I never have to give my order at our favourite Indian restaurant, because the waiters always know what I’m going to have; and they frequently tell me that it’s not authentically Indian. Be that as it may, chicken korma is my very favourite ‘Indian’ recipe, and I recently decided that it was high time I had a go at making it from scratch. This serves four and is a low-fat version from the Hairy Bikers, and the ingredients list is so long that I have copied and pasted it directly from the BBC Food website where I found this recipe. It took quite a while to prepare, but you can prepare the paste in advance, which makes the actual cooking bit very quick if you’re pushed for time in the evening.
- 4 fairly small boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 600g/1lb 5oz)
- freshly ground black pepper
- 25g/1oz low-fat natural yoghurt
- 1 tbsp sunflower oil
- 2 large onions, chopped (400g/14oz prepared weight)
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
- 20g/¾oz piece fresh root ginger, peeled and finely grated
- 12 cardamom pods, seeds crushed
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 1 tbsp ground coriander
- ½ heaped tsp ground turmeric
- ¼ tsp hot chilli powder
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 whole cloves
- 1 tbsp plain flour
- small pinch saffron
- 2 tsp caster sugar
- ½ tsp fine sea salt, plus extra to season
- 3 tbsp double cream
- fresh coriander, roughly torn, to garnish (optional)
I find it easiest to prepare ingredients in advance, so the best thing to do first is prepare all the spices. I really enjoyed doing this, as it meant I got to use my beautiful marble pestle and mortar (not pictured). I laid out all the spices initially just to make sure I had everything. I was doing this at lunch time, by the way, so that the korma paste was ready for the evening. The ground cloves seem to have found their way into this picture in place of cumin but I definitely put the right stuff in!
The pestle and mortar was needed to grind the cardamom pods and cumin seeds. Here are all the spices after being measured out. I was doing a half quantity of this recipe, as there are only two of us, but in future I shall do the full amount and simply freeze half the paste for another day.
At this stage, you also marinade the chicken in the yogurt, seasoned with black pepper. Cover with cling film and refrigerate for at least half an hour (all afternoon in this case).
Heat the oil in a saucepan and cook the onions, garlic and ginger for 15 minutes until soft and translucent, stirring occasionally to avoid burning them. Then stir in the cardamom, cumin, coriander, turmeric, bay leaf and chilli powder. Pinch the ends off the cloves and put those in too, and cook all this for a further five minutes.
Next, stir in the flour, saffron, sugar and half a teaspoon of salt. Slowly stir in 300ml of cold water, stirring constantly, and bring to a simmer. Cook for ten minutes.
Remove from the heat, and use a food processor or stick blender to blend the mixture to a smoothish paste. It’s now ready to be used, or you can save it for later in the day, like I did. Be prepared for the fact that the turmeric will stain whatever kitchen device you use yellow!
The final stage couldn’t be easier. When you’re ready to eat, put some rice on and heat up the sauce you made earlier. Then pop in the marinaded chicken and the double cream and cook until the chicken is cooked through.
Serve with a handful of shredded fresh coriander. Delicious!