Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My friend's Chicken Korma

Yes, all those spices and more...

When I was vacillating between blogging and not-blogging a month or two back, I realized two things.

I referred to my blog to cook. Yes, things have gotten that bad over here. Of course I don't trust myself that much and 1" inch of ginger does not warrant an exact measure but I do look up my recipes and then bring out my teaspoons and tablespoons and on days I am feeling gloomy add 2 tsp of Red Chili Powder where it said only one.So Suanta, whoever you are, when you say "Bit peculiar recipes with mild taste...maybe for weak stomach" -- yeah those are my happy days.

The second and more important thing I realized is, I needed my blog to remember.

No, not recipes but small moments in the life of two little girls as they grow up. When we were kids, there were many people cris-crossing through our lives remembering snapshots in time as we grew up. While parents remembered us as a whole, the uncles, the aunts, the grandparents, the dudhwala, the Shanti's Ma remembered how we would love the nimki at the bhujia store, how we insisted on helping with the jharu, how we said "kapekha" and not "opekha". As they talked, reminding us at our 20th birthday about our love for "nimpi" at 3, these childhood snippets took form of a legend.

At 20 I hated such legends.

In my mid-thirties not so much. Now that some of those people are no longer there to remind me how much water I wasted during my baths, I try to remember them. And strangely I do so, by iterating over those snippets they once remembered about me.

My girls' life with all the fullness lacks people to remember things. Yes, there is the camcorder but that is never taken out at the right moment. If at all, it records a staged life rather than the au naturel.



So if I do not write about how Little S loves eating bamboo shoot from the Thai Red Curry at the restaurant and calls it "bangashur", how the heck will we talk about it 30 years later ?

Like say about this other day when LS broke two of my precious vase that stand right by the fireplace. I loved those. I mean as much as you can love a "vase". For someone like me, that is quiet a lot.I had once screamed when a little boy running around had so much as chipped one of them.

So the other day when I came home and entered a house resounding with eerie silence I didn't once think it was to do with the vase. But Big Sis whispered into my ears, that the vase were gone, LS had shattered them and she had given LS a scolding followed by "thup thup" on her butt. LS sat quietly on her haunches, in a corner, behind the couch. I didn't feel like scolding her. That was a big change in me I realized. Instead I thought of what I could now buy at Pier1.

Later I sat her down and tried explaining why she should not go around home breaking things. Maybe there was not much conviction in my voice. After much explanation when I asked "Tumi bujhecho ki bollam(Did you understand what I told you ?)", she looked at me with her big eyes, said "kichui bojheni(I didn't understand anything)" and with that skipped away.

This I really need to remember for ever. It is important.


Also the fact that LS sat through the entire movie of "Mars needs Moms", in a dark theater, munching chips and trying to climb chairs. She wasn't even a wee bit scared. And that is because her review of the movie said "Chele ta broccoli khelona, cat ke diye dilo, tai or Ma khub boklo( the boy did not eat broccoli, gave it to the cat, so his Mom scolded him)". Regarding everything that happened there after she just shrugged.


And then the whispering and telling of secrets, a new skill she had acquired. She will come up close to my ear and in a hushed tone say totally illegible things. In response, I will say "Tai naki?" and act surprised. She too will act all astonished at the big secret that has been shared.


Big Sis teaches LS her alphabets. And honestly what little LS has learned is thanks to her Didi. These days she goes around writing the letter "A" and tells all and sundry, "Ami A likthe pari, B likhte pari na (I can write A but not B)"


These are as important to remember as is this recipe of Chicken Korma which my friend R makes. It is really wonderful, by the way. I love all the spices going into this chicken and it is pretty easy considering that it has such a heavy duty name of "Korma" assigned to it.

I will not go into any debate regarding whether this IS a korma or not. I really do not know what a Korma makes. The other recipe of Chicken Korma that I have is from Madhur Jaffrey, it has almonds and is pretty good too.

This one I find is pretty simple and a lot of the work can be done before hand. So works perfect when you are expecting guests and have a lot to cook. Don't get intimidated by all the spices. I found all of them tucked away some where in the pantry except the white pepper powder.


If I am cooking this on a Sunday for a family meal, I use the pressure Cooker.At the point where oil is surfacing, close the lid of the Pressure cooker and cook till chicken is done.Takes about 4-5 mins after full pressure in my cooker. The advantage of using the cooker is after the chicken is done, I cook rice in the same cooker with a little stock from the chicken gravy remaining to flavor the rice. It tastes wonderful and there is one less utensil to wash.

