Sunday, January 22, 2012

Cardamom, my NEW best friend

I've been wanting to cook Indian (dots) food for quite some time now.  I received an Indian cookbook for Christmas and FINALLY decided to cook from it.  All I can say is WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE????  Devan was having a long hard, cold day at work, so I thought a nice home made meal was in order, and what better than something Ive been longing to cook?  I drove all over town searching for my ingredients, using spices Ive never used before.  Also, can we say fresh ginger-root?  By the times the meal was complete, my eyes burned, my stress was through the roof, but the house was filled with the sweet and heavenly aroma of Indian cuisine :)  All served with a nice tall glass of lightly chilled Bordeaux Blanc.

Chicken Korma
1.5 lbs chicken- boneless/skinless breast
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 inch piece fresh ginger root, roughly chopped
1 tbl. oil olive oil
3 green cardamom pods
1 small/med onion, chopped fine
2 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 c. plain low fat yogurt
rice to serve

1. using a sharp knife, remove any visible fat from the chicken breast portions and cut the meat into 1 inch cubes.
2. put the garlic and ginger into a food processor or blender with 2 tbl. of water and process to a smooth, creamy paste.
3. heat the oil in a large heavy pan and cook the chicken cubes for 8-10 minutes, until browned on all sides.  Remove the chicken cubes with a slotted spoon and set aside.
4. add the cardamom and onions to the pan and cook aprox. 5 min over med/med high heat till begin to get tender.
5. stir in the garlic and ginger paste, cumin, and salt and cook, stirring for another 5 minutes.
6. add half the yogurt, stirring in a tbl. at a time to prevent curdling.  Once all has been incorporated, cook over low heat until it has all been absorbed.
7. return the chicken to the pan.  cover and simmer over a low heat for 5-6 minutes, or until the chicken is tender.
8. add the remaining yogurt and simmer for another 5 minutes.
9. serve over your favorite rice

***NOTE*** I couldnt find cardamom pods, so I just used approx 1 tsp of ground.

Masala Beans with Fenugreek
1 small onion
1tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. sesame seeds
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. garlic, crushed
1/4 ground tumeric
1 tsp. salt
2 tbl. olive oil
1 tomato, quartered (roma works well)
1 1/2 c. green beans, blanched
1 bunch fresh fenugreek leaves, stems discarded
4 tbl. chopped fresh cilantro
1 tbl. lemon juice

1. roughly chop the onion, Mix together the cumin and coriander, sesame seeds, chili powder, garlic, tumeric, and salt.
2. put the chopped onion and spice mixture into a food processor or blender, and process for 30-45 seconds until you have a rough paste.
3. in a karahi, wok, or large pan, heat the oil over medium heat and fry the spice paste for about 5 minutes, stirring the mixture occasionally.
4. add the tomato quarters, beans, fresh fenugreek and chopped cilantro to the pan
5. stir fry the contents of the pan for about 5 min, then sprinkle in the lemon juice and serve.

***NOTE***: instead of fresh fenugreek, you can also use 1 tbl. dried.  Fenugreek is readily available from Indian stores and markets.  Also, the term "MASALA" refers to the blending of many spices to create a unique taste.  Households will traditionally make their own blends.

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