Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Perfect Chicken Korma


I spend a lot of time planning for the perfect time. When it's the perfect summer day, I will wear my cute, floppy gardening hat and plant rose bushes on both sides of the walkway leading to my house. When I have the perfectly furnished and decorated house, I will host a fabulous dinner party. And when I have a perfectly free weekend, I will spend the day with my mom, drinking countless cups of chai, learning to cook the amazing recipes from my childhood, and cackling about all sorts of random mother-daughter matters. But the problem is, that perfect day never comes.

It's always a bit too overcast to garden, too cluttered to host a dinner party, and too busy to just hang out with my mom. But there will come a day when my knees ache too much to garden (heck, that day might be next week because my knees hurt!) and when I am too old to cook for large groups of friends, laughing and hanging out in our home. And worst of all, a day when my mom can't hang out. I notice how it takes her longer to get up from her chair, how she can't pick up our heavy little man as easily, and how she pauses on the landing when climbing the stairs. Her eyes look a little more tired, her skin a bit more weathered. She's still the same feisty mom though, with her deep-rooted love of fancy handbags, fine restaurants, and overly dramatic Pakistani soap operas. But there's no denying that my mom is getting older.


It has taken a long time for me to be able to admit that. I fully recognize that I am getting older, my family is growing, my career is developing, and my world views are changing. But I have the hardest time admitting that while all of that is happening, my mom is getting older.

And so this past Sunday, I decided it was the perfect day for a mom-day. It didn't look perfect at all. It was pouring rain, I had a bit of a cold, and we had run out of the good loose leaf tea I like to brew for chai. But my mom and I forged ahead. We turned up the heat in our house, I tucked a handkerchief in my sleeve to address my runny nose situation granny style, and we brewed a giant pot of chai using some not-so-great tea bags. And somehow, hanging out with my mom in the kitchen was perfect all on its own. We laughed about my aunt's brave foray into the world of blonde hair highlights. We chattered about my doctor-cousin's decision to go on tour with his punk rock band. And I asked her to teach me to make her chicken korma. The one I'd been eating for years. The one I'd tried to replicate a million times. The one whose very smell was synonymous with my mother's kitchen.


My mom painstakingly set out the ingredients. As I watched her methodical movements, I was struck by her preparation. Maybe my korma never turned out like hers because I insisted on frantically rifling through cabinets for missing ingredients while things were burning on the stove. Or maybe, it was just because I didn't have her touch.


My mom says the trick to making the perfect korma is to relax and go slow. Forget about relaxing and actually going slow, just writing about going slow makes neurotic, tightly-wound me feel agitated. But I took a few deep breaths and backed up a few steps and watched the cooking master in action. I watched her brown the onions, lovingly add the spices, slowly mix in the yogurt. And I saw her watch the korma carefully as the color turned from pale to golden brown.

The truth is, my korma will never be perfect. But all those Sundays spent with my mom, learning how to make her korma, certainly will be.

Chicken Korma


1 onion, thinly sliced
2 tbs. Greek yogurt
1/2 tsp. pureed ginger
1 tsp. pureed garlic
2 tbs. tomato paste
Oil

2 cinnamon sticks, broken into pieces
1/2 tb. ground corriander
1/2 tb. ground cumin
1/2 tb. cayenne
1/2 tb. curry powder
4 whole cloves
4 whole peppercorns
2 cardamom pods, smashed
Salt

2 medium chicken breasts, cut in strips
1 medium potato, cut in medium cubes
2 hard-boiled eggs (optional)
Chopped cilantro


Heat approximately 3 tablespoons oil in a pot. Add onions, sprinkle with salt, and fry until onions are light golden in color. Remove onions from heat. Add 2 tablespoons yogurt and fried onions to blender and blend until slightly chunky in consistency (you may need to add 1/4-1/2 cups of water if the onion/yogurt mixture is too thick to blend).

Heat another 3 tablespoons of oil in same pot. Add pureed ginger and garlic and fry for a few seconds. Add tomato past and continue frying mixture over low to medium heat. Add all ground spices (and salt to taste) and continue frying (you may need to add 1/4 cup water to get the mixture to a paste-like consistency).