Both the girls love this Korma and the rice. It makes for a Happy Meal.


One more Chicken Korma

Marinate 2lb Chicken(skinless & cut in pieces) with

4 hot green chili coarsely pounded
1 tbsp Garlic Paste,
2 tbsp Ginger paste,
1 tsp Corriander powder,
1 tsp Cumin Powder,
Garlic Powder(I used about 1/2tsp),
Ginger Powder(sonth)(I used about 1/2 tsp),
1 tsp Pepper Powder(White is better),
Cinnamon Powder(About 1/4th tsp),
Mace Powder (Just crush some mace roughly in a mortar to make 1/4th-1/2tsp) ,
Nutmeg Powder( I grated a nutmeg to make roughly 1/4th tsp),

Note: When I am cooking this for everyone including the kids, I skip the hot green chili. Instead I add it later at the very end of the cooking process. Also add Red chili powder and increase spices if you like it that way.

Chop 1 & 1/2 of a a large onion in chunks. Saute till onion is brown on the edges, around 4-5 minutes.

In a blender put
fried onion
1 cup thick yogurt
Make a fine paste

Heat Oil in a heavy bottomed deep pan or use a Pressure cooker.

Temper the Oil with
4 green cardamom,
4 clove,
10 whole black peppercorn

Add the marinated chicken pieces.

Saute/Fry for 10-15 minutes till chicken loses raw color and starts turning golden

Add the onion + yogurt paste. Add salt to taste. Mix well.

Let the masala cook. Sprinkle some water if necessary. When you see oil surfacing add about 1/2 cup of water and let the gravy simmer to a boil. Adjust for salt and other seasonings.

Cook till chicken is done.Garnish with chopped corriander leaves if you so desire.


  1. Hi Sandeepa,
    I have been reading your blog for atlest 3-4 yrs now and am not sure why I havent commented before. I love your writing and your cooking. I have tried some of your recipes - the most recent one being alur chop and it was as good as I had remembered it to be. Many a times I come to your blog to refer to that typical bengali dish I have a craving for.
    Thanks for the recipes and keep writing about your girls...brings a smile to my face always.

  2. Nice post, fluid and flowed easily into what you finally came to.

  3. lovely n delicious..
    first time here...awesome space you have with tempting recipe collection..
    do stop by mine sometime..
    Tasty Appetite

  4. notyet

    Thanks..try it, it is good


    Thanks so much. Glad you liked the Alur Chop


    That was one of my worries. Coming from you, I can rest in peace :-)


    Will do, thanks

  5. Sandeepa how important is that Garlic powder. I have no idea where to get it but am tempted to try this easy recipe in Pressure cooker. love the clicks.Its always a pleasure to read about kids growing. they grow so fast that sometimes I feel clueless

  6. Sayantani

    I really don't know the importance but I keep adding stuff like mint leaves etc. So I guess if you don't have garlic powder, increase the garlic paste a little and try

  7. When your two Angels grow up they will certainly relish all ur recipes and her mom's memoir in these place:)
    Delicious korma!

  8. Lipsmacking kurma, simply delicious..

  9. I had the exact same thought this year. Why am I blogging? But I went back to read some of my older posts and things that I jotted down about the little one. I was then thankful that I really did that because otherwise I would not have remembered all of that today so vividly.

    And please dont stop posting recipes. I am a die hard fan. Your recipes are simple, easy to follow, produce good results and makes everyone in my home happy. I am sure that is the case for many others. So keep writing.

    Shreya's Mom

  10. Nice recipe.... Looks so good....YUM!

  11. I love the way you write...its a pleasure!

  12. So glad you finally chose "To-Blog" over "Not-to-blog". You have a huge fan following. Each post of yours makes a good read and a grin is guaranteed on your readers' face. I have tried several of your recipes and even blogged your Rezala. It is one of the popular posts in my blog. Loved to read about your daughters. I guess my twin daughters are almost LS's age. They too learnt writing 'A' recently. Never dared to take them to a movie yet. Learning about LS's movie experience, I think I should expose them to a theatre soon (Rather expose a theatre to them!!)

    An ardent fan,

  13. Tried it ... came out as most yummy ... thank you so much. :)

  14. Korma, Kurma in any form is always welcome and guaranteed to try this one as well.

    LS and BS would so cherish reading their stories here when they grow up ;)

  15. Cham

    Not sure about the recipes but hope we will like going through some of their stories :-) Or they might be embarrassed !!!



