Sunday, January 17, 2010

Chicken Korma and Garlic Naan

I was first introduced to Indian food by my brother and sister-in-law Derek and Becca. They told us that they had found this awesome restaurant that was run out of a gas station by USU. I was skeptical to say the least. But they got us take-out one night and we tried it. I have been hooked ever since. Just the smell of Indian food makes my mouth water. I love the smell, the fact that they put golden raisins and cashews in stuff, and the naan! Oh man!
So I have tried several times to reproduce my favorite dish: chicken korma. This recipe is a compilation of 3 different recipes and I think it is very close to what I get in that little gas station restaurant. Becca, this post is dedicated to you, my friend. Thanks for helping me branch out!
One more thing: this recipe calls for a lot of random spices that I don't have laying around my kitchen. As we all know spices are expensive. You buy the expensive spice and you are left with a whole container that you only use 2-3 times a year. And spices don't last forever, right? Well I found the perfect solution: The bulk spice section at Smith's Marketplace. It is the coolest thing! You just measure out the amount of whatever spice you need and take it home in a little baggie. Cheap, no waste, I love it! Try it out. They had everything I was looking for in this recipe.

Chicken Korma

fresh ginger- 1 2-inch piece
5 cloves garlic
1/4 c. water
1 1/2 tsp garam masala (picture below)
1 can coconut milk (found in the Asian food section)
1 Tbs. coriander powder
1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (this was HOT. I would probably add less next time. Shawn thought it was perfect).
1/2 tsp. salt
3 bay leaves
7 cardamom pods (picture below)
1 cinnamon stick
2 whole cloves
1/4 tsp. cumin seeds (picture below)
2 onions- peeled and diced
1/2 c. cilantro- chopped, plus more for garnish
2-3 pounds chicken breast- diced (tip: only partially thaw your chicken and dice it frozen. It makes it much easier to work with.)
1 c. golden raisins
1 1/2 c. plain yogurt
1 c. cashews
Jasmine rice (picture below)

Garam masala is a combination of ground spices that are often used in Indian cooking.

Cumin seeds

Cardamom pods. Very aromatic. Remember to remove before serving.

Jasmine rice. This rice is aromatic and delicious. I think is tastes quite different from Basmati rice, which we eat more often. We love both kinds!

So are you totally overwhelmed just reading the ingredients list? Don't be! It is totally worth it. I listed the ingredients in the order that you combine them together. Hopefully that was helpful. OK, here we go.
1. Peel ginger and garlic. Combine ginger and garlic with water and process in a food processor until smooth. I don't have a food processor so I minced the garlic, zested the ginger and combined them all. This seemed to work just fine. Set this mixture aside.
2. Combine coconut milk, garam masala, coriander powder, cayenne pepper, and salt. Set aside.
3. In a large skillet, heat 2-3 Tbs. olive oil. When hot, add bay leaves, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, cloves, cumin seeds, onion, and cilantro. Saute until onions are soft and transparent. Remove cardamom pods and cloves.
4. Add diced chicken to this mixture and saute until chicken is brown.
5. To chicken, add garlic/ginger paste and golden raisins. Combine and saute 1-2 minutes.
6. Now add the coconut milk mixture to the pan. Turn heat to medium and cook 20 minutes.
7. Add yogurt and cashews to chicken. Cook 7-8 minutes. Remove bay leaves and cinnamon stick.
8. Serve hot over jasmine rice. Garnish with cilantro.
So, so yummy!

Garlic Naan

This is a traditional Indian bread. Naan is cooked in a tandoor, or cylindrical clay oven. The bread is cooked by throwing it onto the side of the oven. Since I don't have a tandoor I cooked my bread on a cooling rack placed on a cookie sheet. I put it under the broiler for 2-3 minutes, turned it and cooked the other side. This seemed to work pretty well.

1 Tbs. yeast
1 c. warm water
1/4 c. sugar
3 Tbs. milk (some other recipes said you could use yogurt instead of milk. It might be interesting to try).
1 egg, beaten
2 tsp salt
4 1/2 c. flour, approximately
4 cloves minced garlic, divided in half
1/4 c. butter, melted

In a large bowl (I used my Kitchen Aid), dissolve sugar and yeast in warm water. Let stand about 10 mintues or until yeast raises. Refer to this post for more direction. Add milk, egg, salt, 2 cloves of minced garlic, and enough flour to make a soft dough. Knead 6-8 minutes or until smooth. Place dough in a greased bowl and let raise until double.
2. Punch down dough and divide into 8-10 balls. Working with one dough ball at a time, using a rolling pin or your hands, roll dough into a oval shape until it is about 1/2 inch thick. Place on greased cooling rack. Combine melted butter and 2 cloves minced garlic.Brush dough with this mixture. Repeat with other dough balls.
3.Place under oven broiler 2-3 minutes, watching carefully. My rack was in the very middle of my oven. When bread is brown and bubbly, turn and broil other side.
4. Remove from oven and serve immediately with chicken korma and rice.

Here is the order I suggest doing everything in to make sure it is all hot at ready to serve at the same time.

1. Make naan dough. Let raise 1 hour.
2. While naan is raising begin cooking the korma.
3. When you reach the end of step 6 with the korma, punch down the naan dough and roll it out. Get it all ready to put in to oven but don't put it in yet. Also start rice at this point. I love my rice cooker for this. I can start it and walk away.
4. Do step 7 for korma. While it finishes cooking, bake the naan.
5. Make your husband set the table. You are busy.
6. Now everything is done and hot! Eat and enjoy. Breath spicy korma/garlic breath on your husband, then eat some more.

Please forgive me for the super-long post. I hope you are not put off from trying this dish by the length of it. It does take a while to make this meal, but none of it is complicated. I would allow yourself a good hour to cook this dinner. Please let me know if you try it. I would love to know what you think!


Anderson said...

Holy. Crap. I am so excited about this post! :) I thought you must have gotten the pics off a website somewhere... they're so freakin' professional looking! I'm impressed- with the cooking as well as the photography. And I'm salivating. Thanks a lot. :)

Anderson said...

PS. Thanks for the Smith's Marketplace tip. Garam Masala is something I've wanted to buy before but have been scared to. Committing to a few tablespoons is a lot less intimidating. Very cool. Thanks again!

The Stones said...

my mouth is watering! You are a professional, girl!! Beautiful.