A quintessentially English dish, which comes from some hastily scribbled notes made in the mid nineties. Make this with skinless chicken breasts, or pork fillets. You could also use some diced lamb leg. If you’re doing a vegetable version, some hacked up butternut squash and broccoli would be good.
This isn’t a quick fix meal, as you need to make the marinade, do the marinating, and then bake the results, but, with a bit of planning this can be really handy, as you can make the marinade in advance, marinate during the day when you’re at work, and then simply bung it in the oven in the evening.
I liquidise the marinade by shoving the hand blender into the saucepan, which is a lot less washing up than transferring everything to the food processor. If that doesn’t appeal, then just make sure you chop everything finely.
- 25g butter (or ghee, or vegetable oil, but not olive oil as it would taste really, really wrong here)
- 200mL natural (“Greek”) yoghurt – the important thing here is that it needs to be live
- 150mL cream, either cow or coconut (vary the ratio of yoghurt to cream depending on your tastes)
- 4 cloves of garlic, more if you fancy
- enough chilli to add excitement (maybe a level teaspoon chilli flakes, one small vicious chilli, or a couple of larger mild ones)
- 1 large onion
- 50g ground almonds (or cashews or both)
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon crushed cardamom seeds
- a bunch of coriander (both leaves and stalks)
- 500g meat with the fat removed, and chopped up into 1 inch pieces, or about 500g of vegetables
Using a small saucepan, fry the (peeled, chopped) onion in the butter for about 10 minutes. You’re looking for a deep golden colour, so don’t be timid. Don’t be so bold you burn them.
Add the (peeled, sliced) garlic and chilli, frying until the garlic is translucent. Add the turmeric, ginger and cardamom. Fry for another half a minute, then add the coriander stalks, and almonds. Turn off the heat and add the cream and yoghurt. It will smell quite disgusting, but don’t lose heart, it just needs to cook.
You could refrigerate or freeze this mixture. Or even make it in bulk.
Place meat/veg and the sauce in an oven proof dish, and cover with enough marinade to coat everything, but not drown it. Any leftover marinade can go in the freezer for another time. Marinate for one, preferably two, hours at room temperature or all day in the fridge.
Assuming you’re using chicken, about 30 minutes in the oven at 180ºC should do. Veg might need a little longer to soften up, and I think lamb would benefit from longer at a lower temperature. Anyway, check periodically after 20 minutes just to make sure.
Once it’s done, stir in as much of the chopped up coriander leaves as you feel necessary, and maybe garnish with some toasted almonds, and a squirt of lemon juice. Rice or naan.
And cold, cold beer, of course.
You could also thread the pieces of meat onto skewers and barbecue them instead.
As I said, quite an English dish. For some proper kormas, and many other wonderful things, take a look at 50 Great Curries of India by Camellia Panjabi, which is an intelligent and accessible overview of Indian cuisine. (The second edition apparently corrects some of the woeful typos in the first.)