When I was visiting my fiancé, Y, in Dallas a few weekends ago, we went to see one of his Indian friends from school, Sunny. We headed to Sunny’s apartment one night to play board games, and being the nosy visitor I am, I stuck my head into his kitchen when I smelled a strong meaty and herbal fragrance. To my delightful surprise, there was a pot of freshly cooked curry chicken sitting on the stove.
Sunny, seeing my piqued curiosity, offered me a bite of the chicken. After one bite I knew I had to dig into his pantry for the spices, and he graciously showed me his complete collection and educated me on the difference between regional Indian cuisine as well as food from the specific province where he is from. Even more, he gave me the insider scoop on a fool proof recipe for all Indian curry dishes. He uses a garlic ginger paste and masala powder along with some turmeric and cumin, combined with plain Greek yogurt for the base of every single one of his curries. So I gave it a try at home, and it turned out pretty authentic tasting, much better than the curry paste I used to buy.
Note: You can buy garlic ginger paste in groceries stores with an international section, or just use real garlic and ginger to substitute like I did.
I love all our international friends and culturally well-rounded foodies. There is so much history and culture behind regional cuisine. Give it a try, you’ll find yourself not only falling in love with the food but also with the people behind it.
Chicken Korma Masala
- 5 chicken breast, chopped into bite sized pieces
- 1 Tbsp of garlic ginger paste (substitute with 4 cloves of garlic, minced, 1/2 inch piece of ginger, minced)
- korma masala powder, 1/2 cup
- 1 cup of plain Green yogurt
- 1 tbsp turmeric
- 1 tbsp cumin
- 1 cup of red lentils
Heat up canola oil in a pan and sautee garlic and ginger until fragrant.
Add chicken breast and saute until mostly cooked on the outside. Add masala powder and stir to coat evenly. Add turmeric and cumin. Add yogurt to coat.
Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil and add red lentils. Cook on low medium heat for 7 minutes until soft.
Add cooked lentils to the pan of chicken curry and mix lentil in. Turn the heat off. Let lentils fully absorb the curry paste.