re high in antioxidants, carbohydrates, proteins, and vitamins, making them an excellent superfood. Cashews are now commercially cultivated in many tropical regions around the world. However, the top producers of cashews are Nigeria, Indonesia, India, and Brazil to date.  

Their delicious nutty taste and satisfying crunch are leveraged into cereals, baked goods, chocolates, and simply as a snacking product. Cashew is sold raw, oil-roasted, and dry-roasted to be directly consumed as a snack. It’s also processed to produce dairy alternatives like cashew butter, cashew cheese, cashew cream, and sour cream.

Flavor of Cashews

Image Credit: tookapic from Pixabay

Cashews offer a rich, creamy taste similar to most of the nuts including almonds, pistachios, and peanuts. However, their mild sweetness makes them stand above all other nuts. Roasted cashews give an enhanced buttery-sweet flavor, and thus a popular snack among Americans.

Uses of Cashews 

Cashews can be topped over dishes for uplifting the flavor and adding a pleasing crunch. Try adding a handful of roughly chopped cashew nuts over your breakfast cereals, salads, and wraps. Try our favorite cashew: tropical shrimp salad, curried chicken salad, and shrimp lettuce wrap for a savory yet crunchy cashew punch.

Cashews are widely used in mixed nuts recipes like granola, dates and nuts balls, mixed nuts bread, and muesli. South Asian cuisine uses cashew paste to prepare spicy-savory curries like korma, chicken curry, kaju curry, orange and cashew curry, butter chicken, butternut squash curry, and many more.

Cashews are also added into soups for a creamy boost: carrot cashews soup, parsnip cashew soup, broccoli cashew soup, and creamy chicken mushroom soup are a few to name. Try out our special cream of butternut soup with maple nut crunch topping for a wholesome savory and crunchy flavor.

Besides the savory cashew recipes, a creamy Indian sweet dessert, Kaju barfi, is prepared from cashew paste. Turrón, a popular Southern European nougat, is prepared from cashew nuts, honey, and egg whites. Similar to almond milk, Cashew milk is widely used in Africa as an alternative to cow’s milk. A typical South African dessert, bolo polana is prepared from powdered cashew nuts and potatoes.

Where to find Cashews?

Cashews could be easily found in almost all grocery stores throughout the year. If you’re somehow unable to find them at your local grocery store, you can always order them online.

Feature Image: Michael Bußmann from Pixabay

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