Chicken Korma

Korma’s been requested over and over again, so here’s my version.  The biggest problem with korma is that it seems every recipe out there is different – there’s no hard and fast rules of what should/should not be in a korma.  The general ingredients are a yoghurt & cream base with some form of nut.  It’s a very mild, but not bland dish, that acts as an excellent ‘gateway’ curry to help someone acquire a taste for Indian food, before moving on to the harder stuff.  This is my version, but with so many different kormas out there, you’re more than welcome to experiment and try different flavours.  I haven’t used coconut.  I’ve never acquired the taste for coconut in my Indian food – however, if you like the coconut taste, then replace the cream with coconut cream.

Ingredients:

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4 x chicken thighs, skinned and cubed (appox 700g)
1 cup of tomato passata – if you don’t have passata, then use 1/2 cup of tomato puree or 2 tbsp of tomato paste
50g Plain yoghurt (I’m trying a local brand with this dish – highly recommended! But may be difficult to source if you don’t live in Christchurch!)
1/4 cup of cream
50g blanched sliced almonds (can be replaced with cashews or coconut)
1 Dried Cayenne chilli (optional)
3 Green cardamoms (shells removed)
3 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 small onions, chopped
2 tbsp grated ginger
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp turmeric

Method:

Start by toasting your almonds over a medium heat in a dry pan.  You want to get them to a golden colour – don’t let them get dark brown, or they’ll go bitter.  Once toasted, set aside.

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Fry your chicken pieces in a little vegetable oil – again, get to a golden colour all around.  Once fried, remove from the pan and set aside.  Try to keep the oil and chicken juices in the pan – this stuff is full of flavour!

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While your chicken is cooking, shell your cardamoms by crushing them with the side of a large knife or with a pestle.  Cardamom shells are very tough and difficult to blend, so keep them out – the little black seeds inside are powerful stuff – you only need a little.

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Lightly fry your onions, garlic, ginger, cardamom and your chilli (if using it) in the left over oil and chicken juices.  Add a little more oil, if needed.  Fry till the onions are translucent. You can see I don’t care too much about finely mincing my onions because I’m going to blend the sauce later.

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When translucent, add in your ground coriander, ground cumin and turmeric.  Add in salt & pepper to taste.  Mix altogether and allow the spices to all combine together with the onion mix.  This is the base flavour of your curry.

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Add in a cup of water

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Add in your cream and toasted almonds and stir.  Don’t let the temperature of the pan get too high, as your cream will start to curdle.

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Pour your mixture into a blender and add in your yoghurt (you may want to remove the chilli, if you’ve used one, as blending it into a gravy will make it very, very hot!).  I prefer to put my yoghurt in at this stage because when I blend it, it will completely combine into the rest of the sauce.  Stirring it through a sauce at a later stage can leave lumps (if you’re using thick yoghurt, like me!).

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Blitz to a smooth gravy.

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Pour your gravy back in to the pan over a warm heat – if it’s too thick, then add in a couple of tablespoons of water to thin it out.  It should coat the back of your spoon.  You can sieve your mixture to give a silkier texture, but I like the texture that the almonds offer.

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Add in your chicken.

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Add in your tomato passata (or paste/puree) and mix.  You can add in your tomato earlier in the piece, but, well, I forgot about it – oops! Some people don’t add in tomato at all – I find that without it you’re left with a pretty bland gravy.  Cover and allow to gently simmer for 10 mins.  Don’t rush this process – if you go too fast your yoghurt and cream will split – not cool.

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Serve it up with a little fresh coriander and basmati.  Enjoy!

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