Unfortunately I wasn't able to get to the supermarket this week-end, so ended up improvising a lot, which sort of ruined the recipe a bit, though it was still edible, if not wow-y, like I remember it. It also requires some preparations - this is part of the book's first chapter on "basic recipes" - i. e. ingredients that can be prepared in a larger batch and kept in the fridge or even frozen for when required. When I got the book and made the Arunachal Fish Curry, I was so in love with the book, I went ahead and made a lot of these basic recipes and had some in the freezer, at the recommended amounts ready to whip up an Indian dish at a moment's notice. I've not kept up my stock of these very well, so I had no browned onion purée, and just about enough minced fresh ginger in the freezer.
Browned onion mince
4 large onions - 550 g after peeling and washing
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp water
60 g raw cashew nuts
a pinch of saffron threads
150 ml boiling water
500 g chicken breasts
150 g ricotta cheese or strained Greek yoghurt
12 green cardamom pods
2 x 5 cm pieces of cinnamon
8 whole cloves
2 tbsp minced ginger
4 cloves of garlic
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 tsp hot chilli powder or a couple of fresh hot chillies
1 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp ground roasted coriander
2 handfuls of frozen garden vegetables
300 ml chicken stock
all of the browned onion purée
2 tbsp single cream
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp sweet paprika
a handful of beansprouts
- Peel and wash the onions, then slice thinly.
- Place in a large saucepan, sprinkle the sugar and salt and cook over low heat, stirring every now and then until the onions begin to sizzle.
- Pour over the water, cover the saucepan and leave to simmer for about 15 minutes.
- Increase the heat to medium, remove the lid and cook for a further 12 - 15 minutes stirring constantly, until the liquid released from the onions has evaporated and it starts to brown.
- Remove from the heat and leave to cool somewhat, then place in a food processor and whizz to get a "mince" or even a purée. I got 260 g out of it.
- When the purée is ready, place the cashew nuts and the saffron in a bowl and pour over the boling water. Leave to stand for 20 minutes.
- Trim the chicken breasts and cut into bite-sized chunks. Place in a large non-stick deep pan and add the ricotta, cardamoms, cinnamon, cloves and ginger. Press in the garlic.
- Mix through well, then cover and cook on medium for 5 - 6 minutes.
- Stir, reduce the heat somewhat and continue to cook for a further 6 - 7 minutes.
- Remove the lid, increase the heat to high and cook, stirring frequently, for 7 - 8 minutes until the chicken pieces begin to brown and the liquid evaporates to form a thick paste.
- Stir in the salt, turmeric, chilli powder/fresh chillies, black pepper and coriander and continue to cook for a couple of more minutes, then stir in the frozen vegetables, the chicken stock and the onion purée, cover again, turn down the heat and let simmer for 10 minutes.
- In the meantime blitz the cashews and saffron in the water as smoothly as possible, then once the 10 minutes are up, pour into the pan and sprinkle over the garam masala.
- Finally stir in a handful of bean sprouts just before serving and a little sweet paprika.
As carbs for the chicken korma, I cooked some orzo - pasta shaped like rice. As I was nearing completion, Lundulph's brother Roger called, wondering if he and Falbala could pop in for a while. Falbala is learning to drive at the moment, so they were in the neighbourhood. This was such a lovely surprise, we all sat down to a late lunch.
The chicken korma didn't turn out as nice as I seem to remember, I'm not sure why, possibly I added the frozen vegetables a bit late and they didn't get enough time to cook through properly, they were way too crunchy for my liking. I'll have to repeat the basic recipe which doesn't have any of the vegetables or sprouts, and see if I can work out the problems.
The orzo, was quite nice, though. I'd spotted it in the Turkish shop I frequent when we visit my Parents-in-Law and it seemed such a curious thing, I bought a packet, but hadn't tried it out for ages. Shame on me, it was really nice and it works well as a salad ingredient too.
Given that it is a bit time consuming to do the browned onion purée, I recommend making a larger batch and freezing in portions.