Chicken Korma is a slightly complicated but tasty chicken recipe which is cooked on special occasions or festivities in our house. This is, again, a recipe which my mother used to make, but, when I started making it, I added a few twists here and there to customize it. These, over the years, I have felt, has really made a big deal of difference, and they taste good.
The thing about my father is: he loves Kali Puja. He prefers it over Durga Puja, and, at one point of time, he had this penchant for loud firecrackers. Of course, nearly a decade have passed since he stopped what he calls his ‘antics’, but, come Kali Puja, he would go up to our narrow roof, spread a blanket on the ground, and watch the fireworks, his eyes following the sound of the crackers, and he would exclaim excitedly at a particular colourful one, or one which would make the loudest noise.
And then, he would come downstairs and discuss every detail of what he had seen. After that, he would want some hot luchi, fried in ghee preferably, with a bowl of mutton or chicken. Often, we would skip making the more traditional Kawsha and make a Korma. The Chicken Korma recipe here does not contain too many spices, but, yes, it needs a bit of work, and is more complicated compared to my regular recipes.
Start by spreading a tablespoon of poppy seeds in a flat pan. Heat the pan till the poppy seeds start to change their colour and get slightly roasted. When they have become slightly darker, remove, and, after the seeds are cool, grind finely. For this Korma recipe, the finer the grind the better.
Then, take about 25 gm. cashews and paste them. You would also need about 25 gm. grated coconut, fresh is best, but you can substitute with 2 teaspoons of dessicated coconut or coconut powder, but seriously, if you can find the freshly grated type, use it!
Marinate about 1 kilo chicken pieces (bone-in please) in 150 ml. yoghurt, 1 tablespoon ginger paste and 2 teaspoon garlic paste. Add a dash of salt (you can adjust it later).
Heat 100 ml. refined oil or ghee in a big heavy-bottomed vessel, and add 200 gm. chopped onions with a pinch each of salt and sugar. Cook till the onions are brown, then remove the onions from the vessel, reserving the leftover fat. To this, add 2-3 bay leaves, 4-5 whole green cardamoms (bash them up slightly), 5-6 whole cloves, and 2 inch-long sticks of cinnamon. Let them fry for a few seconds.
Then, add about 10 whole cashews, fry them till they are golden brown, and then, remove the cashews from the heat. You might get a few spices back with the cashews. Don’t panic, just throw them back in. Remember, this procedure MUST be done over medium low heat or you have severe chances of your cashews becoming dark and icky.
Next, add the marinated chicken to the leftover oil/ghee in the vessel. Over high heat, sear the chicken, stirring continuously, for about 5-6 minutes. Throw in a few green chillies. I added about 8, but you can reduce/increase according to your taste. Add two teaspoons of sugar (the final result will be mildly sweet). Stir briskly. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 25-30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.
chicken korma indian style
Once the chicken is cooked, take off the lid. You would see a good deal of liquid (released from the chicken). Add the coconut first. This will quickly soak in the liquid first, and then, add the poppy seed paste and the cashew paste. Then, season with salt and sugar to taste, and stir well to mix.
Finally, throw in the fried onions on top, the fried cashews, and about 20 gm. raisins (if you love raisins like I do… otherwise you can skip these). Finish by adding a tablespoon of ghee on top, then turn off the heat, and cover the vessel. Leave it for 10 minutes.
Serve Chicken Korma with virtually any kind of Indian flatbread – Naan, Rotis, Phulka, Paratha, Luchi or plain white rice (family favourite), ghee rice, jeera rice, or a quick pulao (preferably a white one, with only cashew and raisins in them).
From the bottom of my heart, I wish you all a very Happy Diwali/Kali Puja.