Feel so good, I feel so zen

Now that I’ve graduated, I’ve entered the real world, the World of Adults, and the World of Adults’ rite of passage for us, the feeble uninitiated, is the dreaded Job Hunt. Or jobbie hunt, as I tend to think of it. Job hunting is essentially a long process of not hearing back from people and being rejected, filling in the same tedious application forms 20 different times because employers refuse to let you upload your perfectly good CV on which you’ve worked so hard, and biting your nails whilst checking your email for the 7th time in an hour. In short: it’s mildly stressful.

Because I have no time or patience for stress, I’ve taken up yoga. People say it’s so relaxing and zen, so I figured why the hell not. So far I’m really bad at it, but it’s true, it really does feel pretty zen. My teacher speaks to us with a soft but clear voice, and tells us we can stretch a bit further with each exhalation, rather than that we should. She lights little candles before we start and plays tranquil yoga music from CDs with titles like Marhatyamitruyitya Mantra. She offers us herbal tea and vegan flapjacks. She greets us all individually and tells us how pleased she is we’re all there. It’s all really, very zen.

It’s also surprisingly tiring and strenuous, and it requires a lot more muscle power than I imagined. I go to a yoga class just before dinner time, so I’m always ragingly hungry afterwards, but I don’t want to ruin my zen with a heavy meal. So instead I have curry. Heartening and filling, but still very zen and yogic. This week’s curry: kaju masala, or cashew curry.

kaju masala casgew curry

For 2, you will need:

  • a couple of medium onions, chopped
  • about a centimeter of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 3 whole pods or 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 5 cloves or 1 tsp ground cloves
  • about 1,5 cm of a stick of cinnamon, or 1 tsp ground
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1,5 tsp ground coriander
  • 1,5 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground fenugreek
  • 1 dried chilli
  • a handful of raw cashew nuts that you’ve soaked in water for at least an hour
  • some oil (making it vegan) or ghee (making it non-vegan)
  • 3 tomatoes
  • 2 more cups of raw cashew nuts
  • some coconut cream, to taste
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • salt and some sugar, to taste
  • rice to serve
  • some coriander

You will notice I have split the list of ingredients in 2. This is for your convenience. All the ingredients from the first part go in together, then all the things from the second bit go in later. Rice doesn’t go in at all, but on the side, so that one’s separated from the rest completely.


Put some oil or ghee in a pan and gently fry a couple of handfuls of cashew nuts (but not the soaked ones! The other ones, the ones from the second part of the list). When they’re nice golden brown, take them out. Then add a little more oil (or ghee) to the pan if necessary, and chuck in the onion, ginger, garlic, and all the dry spices from the first part of the list. Fry gently until it’s all very soft and fragrant. Then take the whole bunch out of the pot, stick it in a food processor or tall bowl or something for blending, add the soaked cashews, and grind it all up into a smooth paste.

Whilst your spices were in the pan, frying, you had time to purée your tomatoes. If you’ve already done so, well done! Such foresight. If not, do it now. Just stick them in a food processor and whiz them all up. Then stick the cashew paste back in the pot, mix in the puréed tomatoes and the garam masala. Mix well, taste for salt, sugar and any of the other spices. Then add the fried cashews and the coconut cream. Top with some fresh coriander and with white rice. So delicious.

IMG_0752 IMG_0747 kaju masala cashew curry

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