Sunday, December 1, 2013

Chicken Korma

(Update 11/21/14: I've remade the recipe finally got some pictures done!)

Hello fellow foodies! My camera has decided to retire from the photo industry and has set itself up in the retirement community of our kitchen drawer. In the meanwhile, I have no fresh pictures to share of my food conquests (at least until Santa gets here)...

I thought  I would take a walk down memory lane a revisit some of  my favorite dishes from previous years. It will  force me to write down recipes that have until now managed to escape from being set in truly measured and quantified terms my blog! Muahahahaha.

So, Chicken Korma. If you know Indian food, you know that the korma  is an amazing, mild, flavorful sauce that is the perfect balance of sweet and spice-filled. This particular recipe is made with a paste of almonds, chilis, and many aromatic spices--it is also  tomato-free (many Indian curries are tomato-based). We serve it either with some naan (that you can occasionally find in your grocery store) or  even store-bought pita bread that you heat up  right before eating to make it soft. Or, of course, you always have the option of  trying to  make your own naan....even though it is rather difficult to achieve the soft-yet-crispy texture that the Indian oven (called a tandoor) can produce in your own kitchen. This recipe is probably going to give you the closest thing to real naan bread flavor.

And now, without further ado--the korma recipe. 

Chicken Korma:

1 lb. chicken breasts, chopped in 1-2 inch pieces
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp garlic paste, or if you can't find this at the store, 2 macerated or finely chopped cloves
2-3 tbsp butter or ghee (available at Indian markets)
1 medium size onion, chopped finely
1/4 tsp turmeric (haldi) powder
 3 tbsp sliced almonds
 8 oz. plain 1% fat or higher Greek yogurt
 1/2  jalapeno pepper or anaheim chili (or whole, depending on how spicy you want it)
4 cardamom pods (or 1/2 tsp.  ground cardamom)
3 whole cloves
2 medium sized cinnamon sticks
1 bay leaf
1 tsp garam masala
 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
1 tbsp sliced almonds
Salt to taste

Marinate the chicken pieces with lemon juice, pinch of salt, black pepper and garlic paste. Rub the mixture thoroughly to the pieces and set it aside for half an hour.

In a heavy bottom pan, heat the butter/ghee and when it is medium hot add the chopped onions and turmeric.Fry till the onions are light golden and then take them out and scrape them into a food processor or  blender. Leave the oil and brown  bits in the pan behind for further use.

Next, add the yogurt, 3 tbsp almonds, and hot peppers to the food processor and blend until very smooth. Pour this mixture on the marinated chicken pieces.

Now reheat the pan to medium heat, add in a splash more butter if the pan is dry, and then add the cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon, and bay leaf. Stir them for approximately 1 minute and let them sizzle until they are fragrant. 

Add the marinated chicken along with all of the marinade and yogurt paste. Let the chicken cook on medium while stirring occasionally till it boils. This should take about 15-20 minutes.

Then cover the pan with a lid and let it simmer on low heat until the chicken is cooked through.

Finally add the garam masala and chopped cilantro. Give it a taste and add salt as needed ( I needed about another 1/2 teaspoon). Garnish with more almonds.

Serve with basmati rice and naan bread. Enjoy.

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