Spicy Cashew Nut, Pumpkin and Ginger Chicken

, from Issue #109. May, 2023
Photography by Josh Griggs.
Spicy Cashew Nut, Pumpkin and Ginger Chicken

Chicken and pumpkin are perfect partners with this rich and fragrant roasted cashew nut and coconut sauce.

Serves: 4


Spice Paste
½ cup roasted cashew nuts
1 cup coconut cream
2 tablespoons sambal olek
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons roughly chopped fresh ginger
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
¾ cup water

4 whole chicken legs (thigh and drumstick) 
2 teaspoons each ground cumin and ginger
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large brown onion cut into 8 wedges through the root
4 long red chillies
1-kilogram crown pumpkin cut into 1cm thick slices (I leave the skin on)
sea salt and ground pepper

To Serve
¼ cup desiccated coconut, toasted
½ cup roasted, salted cashew nuts, roughly chopped

Large, lipped baking tray or ovenproof baking dish that will hold everything in a single layer (my tray is 42cm x 32cm x 3cm deep).


Preheat the oven to 180°C regular bake.

Spice Paste: Place all the ingredients, except the water, in a food processor and blitz until well chopped but not totally smooth. Add the water and pulse to combine. 

Chicken: Season the chicken with salt. Combine the spices in a bowl then sprinkle all over the chicken so it is well coated.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium-low heat and brown the chicken on both sides. Take your time doing this so the spices don’t catch and burn in the pan. Place on the baking tray along with the onion, chillies and pumpkin and season the veges with salt and pepper.

Add the spice paste to the pan and cook for 5 minutes, stirring often until fragrant.

Season with salt then pour over the chicken and vegetables.

Cook for about 45 minutes or until the chicken is fully cooked.

To Serve: Combine the coconut and cashews and sprinkle over the top, serving the rest separately. 

Cook's Note: Serve with hot cooked basmati rice, crispy fried potatoes, warm flatbreads or naan bread. Green beans, broccoli or cauliflower are a great vegetable accompaniment.