Devilled Cashew Stir-Fry (Kaju Thel Dala)
Sri Lanka’s Best Kept Secret
Cashews – A Luxury Food in Sri Lanka
Sri Lankan cuisine is special in many ways. The use of cashew nuts is very characteristic to Sri Lankan recipes. You can use them as garnish and a bit of cashew adds texture and flavor to many meals. They’re also great to use with rice dishes and sweets from cookies and various kinds of cakes to coconut pudding (wattalapam). For Sri Lankans, cashews are more than just a garnish or snack. We go above and beyond when it comes to finding creative ways to use cashews. Kaju thel dala is one of those recipes that just really typical of Sri Lankan cuisine. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t enjoy snacking on some cashews every once in a while. If you’re one of those people and you love spicy food, you will love this devilled cashew recipe. Devilled food has a long tradition in Sri Lanka. Devilled food means nothing else but food prepared with very hot pepper. Two of Sri Lanka’s most popular devilled dishes are ala thel dala (devilled potato) and isso thel dala (devilled shrimps). Kaju thel dala (කජුතෙල් දාල in Sinhalese) isn’t quite as well-known, as cashews can be quite expensive in Sri Lanka. Arguably, kaju thel dala is one of the tastiest variations of devilled food. Cashews cooked with the right spices are just such a perfect match!
250 g cashew nuts (preferably fresh) 1 large onion 1 branch curry leaves 2 inches pandan leaves (rampe) 1 tbs ground chili pieces 2 small green chilis 3 tbs vegetable oil salt to taste
Note: If you can’t find fresh cashews, just leave them in water for 4-5 hours to soften them up and then boil them for about 25 minutes instead of 15 minutes.
1. Wash the fresh cashews and boil them in water for about 15 minutes until they’re soft.
2. Cut the onion and green chili into small pieces.
3. Fry the onion, pandan leaf and curry leaf for about 5 minutes on medium flame. Add the green chili and fry until light brown.
4. Add the chili pieces, salt and leave it for 1 minute on low flame.
5. Add the cashews and cook on low flame for 3 minutes while stirring occasionally.