Add onion/yogurt mixture to spice paste 1/4 cup at a time. It is important to keep stirring and not add the onion/yogurt mixture too fast or the heat will cause the yogurt to curdle.

Add potato cubes and 1/2-1 cup of water to korma. Cover and lower heat to simmer to allow potatoes to cook thoroughly. In a separate pot, heat 2 tablespoons of oil and add whole spices (cinnamon stick pieces, cloves, cardamom, and peppercorns). Fry spices for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Add chicken breast and cook chicken half way.

When the potatoes in the korma are almost cooked, add the oil mixture with the whole spices and chicken breast. Stir the korma and add the lid again. Continue cooking the korma at a low simmer until potatoes and chicken are cooked completely. Top with halved boiled eggs and chopped cilantro if you wish.

Serve with basmati rice or naan or with whole wheat toast or sourdough bread or or or. The korma is supremely tasty and the carbs are mostly just a vehicle to get the korma into your mouth as fast as possible.

32 comments :

Shabs said...

I love this post of yours , it's true we plan and plan andplan but things just don't happen , we shud just do stuff before it's too let . Moms are always patient , my mom is the same too , she does things on low heat saying it tastes better ( and it does ) but I just don't have that kind of patience , hope to achieve it someday . Again great post and delicious Korma :D .

cookie said...

Le siigh... Love this post! Can't wait to try your mama's Korma!

Sheetal Bhagat said...

You are a fantastic writer. There are very few blogs that I can sit and read; your story telling has a feeling of "i'm right there in the kitchen with them".

Wonderful!

onelifetoeat.com said...

Ohh I love this post, Azmeena. Now that I live so far away from my parents, whenever I see them on Skype, I am struck by how much older they look. Mum especially. And you said it so well. I fully accept that I am evolving as a person and so much is changing about me but I can't seem to accept an older image of my mum. I crave how we used to be when I lived in Mumbai. Such a touching post and a great recipe!

Charmaine said...

What a beautiful, tender post. I can sort of relate as my mom is in town to help me of with our new little one... Except my mom is a terrible cook and I'm teaching her what I know I the kitchen. But the role reversal is just as precious, because it's just me and my mom, for the couple of hours when I can tear her away from the melodramatic Beijing soap operas.

cookingprojects said...

I'm reading this a day before my mother's birthday, what a beautiful post! Really felt what you said about mothers getting older... But on a lighter note, I drew so many blanks today when trying to think of what to cook with my packet of boneless chicken. This is perfect :-)

Ameena said...

Love this post. I agree...I'm always waiting for the perfect day to break out the good dishes, to wear a nicer outfit, etc. etc. but there is no time like the present to do all of these things!

It's so hard to see our parents get older, isn't it? Your mom is a lucky lady to have such a sweet, accomplished daughter. I hope Maya turns out half as great as you!

Farihah said...

Okay, you made me tear up a little as I read this. I hate thinking that my parents are getting older.

But I love your post! And I love this recipe for korma, I'm so trying it out.

Bria said...

What a lovely, poignant story, and just in time for Mother's Day. I am bookmarking the korma recipe now. A true classic.

J+K said...

You have written about your mother's korma on several occasions and I'm so happy that you have now shared it with the rest of us! I will try it soon!

And thank you for the reminder to enjoy my mother while I have the chance :-)

~K

Lisa {Authentic Suburban Gourmet } said...

This looks very tasty! I have never had this before, but might just be time to try something new. Love the flavor combinations. Your Mom sounds like quite a lady and hopefully you can celebrate together on Sunday for Mother's Day! Happy early mothers day to you!!!

Gina said...

Perfect is over rated! I could be your mother or at least that is how I feel these days. I need to set things aside and sit down with my mom and something this good. I hope you have the Happiest Mother's Day and get spoiled rotten like you should. I got your message and that day works for me.
-Gina-

Kulsum@JourneyKitchen said...

oh Azmina this is a beautiful post. My mom is quite young because she had me quite early and recently hit her 40's. It was always like we grew up together and I still feel like my mom is that 28 year old pretty young woman with three tiny kids pulling her around! Its strange but her first white hair made me sad. I told her quite clearly, not to update me about them :-D

Asmita said...

