Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Madhur Jaffrey's Chicken Korma




You know how prophecies come true. How when I said cook books weigh down on me while food memoirs don't I was actually treading into this little trap set out be me alone. Well so this Madhur Jaffrey book had family recipes towards the end which I initially didn't notice and then chose to ignore. The pace at which I was reading, I had already renewed the book thrice, paid an accumulating fine of $9 and was all ready to return it after the last chapter. But that was not to happen.

I turned the page, read the recipes, well some of them and thought let me try at least a couple before I return this. So I renewed the book again and there went 4 more weeks without me cooking a single thing from that book. Somehow the book & me were never on the same floor together, if I was in the Kitchen, the book was upstairs or in the basement or some place else but never at a hand's reach. Mostly it sat on the bedside table, the recipes beckoning to get cooked, while I paid some more fine.




Finally couple of weekends back there were some friends visiting and I wanted a chicken recipe simple and different. This is when I found Murgh Korma, a chicken dish made of yogurt and almonds tucked away among the few recipes in the book. The chicken korma sounded delicious, olde-worlde delicious, different from the Chicken Korma recipes out there, even different from Madhur Jaffrey's own Chicken Korma on the BBC site. I made it because of the simplicity of the recipe and because of the almonds. The dish turned out to be a reward, a deliciousness worth of 6 months of renting a book, not to mention the fines.

Here I have reproduced exactly the author's version of the Chicken Korma with Almonds in a Yogurt Sauce as in her memoir "Climbing the Mango Trees". She must have changed the recipe later to cater to a more western audience and a faster lifestyle. Try the original, it still is fast enough and the taste is worth it. I have added my own subtle changes in a separate section.


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Chicken Korma


What You Need

Ginger ~ 2&1/2" peeled and chopped

Garlic ~ 4-5 cloves

Almonds ~ 3 tbsp of blanched & slivered almonds

Yogurt ~ 1&1/2 cup

Garam Masala Powder ~ 1&1/2 tsp (Use your own or make one according to the author as posted here)

Corriander powder ~ 1 tbsp

Cayenne pepper ~ 1-1/2 tsp to taste

Onions ~ 2 medium

Cinnamon ~ 2" stick

Cardamom ~ 8 whole pods

Bay Leaves ~ 2

Chicken ~ 3&1/4 lb

Golden raisins ~ 2 tbsp

Cilantro ~ 3 tbsp finely chopped

How Madhur Jaffrey Did It

Put ginger, garlic and 1/4 cup of water in a blender. Blend until you have a smooth paste. add the almonds, 2 tbsp of water and blend till you get a smooth paste

Put Yogurt in a bowl. Whisk until smooth. Add the garam masala, corriander pwd, cayenne & salt. Stir well to mix

Heat Oil in a large saute pan

Put in the sliced onions and fry for 10-12 mins till reddish brown. Remove the onions with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel

Now to the oil add the cardamom, cinnamon and bay leaves

A minute later add the chicken pieces, only as many as possible in a single layer. Brown the chicken pieces lightly on both sides, removing to a bowl when done. Do this for all chocken pieces.

Add the golden raisins. Add the paste from the blender. Stir and fry for 2 minutes

Now put in the chicken, the yogurt and the fried onions. Stir to mix and bring to simmer on medium heat. Cover and cook for 25-30 mins at low heat until chicken is tender. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve

How I Did It

Put ginger, garlic and 1/4 cup of water in a blender. Blend until you have a smooth paste. add the almonds, 2 tbsp of water and blend till you get a smooth paste. I went a little low on the ginger, I had almost 5lb of chicken and still the same amount of ginger. Garlic & Almonds I doubled because I had more chicken.

Put Yogurt in a bowl. Whisk until smooth. Add the garam masala, corriander pwd, cayenne & salt. Stir well to mix. I added both Kashmiri Mirch and Red Chili Powder.

I marinated the chicken with little ginger paste, garlic paste, lime juice, salt and a pinch of turmeric powder for an hour or two

Heat Oil in a large saute pan

Put in the a quarter of the sliced onions and fry for 10-12 mins till soft and pinkish brown. Remove the onions with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel

Now add the chicken pieces, only as many as possible in a single layer. Brown the chicken pieces lightly on both sides, removing to a bowl when done. Do this for all chicken pieces.

Now to the oil add the cardamom, cinnamon and bay leaves

Add the rest of the chopped onions and fry till the onions are a pinkish brown

Add the golden raisins. Add the paste from the blender. Stir and fry for 2 minutes or till oil separates from the masala.

