When I hear the word ‘korma’, I think of the korma that has been altered by curry houses – like so many Asian dishes – for the Western palate: a boneless chicken curry finished with cream. I tasted a tiny mouthful of this once out of curiosity and, while it wasn’t unpleasant, I couldn’t understand why they didn’t stick to the original. The korma I grew up with had an aroma that took over the house and hit you in the face when you walked into the kitchen. It is the type of curry we introduce to children when they are very young – it is the mildest of curries, but also one of the tastiest by far. It is cooked with meat on the bone, in a rich sauce and finished with boiled eggs. It is one of the recipes that says ‘home’ to me, because nobody cooks this dish like Mum does.
- 5 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 large cinnamon stick
- 3 bay leaves
- 5 whole cardamom pods
- 1 whole star anise
- 10 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 7.5cm piece of ginger, peeled
- 2 tsp fine sea salt
- 2 large onions, finely chopped
- 200ml water
- 4 chicken thighs
- 4 chicken drumsticks
- 6 green chillies, split lengthways and seeds removed for less heat
- 8 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and quartered
Put a large pan over a medium heat, and add the butter and oil. Once the oil is hot, put in the cinnamon stick, bay leaves, cardamom pods and star anise. Heat until the spices darken slightly.
Blitz the garlic and ginger in a food processor, and add a little water so that they form a paste, then add this to the pan with the salt. Cook gently over a low heat for 10 minutes.
Now add the onions and cook gently for another 20 minutes. Add the 200ml water and continue to cook gently until the onions melt down completely. To help the process along you can use a potato masher.
Be sure to keep stirring and making sure the bottom doesn’t catch. What you don’t want to do is colour the onions. Add water 100ml at a time if it starts to catch.
Now add the chicken to the pan, cover and leave it to cook over a medium heat, which should take around 15 minutes. Once the chicken is cooked, add the eggs and cook for 10 minutes more. Finally, add the split green chillies.
This is best served with hot basmati rice.