    Shreya's Mom

    yeah, I want to do that too but often am not sure since this is a public blog :( But remember i told you to keep doing it because I feel it really helps us to remember a lot of those moments.


    Thank You


    :-D Thanks for reading


    Thanks for the kind words. I took LS to Toy Story 3 last year and it wasn't a good idea. This time she was perfect. But this time there were a whole lot of kids with us too.Some of the older kids(5 yr olds) actually did not sit through the whole movie and were out !!!


    Thanks. It was easy and good, right ?


    Cherish might not be the right word here ;-)

  16. Just a reminder that your blog brings smiles to many other's faces, many other mums/dads get back to hard job of parenting, working, living after a pause when they read your new post, with more vibrance. So please stop wondering about whys of writing your blog, specially yours which is collecting the evolution of Bengali/Indian/working mothers/NRI mothers cooking all in one place, along with how she thinks, how she look after her kids and how she lives. It is a wonderful collection and I will suggest you to keep another back up of all your write-ups, although google seems to be universal now, but then it is better to have old fashioned back ups specially about the memories which we deal with.

  17. Hey Sandeepa,
    That was an absolutely marvellous recipe!And what lip-smacking photos!

    Its a nice job you are doing of writing about your girls' baby steps...just imagine what a hearty time they'll have when they go through all this 20 years from now!And I'm sure they'll have a lot to thank their Mom for:)


  18. Hi Sandeepa,
    Let me first tell you how much I enjoy reading the enchanting episodes about your two girls. Enjoy the little ones, they grow up very fast. Both my girls are out of the house.
    I was introduced to your site by my younger daughter after she moved from Pennsylvania to Texas. She has her taste buds tuned to spicy Indian food and loves to try out Indian recipes. Unlike her older sister who is more into Italian dishes. (She even told her friends when she was much younger that her maternal ancestors were Italians).

    Thank you for providing this tantalizing site. I am always looking forward to e-mails from Bong Mom's CookBook.


  19. Chandrima, Wit, Wok

    You never know kids. 20 years later they might hate me for this very idea :-D


    Thanks for your lovely words.Yeah, Italian is pretty popular with my older one too though not the entire cuisine. But i have seen kids around me developing much love for pasta

  20. When i came to USA, i was a very impatient cook who did not know anything other than alubhaja,daal and begun bhaja.Then i came to know ur blog through a friend,and started trying to cook from ur recipes.My non-bengali husband now knows ur cookbook,pretty well.Several times he told me to say thanks to u.
    but today i should say "thank you very much".
    I was little sad about ur decision on stop writing blog,becos i started missing both ur blog and ur kids.i have a 2 and half year old boy, and me too want to jott down his all growing up,So happy blogging.

  21. Sandy, your stories always makes the post so wonderful! It's great reading on the kid's growing up stage, it sure will make a great bit to remember later...korma looks very inviting.

  22. Do you know Sandeepa, u are a star a actually I would prefer to call you a celebrity...love reading your blogs...asha korchi aaro onek onek lekho and delight us with your lovely recipes...

  23. It was lovely reading about your daughter :)

    I have an award waiting for you
    Just scroll to the bottom of the page...

  24. Very Nice Sandeepa...
    Keep up the good work..
    I too scribble from time to time with a similar intention..wish I had started earlier though.



  25. I love your writing about your little girls. Such priceless memories. Don't stop blogging, Sandeepa!

  26. Have been somewhat irregular at reading your blogs but I make sure I catch up with all of your postings...love the natural flair!! Also, having a 8-yr old daughter and living around the same area you live in, I can totally relate to your feelings. Keep them coming....it sure makes some true soul-stirring moments...:) The recipes are an added bonus!

  27. Made your kurma for dinner yesterday and loved it. My boys could not eat enough of it. Thanks, once again, for the beaut recipes and even better write up.

  28. the kurma looks delicious. Nothing like putting everything in the pressure cooker and getting a yummy curry at the end :)

  29. Hi Sandeepa,

    I like the chicken Korma in the second picture...Looks so tempting. Like the idea of cooking rice in the same pressure cooker to obsorb the chiken curry leftovers...Great blog

  30. Loved that Part-"Kicho Bollam Bojhle"..and then the reply-"Kicho Bojhlaam na"..LS sounds so naughty and BS sounds so responsible and caring ..Pressure cooker saves lots of energy and is quick to make ..looks delicious..hugs and smiles


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