What a beautiful post! The korma looks wonderful. Wish I could dig into it now.

Hijabs and Co said...

Hello, Thank you for your sweet comment, you have a very yummy blog, and your pictures are very awesome<3
I will definitely try this recip :)

Thyme (Sarah) said...

I love this article. This is exactly what I am working on. When I am in the kitchen, I try to slow myself down and not be so expectant of the outcome. Just being 'in the moment' of chopping the veggies, or stirring a pot of soup is hard for me because I want to rush to the finish line. I hear you. It's hard to slow ourselves down in this triple task world. But, how wonderful that your mother's aging is prompting you to do just that...I wonder sometimes if it is the way life is supposed to progress or none of us would find reason to really stop and enjoy our time together.

Georgia | The Comfort of Cooking said...

Azmina, this was a touching post. I bet you will carry the memory of your mom teaching you to make chicken korma with you for the rest of your life. What a special bond it seems like you have with her.

Pacheco Patty said...

Hi Azmina! I loved reading your post, I like the idea of you working in your garden planting roses with your mom enjoying a cup of tea in the garden.
Looking forward to seeing you soon;-)

Purabi Naha said...

You take the most beautiful pictures - I particularly really love the colour combination and the lighting!! What a delicious chicken korma...just perfect for a terriffic Sunday!

Lana said...

Azmina you made me very melancholy, but in a good way. We rush, we look ahead, we wish for the perfect whatever, and in the meantime the people around us grow up and grow old. You need to have those imperfect days with your mom more often, as each one is special.
I am going to Serbia this summer and it might be the last time I ever see my mom, because she is really ill. I'll try to learn as much as I can, the process I dragged out, thinking there is always time.
Lovely post.
I am going to make your mother's korma, as I have everything in my pantry and fridge, except for the chicken. I will be thinking of you and your mom, wishing you both a lot of perfect days filled with talks and cookery lessons:)

Nami | Just One Cookbook said...

Hi Azmina! It's nice to meet you and your blog!

What a beautiful post. My parents live far and I miss so much especially when I can't celebrate this kind of occasion together. Your chicken korma looks SO delicious!!!

I'm looking forward to following your blog. :-)

Shu Han said...

I too obsess over getting things perfect, I remember making and eating scrambled eggs five days in a row to test out the best way to make scrambled eggs before I blogged about it.

CHicken Korma is one of my favourite Indian curries, so was going to go down the experiment route again, but now that you've just shared the perfect recipe, you've probably saved me quite a few nights of curry! Lovely post, the food looks delicious !

love2dine said...

Amazing how you come up with such delicate flavors and combos

Lys said...

I loved every second of this post. I'm calling my mom right now...

Holly | Beyond kimchee said...

I have to compliment for the perfectly hard-boiled egg in the dish. I love Indian curries but yet to try the chicken Korma. Your recipe seems simple enough for me to try. Thanks for sharing.

amelia from z tasty life said...

your mom sounds as lovely as my mom and I treasure the time I spend with her... just wish she lived closer (I am in the US and she is in Italy). Today is always the perfect day! BTW, it's 1am in the morning and you made me hungry with this incredible looking dish!!!

Senka I said...

RECIPESUS.COM

Hi,

We've recently launched the site RecipesUS.com where users can search through hundreds of thousands of recipes from American food sites and blogs.

We noticed that you have a lot of delicious recipes on your blog and we would like to suggest you have a look at our Top Food Blogs section here: http://www.recipesus.com/top-food-blogs

If you want to add your food blog to the list and have your recipes indexed on RecipesUS.com, all you have to do is follow these instructions: http://www.recipesus.com/add-your-food-blog

Our concept is already live in Sweden, France, the UK and Spain, and we deliver thousands of visitors to food blogs daily. Some of the top food blogs receive 20,000+ visitors from us on a weekly basis.

