Chicken meatballs in Nepali-spiced cashew sauce

Chicken meatballs in Nepali-spiced cashew sauce

Chicken meatballs in Nepali-spiced cashew sauce, The Kitchen without Borders. Photography by Penny De Los Santos.

The Kitchen Without Borders

The Kitchen Without Borders is a special kind of cookbook. In it, chefs from around the world—all part of Eat Offbeat, a catering company staffed by immigrants and refugees who have found a new home and new hope through cooking—offer up to 70 authentic, surprising, nourishing recipes. The food has roots that run as deep as its flavours, celebrating the culinary traditions of Syria, Iran, Eritrea, Venezuela, and more.

Discover Iraqi Biryani, a rice dish combining vegetables and plump dried fruits with warming spices. Chari Bari, hand-formed meatballs simmered in Nepali-spiced tomato and cashew sauce. Iranian rice with garbanzos, Sri Lankan curry dhal, and Manchurian cauliflower straight from the Himalayas.

More than a collection of delicious foods from around the world, this inspiring cookbook—with its intimate chef profiles and photographic portraits—offers a glimpse into the journey of displaced people and highlights the profound link between food and home.

*From March 1, 2021, to March 1, 2022, (including any preordered copies that ship during this period), Workman Publishing will donate 2% of the cover price for every copy of The Kitchen without Borders cookbook sold in the United States and its territories, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and European Union member states, to the IRC, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing humanitarian aid, relief and resettlement to refugees and other victims of oppression, conflict, or disaster with a minimum contribution of $25,000 USD. For more information, visit and No portion of the purchase price is tax-deductible. For additional information about the IRC, see

The Kitchen without Borders: Recipes and Stories from Refugee and Immigrant Chefs is available at and  

Chicken meatballs in Nepali-spiced cashew sauce


Chef Rachana•Nepal

Makes about 30 meatballs

Throw out any notion of beef-, pork-, or lamb-based meatballs. This chicken dish, which Rachana makes at home by deep-frying the meatballs, is distinctly Nepali in flavour from all of the spices. The tomato-based sauce is more like a curry than marinara, making it perfect for scooping over rice. Cashew flour for the sauce can be found in the baking section of many grocery stores or online.

For the meatballs:

½ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon onion powder
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1½ teaspoons garam masala
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cardamom
1 pound ground chicken
1 large egg, beaten
½ cup dried bread crumbs

For the sauce:

1 cinnamon stick
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
10 green cardamom pods
2 black cardamom pods
2 tablespoons dried fenugreek leaves(see page xvii)
1 star anise pod
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
2 tablespoons ghee
2 cups chopped yellow onions
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon ground cardamom
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 can (14.5 ounces) whole peeled tomatoes, pureed in a blender
2 tablespoons tomato paste
3 cups chicken stock
1 cup cashew flour
¼ cup cornstarch
Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish
Chopped scallions, for garnish
Pinch of flaky Himalayan salt, for garnish

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  2. Make the meatballs: Combine the salt, black pepper, onion powder, ground cumin, garlic powder, garam masala, ground cinnamon, and ground cardamom in a medium mixing bowl. Add the ground chicken, egg, and bread crumbs and mix together using your hands.
  3. Form the chicken mixture into 1-inch meatballs and place them on the prepared sheet pan. The meatballs can be prepared ahead of time, covered, and refrigerated for up to 2 days.
  4. Place the meatballs in the oven and bake until the internal temperature on an instant-read thermometer inserted into the meat is 165°F, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  5. Make the sauce: Place the cinnamon stick, black pepper, green and black cardamom pods, dried fenugreek, star anise pod, coriander seeds, and cumin seeds in a small pan without oil. Toast the spices over medium-high heat until they’re fragrant but not burned, 1 to 2 minutes. Place the toasted spices in a food processor or spice grinder and process until very fine, 3 to 5 minutes.
  6. Heat the ghee in a 5-quart pot over medium heat. Once the ghee is hot and shimmering, add the chopped onions and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the onion powder, ground cardamom, garam masala, and ground spices from Step 5. Continue to sauté until the spices are fragrant, about 5 minutes more.
  7. Add the tomato puree, tomato paste, chicken stock, and cashew flour. Bring the sauce to a simmer and cook, uncovered and stirring frequently, until reduced by half, about 45 minutes.
  8. Remove sauce from the heat. Whisk together the cornstarch and ½ cup of water in a small bowl, until a smooth slurry is formed. Add the slurry to the sauce and stir to combine. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil for 1 minute. For a smoother sauce, let it cool slightly, carefully puree it in a blender, and strain it, if desired. Return the sauce to the pot
  9. Add the meatballs to the sauce and cook until they’re warm, about 10 minutes. Garnish with cilantro, scallions, and a pinch of flaky Himalayan salt. Serve immediately. The Geography of Salt Believed to be the most natural and beneficial form of sodium, Himalayan pink salt is akin to table salt save for its striking pigment, its unrefined nature, and a few trace minerals. Slabs of Himalayan pink salt can be used for cooking, curing, and serving food. Whether it is heated or chilled, the block infuses dishes (although not dry foods) with a light salty taste.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Workman Publishing.

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