Who doesn’t like a man who can cook?
One of the best things about Richard is that he not only enjoys cooking, but is quite good at it too! Since I am a baker by trade, he told me that he won’t bother trying to get really good at baking/breads/etc. – that’s my thing. But he does want to have something that he’s better at than me, something that our future kids will request (“dad’s —-“).
To that end, he has decided he will work on being the best at Asian cuisine. Right now, he’s focusing on Indian curries, and bought the cookbook Rick Stein’s India. You should have seen how excited he was when it arrived! It’s a really great cookbook, full of truly authentic dishes. The best part is that it’s not like recipes you find online, where you’re using store bought pastes or spice mixes – this book has you grinding cardamom pods, making your own coconut cream, etc.
So far, we’ve made three recipes from the book, and are excited to try more! (The masala chai tea is quite delicious!)
Now, for those unfamiliar with it, chicken korma is one of the mildest curries out there, with just that hint of warmth from the small amount of chili spice. It’s mostly a creamy coconut dish with aromatic spices, rather than the kind that make your eyes water.
Perfect for you, mom!
Richard thought it would be a good idea to start mild, and work our way up, as he’s better with spice than I am. I mean, I like spicy food, but since he lived in Nepal and Singapore for years, he has acquired a better tolerance than me. (All his traveling has also meant that he is very adventurous with his food choices, which is another great thing about him!)
To go with this curry, I decided to try the naan recipe from his cookbook. If Richard was going to become the king of curries, then I should learn how to make some mean naan bread to go with it, no? It’s a pretty straight forward recipe, and in my opinion, turned out quite well! I’ll figure out a few variations for it, including a really strong garlic naan, before posting it here. Richard also mentioned he once had naan with coconut in the middle which sounded interesting, but perhaps too much coconut to go with the korma?
Anyways, enough rambling… to the recipe!
- 1.5 kg boneless, skinless chicken thighs cut into pieces
- 125 g fresh coconut flesh, chopped or grated
- 50 g blanched almonds
- 5 tsp white poppy seeds (we used black)
- 2 medium onions, roughly chopped
- 50 g ghee or vegetable oil
- 6 cloves
- 6 green cardamon pods, lightly crushed
- 3 cm piece of cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2-3/4 tsp kashmiri chili powder (we used regular chili powder)
- 200 ml water (or coconut water)
- 125 ml plain greek yogurt (mixed with another 125 ml water)
- 3 black cardamom pods, seeds only, finely ground
- To make the coconut paste, blend the coconut, almonds, and poppy seeds in a food processor until a paste. Add hot water as needed to give it a silky consistency.
- Blend the onions in the food processor until they become a paste, adding a splash of water if required.
- Heat the oil (or ghee) in a deep sided pan or pot, over medium heat, and add the cloves, green cardamom pods, and cinnamon stick, - fry for 30 seconds.
- Stir in the onion paste and salt, and fry for 10 minutes, until any liquid has evaporated, and the onions are translucent (but not browned).
- Stir in the chili powder, then add the chicken to the pan, and fry until the chicken is opaque.
- Add the water and coconut paste, bring to a simmer, and cook for another 10 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat, and stir in the yogurt mixture. Return to a gentle heat, and bring to a simmer.
- Cook uncovered for 30 minutes, adding a little water if needed, to prevent sticking, until the chicken is cooked through.
- Stir in the black cardamom (if using) and serve with basmati rice or naan.
As we are still building up our pantry of indian curry spices, we didn't have the kashmiri chilli, white poppy seeds, or black cardamom. We substituted the regular chili powder, and black poppy seeds, but simply omitted the black cardamom. I can only imagine how much better this will taste with all three of those in it.
Also, the original recipe called for raisins, but as I detest fruit in meat dishes, we didn't add them.