January 22, 2011

Cashew chicken korma

Chicken korma is one of my favorite dishes when we go out to the nearby Indian restaurant. I wanted to recreate it at home. I read a lot of recipes to research how to make it. The recipes I found didn't use much tomato sauce and the chicken korma I've eaten is always really red in color. I'm not an expert on what would be considered the traditional recipe, but the one I made turned out to be very reminiscent in flavor to the restaurant version. Maybe one day I'll get to India and be able to try the real thing, but for now, this version will definitely suffice. I used this recipe as a guide.

The sauce is full of great spices and flavors -- garlic, ginger, cumin, cashews.... The dish itself is mild to medium, but you can add more heat (cayenne pepper) if you would like a hotter dish. Serve this dish with some basmati rice and/or some naan or other flatbread for a complete Indian take-out meal at home. I recommend the bread because it will allow you to easily sop up all the yummy sauce. This recipe should serve 2-4 people, depending on the side dishes you serve with it (but, to be honest, my husband and I ate it all ourselves!).

Cashew chicken korma
1/2 cup cashews, plus more for garnish, lightly toasted
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup light coconut milk
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1-inch of fresh ginger root, peeled and roughly chopped
1 teaspoon ground coriander
2 teaspoons ground cumin, divided
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (start low and adjust later if desired)
1-1/2 lbs skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 bay leaves, broken in half
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 large white onion, diced
1 can (8 oz) tomato sauce
1 cup low sodium chicken stock
pinch of sugar, optional (use if the tomatoes are very acidic)
1/4 cup minced cilantro, plus more for garnish
basmati rice, cooked to package directions, for serving

Place the cashews, yogurt, coconut milk, garlic, ginger, coriander, 1 tsp cumin, garam masala, turmeric, salt, and cayenne pepper to a food processor. Puree until fairly smooth. In a large bowl or dish, add half of the mixture along with the chicken breast. Stir it together, cover, and refrigerate to marinade for at least 2 hours or overnight. Refrigerate the other half of the mixture.

In a large, deep skillet, warm the butter and olive oil until hot. Add the bay leaf halves and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the onion, remaining 1 tsp of cumin, and a dash of salt. Stir and cook until the onions become translucent.

Add the marinated chicken to the skillet and cook until it is no longer pink, stirring occasionally. Then add the chicken stock and stir well to deglaze the pan. Add the tomato sauce and the remaining yogurt-spice mixture. Stir well and continue to cook over medium heat until the sauce begins to bubble lightly. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Taste for seasonings and add more salt or cayenne if needed. Also, this is where you can add the sugar, if desired. Stir in the cilantro and remove the bay leaves.

Serve hot with rice (I add some frozen peas to my rice because they are almost always in the rice at Indian restaurants). Top with extra cashew pieces, cilantro, and/or a dollop of yogurt, if desired.

What was I cooking one year ago?: Matcha tea leaf shortbread cookies

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