Friday, March 8, 2013

Korma Points

Despite the temperatures outside, I've decided spring is here, and am acting accordingly. Lots of changes made my world topsy-turvy lately, and yesterday I spent the better part of six hours cleaning and reorganizing my apartment in an effort to restore some concrete order to my world.

Declutter. Throw away the trash and debris accumulated from too much junkmail and time spent rushing place to place. Get as much furniture as possible off the wood floors. Shake out the rugs. Sweep the floors. Mop the floors. Old English out the scratches. Dust the surfaces. Vacuum the carpets. Roller brush the upholstery in a vain attempt to remove cat hair. Put everything back. Wipe down the counters. Do the dishes. Now what?
pretty, right?

I was on a domestic streak and didn't want to break it. The only next step was to cook dinner. A delicious, comforting, quasi-healthy dish whose scent would linger and remind me that I am, indeed, capable of great things. This dish hits the spot. Creamy, a little sweet, definitely spicy, and chock full of delicious goodies - I used chicken, sweet potatoes, peas, red pepper, and a liberal amount of golden raisins and cashews. A treasure trove in every bite. 

This recipe marks one of the first times I've ever used the cooking technique of mise-en-place - you know, chopping all my stuff up into cute little bowls BEFORE throwing it in the pan, preventing the usual scramble of chopping and tossing and general mayhem that generally happens in my kitchen experiments. I used a bowl to hold my veggie scraps too, which worked wonders in keeping my counters less cluttered. 

Organization, cleanliness, following a recipe (okay, I smashed two together, but still!)... am I growing up?


Curried Coconut Massaman Chicken Korma Thing

(adapted from this recipe and this recipe)

M-i-P bowl 1:

4 cloves garlic
1 large shallot
3 TBSP minced ginger

Melt 2-3 TBSP ghee in a large saucepan with tall edges. 
Add the ingredients from bowl 1 and saute over med-high heat for 3 minutes or so. 

M-i-P bowl 2:

Approx 1 tsp each:
Cayenne pepper
Curry powder (I added a little more)
Cardamom (1/8 tsp)
Garam Masala
3 bay leaves

Add your bowl of spices to the pan. Saute 1-2 minutes to release the flavors. 
Stir in 1/2 cup chicken or veggie stock, squeeze of lime juice, 2 TBSP fish sauce and 1 TBSP brown sugar, and let it come to a boil in the pan. 

M-i-P bowl 3:

Dice into uniform cubes:
1 red pepper
1 medium sweet potato (the smaller the cubes, the faster it will cook)
2 ripe roma tomatoes
1/2 cup frozen peas (more if you like more peas, I guess)

Add bowl 3 and turn heat to med-low. Let mixture come to a simmer, then add 1 can tomato paste (the tiny one) and 1 can coconut milk (14 oz). Cook, stirring occasionally, until chicken and vegetables are cooked through and sauce is thickened. Add as many cashews and golden raisins as you want. 
Serve over rice or couscous. 

Makes enough probably for 4-6 at one go, or if you're me and my roommate, at least three meals.