CHICKEN KORMA: THE PRINCELY DISH OF PERSIA
Foreign influences on Indian cuisine are legion.
In the Southern state of Goa, you will see the influence of their former Portuguese overlords in the use of chilli, garlic and vinegar in dishes such as the Vindaloo. While, in the North, you will find many dishes display the influence of the Moghul invasion of the 16th Century.
Most famous of these dishes is, of course, the Chicken Korma, that rich and mild combination of cream, nuts, spices and chicken that has become one of the most ordered dishes from Indian restaurant menus all over the UK.
There are literally hundreds of recipes available, which reflect the changes made as the popularity of the dish spread South throughout India. In the South, you may find it called a Kurma. It will be more spicey and contain coconut and tomato. It may well even be a “Navratan” Korma which uses paneer rather than meat. In the North, however, it is normally made with mutton or chicken and the sauce is the one that will be immediately familiar to restaurant goers everywhere.
In my search for authentic versions of those dishes that have become curry house staples, I have been trying a few different Korma recipes over the years and the one below trumps any that I have tried so far. Give it a go and tell me if you agree.
INGREDIENTS (Serves 4)
6 Chicken Thighs
1 White Onion (sliced)
5 Garlic Cloves (peeled & chopped)
1 Inch Fresh Ginger (peeled & chopped)
3 Green Chillies (1 whole, 2 deseeded and chopped)
1 Cinnamon Stick
3 Green Cardamom
1 Tsp Ground Cumin
1 Tsp Ground Corriander
1 Tsp Ground Turmeric
½ Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Sugar
1 Tsp Chilli Powder
1 Cup Ground Almonds
1 Pint Whipping (Heavy) Cream
¼ Cup Boiling Water
¼ Cup Chopped Coriander Leaf
Vegetable oil for cooking
Skin and bone the chicken thighs and cut the flesh into 1in chunks
Mix the almond flour, cream and boiling water and allow to sit to allow the oils from the nuts to come out. This thickens the final sauce.
Heat three tablespoons of vegetable oil in a saucepan and add the cinnamon stick, cloves, cardamom pods and the whole green chilli. Cook for two or three minutes to flavour the oil.
Add the sliced onion and cook for five minutes on a gentle heat until soft and golden brown.
Add the chopped ginger, chilli and garlic and cook for a further five minutes.
Add the ground spices and cook for a further five minutes. Add a little water if it begins to stick.
Remove the whole spices and the whole chilli and then transfer the remaining to a blender.
Blend to a fine paste.
Heat two more tablespoons of oil and return the paste to the same pan.
Add the chicken and stir over a gentle heat until the chicken is fully cooked.
Add the cream/almond mixture and stir well with the chicken.
Cook for five to ten minutes until it the sauce begins to thicken.
Spoon on to a serving dish and sprinkle with the juice of one lime.
Top with a handful of coriander leaves and serve with more limes, some white rice and your favourite Indian bread.