Special – What I cooked today (家常便饭系列)- 22-7-2013–Korma Chicken (科尔马鸡肉)

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UPDATED POST ON 16-2-2015 – Update with another set of images since i cooked the dish today.

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On 22 July, 2013, white rice served with:

  1. Korma Vegetable and Chicken       (蔬菜及鸡肉科尔马)
  2. Blanched Ladies Finger                 (青烫羊角豆)
  3. Chinese Cabbage (Napa) Soup       ( 大白菜汤)

To day, I have decided to cook Korma Chicken and Vegetable to expose my kids to curry dishes. As per my daughter’s request, no additional dishes were needed since she said she liked the dish and they have the Chinese Cabbage (Napa) soup which I cooked for lunch.

I agreed with her and just blanched some ladies finger to go with the Korma dish. If you want detailed pictorial instructions on cooking the Chinese Cabbage (Napa) Soup, you can follow the link above to Guaishushu’s Facebook Page.

 


KORMA CHICKEN AND VEGETABLES

 

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INTRODUCTION

I first tasted Korma chicken during my university days in Kuala Lumpur. It was in a Malay store  and when I take the first bite, I immediately fell in love with it as it is not spicy hot and the chicken is full of coriander fragrances. It had always in my mind because unlike other chicken curry dishes, the curry is beige in colour (depending on the spice mix) as opposed to the reddish yellow colour.

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Korma is actually a dish from South or Central Asia such as India and Pakistan. It is essentially cooked with a variety of spice powders of which the two most important spices are coriander  powder and cumin powder. It differ from the normal curry spice mix in that the ratio of turmeric powder is very small whereas for curry, the major portion of the spice mix is turmeric thus causes the dish to be yellowish in colour. In Malaysia, the Korma was cooked and thickened with coconut milk as compared to India and Pakistan where yoghurt were used. Nuts and peas  (such as cashew nuts and almonds) usually added to further thicken the gravy and enhance the taste.

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WHY THIS DISH

Recently, I found that my kids start to like curry dishes. However, before they eat the curry dishes, they will get ready a cup of cold water, take the curry chicken, dip into the cold water and start eating it. They still cannot take spicy hot food that were cooked with chilli. In view of this, I am thinking of letting them to try some Malay and Indian dishes that were not spicy hot. The first thing that comes to my mind is Korma chicken (ayam kurma in Malay). Therefore, last Saturday, when I frequented one  of the Indian Muslim spice stalls in Geylang Serai Singapore, I asked the same lady who gave me the Sarawak Laksa spice mix to pack me one Korma spice mix. You can read my previous “spice encounter” HERE.

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Another reason that I cooked this dish is for purposes of contributing to a food community in Google Plus whereby members were encouraged to contribute halal dishes during the month of Ramadan.

I love to eat Korma chicken. However, today, I have used more vegetables than meat in my Korma.  As my kids don’t really like to eat meat, hence I have used about 5 vegetables to make the dish. Should it be called a vegetable or chicken Korma is entirely up to you since it have almost equal portion of meats and vegetables in the dish. Smile

As this Korma dish uses small chicken chunks from drumsticks and vegetables, it is rather easy to cook, as such braising is consider not really necessary as compared to the traditional braising of lamb or big chicken pieces.

 


KORMA DISHES DEFINED

As per Wikipedia,

Korma, kormaa, qorma, khorma, or kurma is a dish originating in South Asia or Central Asia which can be made with yogurt, cream, nut and seed pastes or coconut milk. It is a type of curry.

It is a characteristic Indian dish which can be traced back to the 16th century and to the Mughal incursions into present-day Northern India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Classically, a korma is defined as a dish where meat or vegetables are braised with water, stock, and yogurt or creamy azid (the name is in fact derived from the Hindi and Urdu words for “braise”). The technique covers many different styles of korma (azid).

