Korma is another delicious Indian dish, this time consisting of a creamy nut sauce. Though I use chicken in this recipe, you can easily replace it with lamb or goat, if you're into that sort of thing. My recipe calls for cashews, but I've seen korma made with other nuts like almonds or even peanuts. Personally, though, I think cashews offer the best flavor here, as almonds tend to be a little too hard and I save my peanuts for other, more Thai-inspired dishes. As with any Indian dish, you can alter the spices however you like, but I strongly recommend being careful with the red pepper. This recipe, moreso than my recipes for Chicken Makhani or Chicken Saag, tends to be unforgiving with the spiciness.
Start by pouring boiling water over the cashews, just enough to cover. Then warm up the cream in the microwave for 30 seconds, careful not to let it scald. Drop in the saffron threads. Set both the cashew water and the saffron cream aside.
Peel the onion and cut it into pieces. Puree in a food processor. Meanwhile, coat the chicken in salt and black pepper while you let the vegetable oil heat up in a large pan over medium-low heat.
Once the oil is hot, add the garlic and bay leaves and stir constantly for 30 seconds. Then stir in the onions. Let cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Make sure you rinse out your food processor, as you are not done with it yet. Then add the chicken and spices to the onion mixture. Cook over medium-high heat for another 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
Once the chicken is cooked through, pour in the chicken broth and tomato sauce. Stir.
Pour the saffron cream and cashew water into the food processor and pulse until it reaches the desired smoothness. I've had korma that is as smooth as creamy peanut butter, but I've also had it relatively chunky. Personally, I prefer it somewhere in between. Pour the cashew cream into the pan with the chicken and onion mixture. Then add the yogurt. Stir until fully combined and lower the heat to low.
Let the korma simmer for at least a full hour. If it gets too thick, add more chicken broth or water. If, after an hour, it is too thin, you can either let it continue simmering until it reaches the desired thickness or you can add a cornstarch slurry (a tablespoon or two of cornstarch mixed with an equal amount of cold water). When it's ready, remove the bay leaves and salt to taste. Serve over rice with either toast or naan on the side.
-e. magill 5/26/2011
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