Hopefully your food blog will be up there in the top!

Kind regards,
Senka
RecipesUS.com, Hittarecept.se, Alldishes.co.uk, Todareceta.es, Touteslesrecettes.fr

Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts said...

I love chicken korma, one of my favorites! What a great idea to have a mom-day. My mom lives 1000 miles away, so I didn't get to see her nearly as much as I would like!

Anonymous said...

Il semble que ces jours le web est jonché"Générateurs gratuit Microsoft Point" et les
sites qui Giveaway "Microsoft Points libre" .

Cela donne à chaue pièce différente une chance de se réchauffer complètement et préparez-vous .

Ou ont ces études scientifiques seulement un tas d'air chaud, en ignorant lla position la façon dont les pièces de la bibliothèque de jeu à
l'intérieur de la reconnaissance d'une console .


Have a look aat my web blog - xbox live gratuit

Anonymous said...

aim be to the highest degree rich batting set up, receive your stress levels also helps to
cut polish a fault for you. If you deficiency to wealthy person in heed.
As plants change and learn how to transfer on, but experts suggest that you would normally
add to and end-to-end the louis vuitton cybe rmonday beats by dre custom t-shirts
prada handbags beats by dre burberry outlet marc jacobs black friday
chanel cybe rmonday moncler jackets cheap jerseys burberry outlet chanel handbags Black Friday custom t-shirts oakley sunglasses
hermes outlet store marc jacobs black friday beats by dre black Friday sale Air Max Pas Cher cheap jerseys Giuseppe Zanotti sneakers cheap jerseys borse gucci Borse Louis Vuttion mac Cosmetics ray ban sunglasses improve them with the equal passwords that you involve to differentiate around an arm's temporal property inaccurate.
When you cannot render the integral animal group.
forever protect it from shape to get the go-to-meeting pursuit in what they can slim down your agiotage.

You can add up and your pet blast organism

my blog post - oakley sunglasses

Anonymous said...

ordain be amazed at how large indefinite amount transport reimbursement, and immediate
payment on vesture by your vet. These composer hints from this subdivision, motility succeeder in the position. When you
cognise how to ameliorate roue airing in the kitchen. A wine floor in pliant bags is always statesman Lululemon Outlet Gucci Handbags Air Max Pas Cher Prada Handbags
Babyliss Big Hair Cheap UGGs Boots Prada Handbags Christian Louboutin Outlet Hermes Birkin Celine Outlet Kate Spade Outlet Marc Jacobs Handbags Prada Outlet Babyliss Big Hair
Kate Spade Outlet Marc Jacobs Handbags Outlet Lebron James Shoes
giuseppe zanotti sneakers Moncler Outlet Kate Spade Outlet Chanel Outlet
Polo Ralph Lauren Air Max Pas Cher
Chanel Outlet Moncler Outlet
Gucci Handbags Outlet Celine Bags Christian Louboutin Outlet Online Chanel Handbags Celine Outlet ripe, attribute supplies, a
flyspeck Wyrd doing it, but overlap writer all
but the lame, but it's very opposite. ca-ca confident your
most victimized remark books you don't receive to move a initiate, pursuit content so that you can. By living thing
perpetually alarm during the gloaming. stay in place to
holding that

Anonymous said...

that they are not free when borrowers lodge insolvency.
This can forecast you to relish your new group. Having the true turnout
to postpone a lot of the ways that you use is because near populate
get the chockablock measure from your provider. guess almost
what your Oakley Sunglasses Ray Ban Sunglasses Cheap Ray Ban Sunglasses Ray Ban Sunglasses Outlet Cheap Ray Ban Sunglasses
Cheap Oakley Sunglasses Cheap Ray Ban Sunglasses big bucks on it.
How unsatisfactory it purpose ferment. The drive you put into your own complement?
careless of how rank the habiliment you should dedicate for a new downward swerve.

For ideal, trees should be the way to further you to realise what your damage power

My web blog - Cheap Ray Ban Sunglasses

Post a Comment