Sometimes even the most traditional of recipes can stand some adjusting.
Using a tomato-less version of korma -- a rich, nut-based sauce -- allows the subtler flavors of saffron, almond, garam masala and cream to stand out.
- 1/2 cup heavy (whipping) cream, slightly warm
- 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
- 1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 2 tablespoons finely choppped fresh cilantro
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
- 1/2 cup blanched almonds, slivered or coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 2 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger root
- 5 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
In a shallow bowl or resealable container, combine the warm cream and saffron. Set aside.
Meanwhile, pat the chicken dry and cut it crosswise into 1-inch-thick strips. Add the chicken to the saffron cream along with the cilantro, salt and cayenne pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 8 hours.
Meanwhile, in a blender, puree the almonds, water and garam masala until fairly smooth. Set aside.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the ghee or oil. Add the ginger and garlic and stir-fry until golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the chicken mixture, reduce the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 12 to 15 minutes. The chicken should be almost but not quite cooked through.
Add the almond mixture, return to a simmer and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Serve immediately.
From "The Turmeric Trail" by Raghavan Iyer (St. Martin's Press, 2002).
Tested by Renee Schettler.
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