The flavour of a korma is based on a mixture of spices, including ground coriander and cumin, combined with yogurt kept below curdling temperature and incorporated slowly and carefully with the meat juices. Traditionally, this would have been carried out in a pot set over a very low fire, with charcoal on the lid to provide all-round heat. A korma can be mildly spiced or fiery and may use lamb, chicken, beef or game; some kormas combine meat and vegetables such as spinach and turnip. The term Shahi (English: Royal), used for some kormas indicates its status as a prestige dish, rather than an everyday meal, and its association with the court.

 


WHAT IS REQUIRED?

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  • 1.5 cups of tomatoes cut into big pieces;
  • 1.5 cups of onions cut into big pieces;
  • 1.5 cups of potatoes cut into big pieces;
  • 1.5 cups of carrots cut into big pieces;
  • 1.5 cups of celery cut into big pieces;
  • 750 grams of chicken tights cut into big pieces;

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  • 200 gram of Korma mix (readily available in most Indian provision shops or spices stalls). However, If you can’t get hold of the ready mix Korma spice, the two most spices are coriander powder and cumin powder in the ration of about 4:2. All other spices shall include cardamom, anise powder, fennel powders, turmeric all of which shall need a 1-2 teaspoon only).
  • 1 cup of yoghurt (optional but I have used it as I like the korma to be rich in flavour but slightly sour).
  • 2 cups of fresh coconut milk .
  • 1/2 cups of cooking oil or ghee or butters.

 


STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • In a big mixing bowl, put the Korma spice powder and gradually add in water until it form a paste.
  • Have about 2-3 big tablespoons Korma spice mix and marinate for at least 15-30 minutes. As the chicken is quite small, therefore 15-30 minutes is deemed sufficient.

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  • In a big pot, put some cooking oils and fried the Korma spice mix until the fragrance starts to permeates the space.
  • Add 3 big cups of water, stir until the spices are well mixed.
  • Bring to boil until high heat. Note that as this is quite concentrated, you have to constantly stir it until it boils. This is to avoid the spice getting burnt in the bottom of the pot. Once boiled, turn the heat to medium or slow heat.

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  • Add in the potatoes, celery, carrots and onions and boiled for about 10 minutes;
  • Add in chicken chunks and boiled for about 20 minutes;
  • Add in tomato and boiled for another 5 minutes;
  • Add in yoghurt and coconut milk, seasonings (salt and sugar). Once boil, off the heat and let it sit in the pot for at least 5-10 minutes to let the ingredients further absorbed the gravy.
  • Garnish with fresh coriander leaves or mint and served with hot rice. Drizzle more yoghurt or coconut milk on top of the dish if necessary.

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CONCLUSIONS

  • Korma dish is a common dish among the Indian households in South and Central Asian. it is equally popular in Malaysia and Singapore especially among the Malay and Indian races. It is a form of curry dishes of which the main spices are coriander powder and cumin. It differs from curry in that the proportion of turmeric is very small and it can be cooked without chilli those making it rather “kids friendly”. The gravy were usually thickened with yoghurt or coconut milks and at times nuts such as cashew nuts and almonds were added.
  • The dish that were illustrated today uses lots of vegetables including celery which is not a common vegetable included in the curry dishes. However, celery is definitely a good choice as it could withstand rather long hours of cooking though the strong celery flavour were masked by the strong Korma aroma. As I have use drumstick meat, it is rather easy to cook and the texture is soft as compared to the breast meat.

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Hope you LIKE the post today and cheers.


 

 

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What I cooked today (家常便饭系列)- 13-7-2013–Tomato Yimin Noodles (茄汁伊面)

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On 13 July, 2013. – Tomato noodles

Today’s dinner, i have cooked the a noodle dish which is a fusion dish between the famous Sarawak tomato noodles and Kuala Lumpur Style fried Noodles (Cantonese Yimin).

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The main difference between the two is the gravy and type of noodles.

Sarawak Tomato Noodles Cantonese Seafood Yimin
Type of noodles Fresh fine egg noodles fried in oil usually just before serving Ready made fried egg noodles in a round shape. Noodles are coarser
Gravy Tomato puree or tomato sauce with no egg added Clear gravy with beaten eggs added

Since I have nothing much to comment on what I cooked today, I have decided to have my cooking illustration in this post.

Authentic Sarawak Tomato noodles

In Kuching, Sarawak, Malaysia, the tomato noodles are a type of egg noodles, deep fried and soaked in a gravy made from tomato puree and sauce. The gravy is clear and orange in color.

pic courtesy : http://mile.mmu.edu.my

In Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, West Malaysia, there is another type of Cantonese noodles, called Cantonese Yi Min, a ready made deep fried noodles and soaked in a clear whitish egg gravy and cooked with seafood and meat.

pic courtesy: http://wongpenny.files.wordpress.com

The uncooked Cantonese Yimin is like the picture below and I bought it in a Singapore provision shop that sells other types of Chinese dried goods.

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WHAT IS NEEDED?

Most if not all ingredients except the noodles (Yin Min) are substitutable to your liking. Measurements is for reference and for cooking a meal of 2 adults and 2 kids.

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  • 250 grams of shrimps or/and cuttlefish
  • 250 grams of sliced pork/chicken
  • 250 grams of fish cakes cut into slices
  • 200 grams of fresh leafy vegetable such as choy sim

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  • 1 8 inches diameter fried egg noodles (Yimin) usually available in Chinatown especially Cantonese provision shops
  • 100 g of tomato ketchup;
  • 4 eggs – crack and slightly beaten
  • 50  g of corn starch/potato starch
  • 2 tablespoons of white vinegar
  • Seasonings such as salt, flavour enhancers
  • 5 cloves of garlics and shallots – chopped into small pieces
  • Pinches of salt and 1 tablespoon of sugar.

STEPS OF PREPARATION

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  • In a big and dip plate, placed your noodles in the centre.
  • In a small mixing bowl, place tomato paste/puree and corn starch, add half cup of water, stir until well mix and set aside for later use. Your tomato starch solution should be orange creamy in colour. You can also add the seasonings of your choice at this point of time).

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  • In a hot frying pan, put 3 tablespoon of oil, fried the chopped garlics and shallots until golden brown or until aromatic.
  • Add the sliced meat (pork of chicken) and fried for about 1 minutes;
  • Add the sliced fish cake, cuttlefish (if any), chopped vegetable and fried for another 1 minutes;
  • Add 1.5 cups of hot water to the pan and bring to boil under high heat.

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  • Add in tomato starch solution and bring to boil.
  • Add in the prawns, beaten eggs. Pour your beaten eggs slowly into the boiling tomato gravy, use a chopstick of fork to slightly make a circular motion in the gravy such that the egg will be broken into tiny pieces in the gravy.
  • Add in vinegar, sugar, salt and any other seasonings that you like (e.g fish sauce, light soya sauce, mushrooms concentrate, pepper etc.) and bring to boil.
  • Once boiled, slowly scoop out your gravy and pour on top of the noodles. The noodles will gradually soften. You can prepare your gravy first and pour on the noodles only when you want to have your meals.

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  • Let it soak for about 5 minutes before putting it in separate plates for individual servings. This will help the noodles absorbed the gravy making the noodles tastier.
  • Serve hot in individual plate.

 

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CONCLUSION

  • This is the first time I published a cooking illustration in “What I cooked today series”. Cooking illustration that are less complicated will be published in this blog’s sister Facebook Page – Guaishushu’s Page. Please refer to this page for simple cooking illustration for daily meals.
  • This noodle is neither the famous Sarawak tomato noodles nor the famous Cantonese Yimin noodles. It is a fusion of the two. I have used the Cantonese Yimin noodles and soaked in tomato egg sauce. The end product is better than I expected. As the Cantonese Yimin noodles are coarser, they are able to absorb more gravy making the noodles tastier. The texture of the noodles are better and will not break too easily as compared to the Sarawak tomato noodles.
  • As for non-Asian readers, shall I call this Asian Style spaghettis? You will like it as the noodles are soft and smooth with tomato fragrance.

Hope you LIKE the post and let me know after you try out the dish.

Cheers and have a nice day.

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