I usually make Thai curry, just because I like it a lot and so does every one else here on Forest Street. I love Indian curry too, but I’ve always filed it away under “some day” because I felt tired merely looking at the list of ingredients and the various pastes and powder that had to be prepared as a pre-requsite to making an actual dish. A couple of weeks ago, there was an article in the food section of our local paper about curry; it included recipes for making Garam Masala at home, as well as a vegetarian, a chicken and a fish curry. I picked the “Quick Chicken Korma” for starters because a) it cleverly made me believe that “quick” was the equivalent of “effortless,” and because b) it was Madhur Jaffrey’s recipe, and if she doesn’t know from curry, who does?
It was not “effortless,” but it was very, very good, made the house smell wonderful, and was scarfed up enthusiastically by fans of all ages. I served it over Basmati rice (which adds to the good smells in the house) and added a dollop of chutney to my own serving. (Chutney, owing to the involvement of fairly slimy blobs of mango, is not popular with the less adventurous of my regular dining companions). Kormas are fairly mild curries originally from Northern India, and the mildness of this version makes it a particularly good choice if you are feeding children, spice-phobics or those who believe that Chop Suey is foreign cuisine.
Quick Chicken Korma
(Adapted from Madhur Jaffrey’s Quick & Easy Indian Cooking)
- 1 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 5-6 cloves garlic peeled and coarsely chopped (I just smashed mine, since they are going into the blender anyway)
- 1 cup plus 3 tablespoons water, divided
- 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3 bay leaves
- 2-inch stick cinnamon
- 8 cardamom pods (I actually used ground cardamom because I had a brand new bottle and the pods are pretty expensive)
- 4 whole cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon whole black or regular cumin seeds
- 1 small onion peeled and finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander seed
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander seeds
- 3 canned plum tomatoes, chopped
- 3 pounds boneless, skinless chicken pieces cut into small chunks
- 1/4 to 1 teaspoon cayenne
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
-In a blender, puree the ginger, garlic and 3 tablespoons water until they form a smooth paste.
-In a large skillet, heat the oil over high heat. When the oil is very hot, add the bay leaves, cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, cloves and whole cumin seeds. Stir, then add the onions. Sautee 3 minutes, or until the onion browns.
-Transfer the paste from the blender to the skillet. Add the ground coriander and ground cumin, then sautee for 1 minute. Add the chopped tomatoes and saute 1 more minute.
-Add the chicken, cayenne, salt and remaining 1 cup of water. Bring to a boil.
-Cover, reduce to medium heat to medium, and cook for 15 minutes, occasionally stirring the chicken pieces.
-Remove the cover, add the cream, and cook on high, stirring occasionally, another 7-8 minutes or until the sauce has thickened. Use a slotted spoon to remove and discard the cardamom pods, bay leaves, cinnamon stick and cloves. (Finding the cloves will prove harder than you might imagine). Serve over rice.