I became addicted to Indian food during my senior year of college. I was like a junkie jonesing for more capsaicin! I had no money, so I traded tutoring services for lunch at my favorite Indian place near campus. Friends would ask me to proofread their papers, and I was like yesssss... meet me at Village Tandoor, and I'll take care of you. Bring cash. I ate there so often, the waiters laughed at me when I showed up with yet another poorly structured Sociology 101 paper in hand.
Village Tandoor's Chicken Korma was so red, I always thought it was a tomato based dish. I ignored the menu's claim that it was made with "nuts, yogurt, and a mildly spices." Yeah, I got a kick out of their typo. I recently decided to make my own, so I adapted this recipe from From Bengal to Pubjab: The Cuisines of India. I altered Smita Chandra's original recipe based on what I had on hand, and prepared it in a slow cooker instead of on the stove top.
I've made it 3 times in the last month, and I can safely say that Chicken Korma really is made with almonds, dairy, spices... and no tomatoes. I like to make the sauce in the evening and throw everything in the slow cooker before I go to work. I recommend doubling the sauce recipe and freezing the remainder, so you have more sauce on hand the next time you want to make it.
1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2/3 c sliced almonds
8 cloves garlic
2 inch piece fresh ginger
2 tbsp vegetable oil
4 bay leaves
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (or more if you like it hot)
1 tsp garam masala
2 tsp cornstarch
1 c sour cream
salt, to taste
1. Soak the almonds in hot water for half an hour. While you wait, go make a Bollywood dance playlist--you're going to want appropriate dinner music!
2. Drain the almonds. Coarsely chop the shallots, ginger, garlic. Toss them in a food processor with the almonds and mince finely. Mmm, that smells good!
3. Heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add the bay leaves and cumin. Let them warm for a few seconds, then add the minced almond mixture. Saute until golden brown, about 12 minutes. Stir occasionally. Yes, it smells good, but resist the urge to eat it now.
4. Add the coriander, cayenne pepper, garam masala, salt, and cornstarch. Saute for one minute. Add the sour cream, and mix well.
5. If you want the chicken cut into pieces, do that now. I like to cook the chicken breasts whole. Either way, place the chicken in the slow cooker and cover it with the sauce mixture. Cook on high heat for 4 - 5 hours, turning once (time depends on your slow cooker).
6. Serve over rice and with naan. Remember to remove the bay leaves before serving! Aren't you glad you made that Bollywood playlist?