Quick Saturday night visit to India - Chicken Korma and Lamb Bhuna


It was a kids' weekend, hubby's two teenage boys come and stay with us every other weekend and I usually cook a big family meal for us on Saturday night. It's an opportunity to catch-up on their news and spend some time together as a family. And mainly for me, it's a chance to cook for three hungry and appreciative boys.

Lately I've challenged the kids' taste buds a bit more than I used to. I used to stick to safe things like pasta and chicken, but after our visit last summer to Finland where they obediently ate and seemingly also enjoyed everything from my mother's moose and reindeer to my sister's seafood paella and fried vendace on the market in Helsinki, I've decided that anything I can cook they can eat. And so far it seems they do.

This menu was not particularly out there, any English boy eats Indian food, Chicken Tikka Masala apparently being the most popular dish in the UK.

I did lamb bhuna and chicken korma, roast potatoes (not very Indian I admit, but in the UK it's ok to serve roast potatoes with a wedding cake) and basmati rice with saffron. It all turned out great, lamb was soft, chicken was moist, I always opt for thigh because I just find it tastier and less dry than breast.

Lamb bhuna (original recipe)

(4-5 people)

2 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
3 teaspoons whole coriander seeds
1/2-1 teaspoon crushed chilli flakes
2 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
1 teaspoon whole fenugreek seeds
4 shallots or 2 small onions, finely chopped
thumb sized piece fresh ginger root, grated
3-4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
half a can of chopped tomatoes or 2 medium tomato, peeled and chopped
1kg diced lamb leg
salt and pepper

Fry the spices on a hot pan until they are a shade darker. Cool and grind into a powder using a mortar and pestle. Heat oil in a wide non-stick lidded casserole dish over medium heat. Add onion, ginger and garlic and fry for 5 minutes until golden brown. Add tomato and stir until the tomatoes are reduced to a thick paste.

Add the ground roasted spices, add lamb and salt, stir and cook for another 5 minutes. Stir in 250 ml of just-boiled water. Cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer gently for about 80 minutes or until the lamb is tender.

Remove the lid, increase the heat to high and cook, stirring continuously until the sauce has reduced to the point where it clings to the meat. Serve with rice and side dishes of your choice.

Chicken Korma (4-5 people) (original recipe

8 skinless and boneless chicken thighs (or breast), diced
vegetable oil
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium onions, chopped
thumb size piece of ginger, minced
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon of turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoon of cumin
2 teaspoon of ground coriander
400 ml tomato passata
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup ground almonds
1.2 cup plain yogurt
fresh parsley or coriander to garnish

Fry onion, garlic and ginger in a large casserole dish over a medium heat for until soft, stirring occasionally. This will take about 6 miutes. Add all the spices and cook continuously stirring for another minute or two.

Add the chicken stock, the passata and the ground almonds. Add the chicken and simmer for 10-12 minutes until the chicken is cooked. You can check if the chicken is cooked by inserting and knife - no pink should be showing. Stir in the cream and yogurt and check the seasoning. Garnish with fresh parsley or coriander.

My versatile roast potatoes

Any amount and variety of potato you need - I often use red potatoes
Salt and pepper
Corn flower
Vegetalble oil
Herbs and spices matching the rest of the meal
Salt and pepper

Peel and roughly chop potatoes to large chunks. Parboil in salted water until almost cooked. Drain in a colander and let cool for a while. Sprinkle on some corn flour and shake in the colander to distribute the corn flour and to break the edges for more taste and crunch.

Pour vegetable oil on an oven tray, so that the whole surface is just covered. Add the potatoes, season them with salt and pepper and add any spices or herbs you like. Turn the potatoes around in the oil until they are evenly covered with oil and spices.

For this Indian meal I used a bit of cumin, coriander and garam masala with salt and pepper. For a Greek meal use oregano or Greek herb mix and so on.

Roast in 200 C until beautifully brown and crispy on the outside! This will take about 45-50 min. You can turn them over halfway through the roasting, but it isn't really necessary.

Empty plates and full tummies.

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