A Tale of Two Chickens: Chicken Korma and Chicken Bhuna

It was the best of times

It was the age of wisdom

It was the epoch of belief

It was the season of Light

It was the spring of hope

I had everything before me

That is how I feel about this meal.

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When I was researching Bangladeshi recipes, I saw chicken korma was Bangladeshi in origin and I knew I had make it. I mean, come on, chicken kormaYUM!” Then I kept looking, and saw chicken bhuna, my favorite, and knew I had to make that too.   The issue?

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Two chicken dishes.

I really try not to double up on proteins in the same week if I can help it, especially since I really wanted to do a vegetarian dish this week as well. I had no choice- both dishes must be made.

First the korma. As things were simmering away, I had a mini freak out moment because the recipe had only four spices- ginger, garlic, cardamom and cinnamon– leaving the resulting dish WHITE Could that be right? I swore that Chicken Korma had more flavor than that, and I frantically ran to double check the recipe. As it turns out, the Indian chicken korma that I’m used to is actually quite different from Bangladeshi chicken korma.  Interesting, good to know, and it means that I’ll be making Indian chicken korma at a later date.  I’m not disappointed.

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At note about the korma:  The recipe called for a lot of ghee. Too much, in my opinion. While I’m sure that the buffet korma that I eat is swimming in ghee, I wanted to keep this light (since this type of food tends to feel heavier anyway), so I just used a tablespoon of butter rather than the equivalent of five.

Next, the bhuna.  This dish took a bit more prep time since it required an overnight yogurt marinade. No matter, because once that part was done, the dish cooked itself in around 30 minutes.

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A note about the bhuna:  As I mentioned before, Bangladeshi food is all about the pastes and this dish is the perfect example of how spices mashed into paste perfectly incorporate all the flavors.  The garlic and ginger are mashed up quite well with a pestle, leaving no chunks of either for a smooth, creamy marinade.

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Both dishes were served with rice, which was very, very nice.

Chicken korma- adapted from Panning the Globe

Serves 2

Ingredients

2 chicken thighs and 2 chicken legs, deboned and cut into pieces

2 tsp ginger, grated

2 tsp garlic, crushed

3 cardamom pods, crushed

2 cinnamon sticks

2 TB unsalted butter

½ cup yellow onions, chopped

½ cup cauliflower, chopped

½ cup frozen peas

1 large carrot, peeled and diced

½ cup Greek style yogurt

½ cup chicken stock

Cilantro, to garnish

Directions

1. Sprinkle chicken pieces with ½ teaspoon salt and set aside.

2.  Heat the butter over medium-high heat in a large skillet with a lid. When hot, add the cinnamon sticks and cardamom pods. Cook for about 30 seconds, until the spices start to become fragrant. Add the chopped onions and carrot, ginger and garlic, and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes, until it all starts to soften. Add the chicken pieces and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes, until chicken is no longer pink and has started to brown a bit.

3.  Add cauliflower and stock. Lower heat and simmer, stirring, for a minute or so. Cover skillet and cook at a gentle simmer for 8 minutes. Remove cover and add the yogurt and peas, heating and stirring gently for about a minute. Serve with rice and garnish with cilantro.  Be sure to remove the cinnamon sticks and cardamom pods before serving.

For the Chicken bhuna, adapted from Bangla Recipes

Ingredients

Serves 2

2 chicken legs and 2 chicken thighs

3 TB Greek style yogurt

1 cup onions, sliced

2 tsp chili powder

¼ tsp turmeric

1 tsp coriander

½ tsp cumin

2 tsp garlic

1 TB ginger

1 bay leaf

1” cinnamon stick

Salt and pepper to taste

2 TB coconut oil, for the pan

1 cup chicken stock

Directions

1. Smash the ginger and garlic into a paste. Mix with the yogurt.  Marinate the chicken with the yogurt, ginger and garlic refrigerate overnight.

2. Heat the pan with 1 TB of the oil in medium high and fry the onion till it becomes golden. Take off the fried onion and keep aside.

3. Add the chicken in same pan with salt and rest of spices and stir.

4. Add the stock and cook it under closed lid till the chicken becomes tender and cooked all the way through, which should take about 30-40 minutes.

5.  Once the chicken has cooked, remove the lid and let the sauce reduce to desired thickness.

6. To serve, add the fried onion and cilantro, if desired, and serve with rice.

My favorite was the bhuna, but it was a tough choice.

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Which one would you pick?

Note:  Some news. Distressing news. After enduring tummy troubles for years, I decided to get tested for food sensitivities. The results were not good and I’m afraid that I have to try my hardest to eliminate certain foods from my diet, the main ones being yeast, wheat, dairy and eggs. I will admit that I had a mini-breakdown, not only because I love food so much, but also because I didn’t know what to do about the blog. What was I going to call it- The hungry girl’s guide to eating the world for those who can’t eat anything?

The good news is that these are sensitivities, not allergies and while I don’t believe in taking anything to extremes, in my recipes moving forward, I will try to comply with this new challenge.  I may not always be successful. I mean, I’m not sure there is a way to legitimately make any meringue-like item without eggs. Also, you know I heart whipped cream to an extreme.  And finally, because I don’t believe in doing crazy things like this unless absolutely forced, I will put both the original recipes and my modifications. Why should I make you suffer through my lame substitutions and use no-doubt more expensive ingredients?  The good news, if I had to pick one, is that I’m going to go back to try and remake my favorite dishes the new way.  The kitchen is my lab, and this scientist will do my best to make this work.  And, if I can heal my insides through some sacrifices now, this change may not have to be forever.  There’s my silver lining.


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