Don't be put off by the number of ingredients in this lovely korma (and quite different from other kormas posted) from Padma Lakshmi's "Tangy Tart Hot & Sweet." Most of them require little preparation, although this is definitely a time when you will want to assemble all ingredients ahead of time to ease preparation. All of the spices can be found at Indian markets or spice markets. The tamarind pulp can be purchased in compressed bricks at ethnic markets; Lakshmi prefers Thai tamarind as it tends to be less dry. Serve the stew on a bed of plain basmati rice. By way of the Chicago Tribune. A lot of the prep can be done while the chicken is marinating, thus shortening the total cooking time.
- 2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into stew chunks
- 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
- 1 ounce tamarind pulp (a golf ball sized piece)
- 1 cup boiling water
- 10 green cardamom pods (seeds removed from pods, pods discarded)
- 6 cloves
- 3 star anise, whole
- 1⁄2 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 4 plum tomatoes, each cut into 8 pieces
- 1 pint half-and-half
- 3 tablespoons sesame oil
- 3 -4 hot red chili peppers, dried
- 3 black cardamom pods
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 9 shallots, thinly sliced
- 1⁄2 cup raw cashews, crushed in a mortar and pestle
- 1 inch piece gingerroot, minced
- 1 teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Combine the chicken and vinegar in a large bowl; cover; refrigerate 30 minutes.
- Place tamarind in a small bowl; cover with boiling water; let stand 20 minutes.
- Combine the green cardamom seeds, cloves, star anise and peppercorns in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder; grind until combined.
- Mix the ground spices into the tamarind gravy; set aside.
- Combine the tomatoes and half-and-half in a food processor or blender; puree; set aside.
- Heat the oil in a deep, heavy skillet over medium heat; stir in the red chilies, black cardamom and cinnamon stick and cook 2 minutes.
- Add the garlic, shallots, cashews and ginger; cook, stirring, 6-8 minutes.
- Add the reserved tamarind and ground-spice mixture; cook, stirring, 2 minutes.
- Add the reserved tomato mixture; turn heat to medium-low.
- Stir in the garam masala; cook, until mixture thickens, about 15-20 minutes. Season with the salt.
- Add the chicken; cook, stirring, 7 minutes.
- Note: When soaking the tamarind, push down on the pulp with the back of a spoon; the tamarind will begin to break down; after soaking time is over, break up the tamarind with fingers or a spoon, then push the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve.