Basil Spice Recipe: Chicken Korma

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Chicken Korma (chicken with cream) This rich creamy dish may be served with aubergine cooked in the pickling style* and rice.

Serves 6:

31b (1Kg 350g) of jointed chicken parts, skinned

1 ½ teaspoons salt 2 teaspoons ground cumin seeds

1 ½ teaspoons ground coriander seeds

½ teaspoon ground turmeric

½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Freshly ground black pepper

6-7 cloves of garlic, peeled

A 1 inch (2.5cm) cube of fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped

11fl oz (300ml) water

6 teaspoons vegetable oil

4 oz (110g) onion, peeled and finely chopped 6 oz (175g) tomato, peeled and finely chopped

4 tablespoons plain yoghurt

1 teaspoon garam masala

6 tablespoons double cream

Sprinkle ½ teaspoon of the salt, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, ½ teaspoon ground coriander, ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric, ¼ teaspoon cayenne and some black pepper on the chicken parts.

Mix well and set aside for at least one hour.

Put garlic and ginger into the container of an electric blender or food processor. Add 4 fl oz (125ml) of the water and blend until fairly smooth. Heat the oil in a wide, preferably non–stick pot over a medium-high flame. When hot, put in as many chicken pieces as the pot will hold easily in a single layer and brown lightly on both sides. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside in a bowl. Brown all the chicken pieces the same way.

Put the chopped onion into the remaining oil. Stir and fry until the pieces turn a medium-brown colour. Add the garlic-ginger paste. Stir and fry until all the water from the paste evaporates and you see the oil again. Put in the remaining 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 teaspoon coriander, ¼ teaspoon turmeric and ¼ teaspoon cayenne. Stir and fry for about 20 seconds. Now put in the chopped tomato. Turn the heat down to a medium-low.

Stir and cook the spice paste for 3-4 minutes, mashing the tomato pieces with the back of a slotted spoon as you do so. Add the yoghurt, a tablespoon at a time, incorporating it into the sauce each time before you add any more.

Put in the chicken pieces and any accumulated juices, the remaining 7 fl oz (300ml) water and 1 teaspoon salt. Bring to the boil. Cover, turn heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes. Take off the cover. Add the garam masala and cream. Mix gently. Turn the heat up to a medium-high and cook, stirring gently now and then, until the sauce has reduced somewhat and turned fairly thick.

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*Aubergine cooked pickling style:

1 inch cube fresh ginger, peeled and chopped

6 large cloves garlic, peeled

55ml water

800g aubergines

Sunflower or vegetable oil, about 350ml

1 tsp fennel seeds

1/2tsp cumin seeds

1 400g can chopped tomatoes

1 tbs ground coriander seeds

1/4 tsp turmeric

1/3 tsp cayenne pepper (more if you like)

1 tsp salt

Put the ginger and garlic in a small blender/food processor with 55ml water, blend until smooth. Cut the aubergines in to wedges or slices about 2cm thick and about 5cm long

Put a metal sieve over a heat resistant bowl.

Heat some oil in a heavy frying pan enough to give about 1/3 cm depth. When hot add the aubergine in a single layer, fry until a reddish brown colour, turn them over and brown on the other side. When well coloured remove from the pan with a slotted spoon or fish slice and put into the sieve and allow to drain. Repeat until all the aubergine has been browned.

You can turn off the heat at this time and allow the aubergine to drain for an hour — or continue. I normally just let the aubergine drain for the time needed to complete the recipe.

Add a little more oil to the pan and heat gently. When hot add the fennel seeds and cumin seeds, as soon as the fennel seeds start to get a little darker, this only takes seconds add the chopped tomatoes, the ginger and garlic paste, cayenne pepper, turmeric and salt. Stir and cook gently for about 6 mins, turn down the heat and allow to simmer very gently until the mixture starts to thicken.

Add the fried aubergine to the tomato mixture and mix gently. Cook on a medium heat for another 5 mins, then cover with a lid and simmer very gently for another 10 mins.

WHAT A COMBINATION! And if this all sounds a little complicated, then pop into Basil Spice and let the expert chefs take the strain. If you want to meet Abbas and his team, the restaurant is in the Adam Business Park facing Cranes Farm Road.  Tel. 01268 523526.

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