Curries don’t always need to be stirred in a pot. They don’t always have to be rich in masala. They don’t have to be rich in fat. They don’t have to be tedious to make. Rather, curries can taste great even when baked…yes baked! The trick however is a good flavourful marination that will ensure that your baked curry tastes as good as the regular one. The textures may be different but the taste would be nearly the same. But before I begin with the recipe for this korma, there are a few things you need to know about it. To begin with, it is
A mild curry
Packed with flavours
Low on fat
No fuss, well almost
I got inspired by this recipe. The moment I saw it, I immediately knew that I had to turn it in to a korma. My recipe for korma had to be revamped to turn it into a baked one. This recipe uses minimum amount of oil and using hung yogurt ensures that you need to use no cream at all! Feel free to go for full fat yogurt if you may. This is not a curry that requires time or one that needs to be planned as a weekend project. You can enjoy this curry on any day of the week. All that you need to do is ‘make’ hung yogurt by leaving yogurt on a sieve lined with cheese cloth or muslin cloth in the refrigerator over night (or maybe, you can use Greek yogurt instead). Prepare the marinade and marinate the chicken and you have a great meal waiting for you on a busy week day. I prefer to serve it with Malabar parotha, which are layered flaky flat bread, pickled onions or kachumber salad i.e. an onion, cucumber and tomato salad with a squeeze of lemon juice and a little salt. Making a curry was never this easy and so much fun!
¾ C Yogurt (I used low fat)
6 pieces (600 grams) Chicken Thighs, skinless & on bones
1½ tbsp Lemon Juice
¾ C sliced Onions
2 tbsp Oil or Ghee
3 Green Chillies
¼ C chopped Fresh Cilantro (Coriander)
1 tsp Ginger Paste
1 tsp Garlic Paste
½ tsp Garam Masala (adjust the amount accordingly to the strength of the masala)
½ tsp Chilli Powder (adjust to taste)
2 tsp Coriander Powder
Salt to taste (I had used ¾ tsp)
1 ½ tbsp Almond meal (Almond powder)
A few strands Saffron
1/3 C + 2 tbsp warm Milk
Take a sieve and place it over a vessel that can hold it over the rim. Line the sieve with muslin cloth (hanging it loose over the edges) and pour the whipped yogurt onto it. Gently cover the yogurt with the cloth and set the vessel in the fridge over-night to attain hung yogurt. The vessel will catch all the drips. (Feel free to use Greek yogurt if available)
Add the saffron strands to 2 tbsp of warm milk and keep aside. (I keep it aside for at least an hour and half to intensify the flavour)
Heat oil in a pan and fry the sliced onions till light brown in colour. Drain excess oil and keep them on an absorbent sheet. Set aside.
Wash and pat dry the chicken pieces. Make two deep parallel slit marks diagonally (with an inch gap between the two slits) across the plump side of the thigh pieces. In a baking dish arrange the chicken pieces and pour the lemon juice over it. Marinate for 10 – 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, using a grinder, make a smooth paste (marinade) with the hung yogurt, fried onions, ginger paste, garlic paste, saffron milk, fresh coriander, garam masala, green chillies, red chilli powder, coriander powder and almond meal. Transfer the marinade to a bowl and add the milk. Stir the marinade well to have a smooth consistency.
Pour the marinade all over the chicken. Ensure that all pieces are well coated. And also that the marinade goes deep into the incisions as well.
Cover with a click wrap and refrigerate it for at least six hours. I prefer to keep the chicken marinated over-night. (More the marinated time, more succulent the chicken tends to be)
Remove the baking dish from the refrigerator half an hour before you intend to bake the chicken. Remove the cling wrap and bake the chicken uncovered at 180 degree for 45 – 50 minutes or till the chicken is done. Serve it with the bread of your choice or with potatoes and veggies.
Note: I prefer using chicken on bone for curries since they add flavor to it. Feel free to use boneless thighs.
Note: Do not compromise on any of the ingredients. Saffron, yogurt and spices are fundamental to a korma recipe.
Serves – 3 – 4