A post on findingvegan (which I now can't find!) about using a thick cashew milk instead of yogurt in a cucumber salad left me wondering why I'd never thought to do this before! I first tasted Indian cuisine only 3.5 years before going vegan, so for most of my Indian-food-loving life, raitas have been that one thing on the vegetarian thali plate ya don't eat. And only rarely do I think, I'm missing out because the mellow creaminess of the yogurt really complements some of the other dishes on the table. Most nondairy yogurt weirds me out a bit, but cashews? That is brilliant.
This was stupidly easy and also delicious. Also you could easily tweak the seasonings used for a more western-style set of flavors (dill and parsley instead of turmeric and mustard seeds?).
6 persian cukes, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
1/2 c cashews, soaked and rinsed
3/4 c water plus more as needed
1-2 tsp lemon juice
salt to taste
2 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
cayenne and salt to taste
8 cherry tomatoes, halved (optional)
1. Pour hot water over the cashews to cover and let them soak for at least five hours. If you're in a hurry, you can simmer the heck out of them on the stove to speed things up.
2. Combine the cucumbers, onion, turmeric, and salt in a large bowl. Mix well and set aside.
3. Drain the cashews, then put them in the blender with about 3/4 c water. Adding more water as needed, blend until you have a thick and smooth mixture with a consistency somewhere between pudding and yogurt. Remove from blender and put in a pyrex measuring cup. Add lemon juice and salt until it tastes kind of like yogurt.
4. Over high heat, heat the oil in a small frying pan with the mustard seeds. When the seeds start to splutter, cook only a few seconds more and then remove from the heat.
5. Add oil and mustard seeds to the cashew mixture, then pour the cashew mixture over the vegetables and stir it in. Add pinch turmeric and cayenne and salt to taste. I mixed in some cherry tomatoes at the end as well. Serves about 4.