Lower the heat and add the yogurt.
Stir to mix and bring to simmer on low heat. Adjust for seasonings. I add a little sugar at this point. Now put in the chicken. Stir to mix and bring to simmer on medium heat. Add water if you need more gravy. Cover and cook for 25-30 mins at low heat until chicken is tender.

Adjust for salt and seasonings. Garnish with the fried onions. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve

To Make Punjabi Garam Masala used in Madhur Jaffrey's recipe:

Put in a spice grinder
1 tbsp of cardamom seeds
1 tsp of whole black peppercorns
1 tsp of whole black cumin seeds
1 tsp of cloves
1/3 of a nutmeg
2" stick of cinnamon

Grind finely and store in an air tight jar. This makes about 3 tbsp of Garam Masala

Kashmiri Mirch on Foodista




Trivia: Korma has its roots in the Mughlai cuisine of modern-day India. It is a characteristic Persian-Indian dish which can be traced back to the 16th century and to the Mughal incursions into present-day Northern India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Classically, a korma is defined as a dish where meat or vegetables are braised with water, stock, yoghurt or cream.

42 comments:

  1. Tasty chicken I bet. I am sure you meant garlic and chicken (typo Sandeepa) and not Gaelic :)

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  2. Sure I gonna try this one and let u know sure. I love almond and this one looks tasty enough!
    Did u keep so long? I bring recipe books with loads of delicious pic, I just keep turning and rarely give out a try!

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  3. mmmmmm tasty!
    all those fines were worth it :)))))

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  4. SOunds delish, San. Hey, can you shoot me an email at mysoorean at gmail dot com? Can't find your email in my mailbox!

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  5. I have a Madhur Jaffery's cookbook too and hardly cook from it.You chicken korma looks so delicious that I have to start scavanging through it again.

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  6. I am sure i'd be sailing in the same boat of i ever had a cookbook! I don't know why, but i haven't yet gotten a cookbook. How is the memoirs part of the book?

    I am sure this dish would have tasted great, because almonds add such lovely texture and creaminess!

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  7. Thanx for the recipe.....was a gr8 hit with all including ma-in-law ;)

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  8. The addition of yogurt and almonds is prolly what makes this awesome!

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  9. I like the idea of browning the chicken. Maybe i'll toss everything together and dump it in the oven for a slow bake/roast. :-)
    When I have fish with me, I want to have chicken and vice versa. I have fish with me now ... and those snaps are not helping right now. :-(

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  10. I am a vegetarian but the way you have written makes me want to have some chicken.
    really enjoy reading your writeups and trying your recipes

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  11. I recently picked the read to eat chicken korma from M&S which had this same almond-yogurt base...was a little low on spice for me. Should try making it at home.

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  12. Very nice introduction as usual, will try soon after I cook the Mushroom.
    One definition of Korma, which is there in the book by Maharaja of Sailana on Badshahi dishes, says Korma is mainly gravy in Oil with little moisture left...and in Kalia water is left with oil. Amy way whats in a name ?
    I am tempted to try this Korma with a fast surface fried (browned) Paneer, for my vege friends.
    I have left some lines on Taher and mustard oil use in Kashmir ,at your Mushroom Alu blog.

    best wishes

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  13. One of my first cooking book was form her but then the far eastern cookery book from bbc.
    I am sure bookmarking this one, that suace just looks so so delicous.

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  14. i used to do the samewhen i was in singapore ,..would get heaps of cook books but no time to cook,..:-( as always yummy,..i am droolin here,..;-)

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  15. this looks very yummy. Must make it this weekend. Will follow your way :)

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  16. Cham

    Yeah I did, in fact I still have it. Now I plan to xerox the rest and return by end of this week. Actually I rent out about 3 weeks at a time and then keep them for just too long
    Where is the time to read tell me :)

    Maninas

    There is more fine

    Vani

    Did too

    Rekha

    Thanks

    Soma

    This book had very few recipes so it was ok to try

    Musy

    I really liked the memoir part, Maninas here disagrees though. I liked the description about old Delhi and Kanpur etc.

    jaZZ

    You already made it !!!

    Nags

    I think the almonds and fried onions, I add yogurt to a lot of my dishes anyway

    Shramila

    Maybe you can brown the chicken in the oven and then make the gravy

    Bhagyashree

    Awww, thanks :)

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  17. Jyo
    I am dumb, what is M&S ? I did add some of my desi Red Chili Powder and the spice level was ok for me. Also I did marinate the chicken with all that ginger & garlic

    UshnishDa

    Thanks for the info. I read your comment on the Mushroom Olu, I have no idea about Kashmiri cooking except from Anita's blog :) But I liked your Taher version, maybe if you could post it that would be lovely

    HC

    Her recipes which are BBC site are a bit mellowed down I think

    Notyet

    Thanks :)

    Knife

    Hope you guys will like it

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  18. bet it would've tasted super yummy sandeepa:)

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  19. i guess I know what I am cooking this weekend :)

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  20. the dish looks delish Sandeepa. would definitely try out a vege version of this.

