I'm not sure what started me on a chicken korma hunt, but once I set my mind on recreating the Indian classic, I spent nearly three days trying to track down the right version. There are hundreds of recipes out there but few look the same.
I stuck to the concept that it must have yogurt and there had to be nuts to thicken the sauce. I eventually came across this recipe from Madhur Jaffrey's memoir, Climbing the Mango Trees. I knew I had to make it immediately.
Why? It was relatively stripped down (I could make it in one hour) but still complex enough to feature whole spices. Sure it features more than 15 ingredients, but many are spices, and all are essential. The cooking method is slightly tedious, and mine didn't come out as picture-perfect as I had hoped, but there is no denying the flavor. It's a mild curry but still redolent with spices, rounded on the tongue, and completely satisfying. Though there's enough sauce to coat each piece of chicken, it was so good I'll probably make extra next time.
- 2 ½-inch piece ginger, peeled and chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, chopped
- 3 tablespoons slivered almonds
- 1 ½ cups plain yogurt
- 1 ½ teaspoons garam masala
- 1 tablespoon coriander powder
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 medium onion, thinly sliced
- one 2-inch stick cinnamon
- 8 whole cardamom pods
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 chicken, cut into eight serving pieces
- 2 tablespoons golden raisins
- 3 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
Place ginger, garlic and ¼ cup of water in blender. Process until smooth. Add almonds, two more tablespoons of water, and process until smooth.
Whisk together yogurt, garam masala, coriander, cayenne, and a pinch of salt in medium-sized bowl.
Pour oil into large dutch oven set over medium heat. Add onions and cook until they are well browned, stirring often, about ten minutes. Remove onions with slotted spoon, trying to leave as much oil in dutch oven as possible. Set onions aside.
Add cardamom, cinnamon, and bay leaves to dutch oven, and stir constantly until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add as many chicken pieces as will fit in one layer, and brown lightly on both sides, about two minutes on each side. Transfer browned chicken pieces to a plate and set aside.
When all chicken pieces are browned, add raisins and blended almond and garlic. Cook, stirring frequently, until it forms a fragrant paste, about one minute. Return chicken and onions to dutch oven, and add yogurt. Stir well, and reduce heat to low. Cover dutch oven and cook until chicken is cooked through and tender, 25 to 30 minutes. Serve with a sprinkling of chopped cilantro.