In 2010, my family and I spent approximately 4 weeks in India, mostly in Delhi, but with visits to Jaipur, Agra, and some small communities in between. We even managed to spend a lovely morning visiting with and learning about Bulbuls, the Indian equivalent of Brownies, not the sopngbird.
While not untravelled, I experienced a bit of culture shock, stress of over crowding, and the inevitable food issues that arise from travelling with a then 7/8 year old.
The food was delicious, plentiful, fresh, and cheap, but man, I don’t think I’ve ever eaten so much pizza on on trip before.
Chicken Korma, with Paneer
The Paneer :: So easy! I don’t have a cheese press, so my paneer isn’t as “solid” as the store bought stuff. As a result, I add mine in the last 5 minutes of cooking the curry. But, oh my. Yum!
Bring your milk up to 110 degrees celcius, or whatever that is in F. In Canada, we can buy our milk in bags, and I use one bag for this. I think it’s about 1.3 litres. Remove from heat and pour in approx 1/4 cup of white vinegar. Stir. Watch the magic of curds and whey – or old school cottage cheese in whey, which is yum in it’s own right.
Pour off the whey. Strain your curds. I use my yogurt strainer which does a great job, has a lid and tub, and can be kept in the fridge. This is key as the longer it strains the more solid your paneer will be. You can also use cheese cloth tied to the kitchen tap. It works great, but does tend to get in the way. I let mine sit for 7 hours, then removed it to a cutting board and sliced.
The Paste :: You can made this way ahead of time. Start by pan toasting a tablespoon each of cumin and coriander. The pan should be un-oiled, so pay attention, stir often and don’t burn. If possible, use the whole – not ground – versions. I’ve used both this time as it was what was on hand. If using the whole seeds, once toasted, transfer to a mortar and grind until fine.
- 1/2 tsp cayenne
- 1 tsp garam masala
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tbs peanut oil (or your choice if there are allergies)
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 fresh green chiles
- 3 tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut
- 2 tbsp flour (almond if you have it. I didn’t)
- small bit of fresh cilantro (or not. I didn’t have any)
- your toasted spices
Blend away! I used my immersion blender. Word of advice? Don’t do this! I ended up with korma paste stuck in the blades, and ginger that wouldn’t blend. I dug out the ginger and chopped it up on a board and then re-introduced it to the paste.
Put the paste aside until you are ready to use it.
Dinner time! :: Oil a pan and add a goodly chunk of unsalted butter, chopped onion, a chuck of peeled and chopped ginger, a fresh green chile, and cilantro if ya got it. Keep stirring. You can add your chicken at this point, or wait. I added. After a couple of minutes and many stirs, add your fresh korma paste and mix it about. Pour in some coconut milk. Mix, mix, mix. Add a generous pinch of shredded, unsweetened coconut. Almonds are also added, but I often don’t as I rarely have them on hand. If you want veggie, change out your chicken for chick peas or potatoes, and toss in some mushrooms. Simmer until everything is cooked. Add your paneer towards the end, in the last 5 minutes or so because it **will** melt. I found this out the hard way once and ended up eating thick cheesy korma sauce. Granted, it didn’t suck with naan, but …..
Garnish with almonds, cilantro, and plain yogurt if you feel like it.
Eat it up!!!! With rice!!! With Naan!!!
Mine always turns out more brown than red. I’m not sure why, but I think it might have to do with using all coconut milk instead of a coconut milk to water ratio.
It’s still good.