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  21. Suparna

    It was good enough

    Asha

    Try it.

    Sayantani

    Keno, veggie keno ?

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  22. I think I'm going to use the gravy recipe with veggies. Good that yogurt is used instead of cream.

    And :D LOL @ your renewal saga.

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  23. Marks & Spencers....here in UK we say M&S ;)

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  24. You know what? I've never gone through any of Madhur Jaffrey's cook books! But going by the look of your korma,I might take a peek. It looks scrumptious :-)

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  25. mmm...with a lacha paratha you can call taht a feast! Have never used almonds in cooking but cashew. Sounds and looks very interesting :)

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  26. Classic recipe! Looks too good!Bookmarked!

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  27. Thanks for the recipe! Just made it this evening, tasted it and came up to post this comment :-)

    Turned out really good. I must admit I thought it would be the run of the mill jhol as the only new ingredient was the almond paste. Turned out awesome... only I didn't get such a lovely red-brown color as yours. Mine is pale white-ish yellow. Did you put a lot of lal lonka?
    Moral of the story - "Trust Sandeepa" - I am yet to go wrong with anything from your blog!

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  28. SJ

    Aww you are just too much. No I did not put "lal lonka". I used "Kashmiri Mirch" gives the color without the heat.
    Guest eshechilo bole oi Kashmiri mirch diyechi, nijeder janyo hole amar tao pale i hoto :)

    I like the fried onion bit, I usually don't do that.

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  29. ROFL on your library saga. I took this book out last year, and Hurricane Ike hit, and guess what, the library got destroyed. So I had my book with me for some extra days, and the idiot that I am, I neatly wrote out some of the recipes into my recipe folder (no electricity for Xerox!!) and I still haven't made any of the dishes! Glad you tried it and it tasted good, one more conviction to try it on my own! P.S. I liked the book too, MJ seems to have been a very privileged child. but the book made me so hungry, she was always talking about those damn puris and bhaji....

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  30. Ann

    Couldn't you keep that book then, hey a hurricane should have at least some privileges.

    You are right, MJ seemed to have a pretty western upbringing too, all those dances that she & her siblings went

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  31. I want to quote your post in my blog. It can?
    And you et an account on Twitter?

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  32. Anon

    Send me a mail. All my posts are copyrighted. You can quote with proper link

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  33. Hi Bongmom,

    Thanks so much for posting your recipes. I hope it isn't too late to ask a couple of questions on MJ's Chicken Korma:

    How much salt is required? It isn't listed in the ingredients but is mentioned in the directions.

    Do you skin the chicken or leave skin on?

    Best,
    Robin

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  34. Hi Robin

    You need to add salt to taste. Start off with less and then adjust. Indian food is a lot on taste than perfect measurments

    I always use skinless chicken

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  35. Hey thanks for the recipe. I tried the madhur jaffrey version and really turned out great !
    Thanks !

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  36. Hello Bong Mom! I found this blog in Foodista and followed it here. One of the things I love the most about visiting great blogs like yours is I get to not only see food I've never seen prepared before, but you get to read about how they taste. Love it..... & now I'm hungry .... again :) By the way you can place more Foodista widget in your past and future blogs so that other Foodista readers can follow and see your blog too. Just search for a related recipe or food in Foodista and use its widget. I hope to read more from you. Cheers!

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  37. Chicken Korma ta dekhte khub shundor hoyeche. Ek baar TV te Madhur Jaffry ke alu posto aar luchi banate dekhe chilaam. I lost faith in her since then. Tomaar touch diye tumi chicken korma ta ke liven up korecho!

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  38. Greetings!

    I Googled for a Madhur chicken korma recipe and I found you. Thanks for the recipe; it did look nicer than most of them online (even the BBC one) so I made it. Delicious! Here's a photo for you: http://instagr.am/p/IOTuJ/

    I also cooked the spinach, green lentil and ginger side from her cookbook which was also delicious.

    Thanks again... very kind of you to post the recipe. And I will try marinading the chicken next time too :)

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  39. Today was the very first time I have ever attempted a Chicken Korma, I wanted the very best recipe I could possibly find & I have searched and searched. And I have say I picked the absolute best - restaurant quality; only better!!! Thank you Bong Mom. Love your site!

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