Sunday, August 27, 2006

Suraya Karjeker: Chicken Shahi Korma

I've always been a bit fascinated by Indian food.  The spices, the thick yogurt, produce I've never seen before.  But it's one of those things that seems easier to just get in your local restaurant than try to attempt at home.  Fortunately, I was able to take a cooking class on Indian food, so I have a small repertoire now that can be made on my stovetop.

Probably my favorite Indian dish is something called shahi korma.  It's basically a meat cooked in a spiced nutty creamy sauce.  There is something to satisfying about it.  It takes a while to cook, but it is well worth it. The shahi korma can also be made with lamb or beef stew meat, but if using beef, it needs twice as long to simmer.

Chicken Shahi Korma
From Suraya Karjeker, cooking class at Central Market

4 cloves garlic
1 inch cubed fresh ginger, peeled
1 ounce blanched, slivered almonds
3 tablespoons water
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cubed
5 cardamom pods
3 whole cloves
1 stick cinnamon
1 small onion, sliced into rings
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin
½ teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
5 fluid ounces whipping cream
¼ tsp garam masala
1 teaspoon saffron threads

Put the garlic, ginger, almonds, and water into a small food processor and blend until the ingredients form a paste. Set aside.

Add some oil to a large skillet and when hot, add chicken cubes. Cooking in batches, brown on all sides and then place in a bowl to rest. Add cardamom, cloves, and cinnamon to remaining oil in pan and stir for about 10 seconds. Then add onions and brown. Turn the heat to medium and add the paste from the food processor. Add the ground coriander, cumin, and chili powder. Stir and cook the mixture for three minutes; add the cooked chicken along with any accumulated juices. Add about a cup of water and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cover and cook for one hour, checking mixture, stirring, and adding water as necessary. When the hour is almost up, don't add any more water and allow mixture to thicken slightly. Pick out the cardamom pods, cloves, and cinnamon stick; discard. Add the salt, cream, garam masala, and saffron. Mix well.

Makes 4 servings

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