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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Recipe! Veggie Korma

If you've never tasted Indian food then you probably have no idea what you're missing, but let me assure is absolutely delicious. For those of us that are accustomed to the fare of the Western world, the spices and their combinations can seem daunting, even strange.  But trust's absolutely delicious. And cooking any sort of ethnic food often means cooking from scratch and making dishes from whole foods. Essentially, it's a fun way to keep blandness from creeping in around the edges of the anti-anxiety diet, and a delicious way to expand the horizons of your taste buds and culinary skill! (With that said, this recipe is extremely easy. Don't let yourself be daunted!) Neither of my live-in taste testers have any any experience with the flavors and spices of India, but they gave this recipe absolutely rave reviews. We had a guest taste tester for this one - a lady who knows her way around a korma - and she said that this was absolutely divine.

Perhaps one of the most wonderful things about this recipe is that it can be altered and tailored to suit your individual preferences! We made our Korma with chicken, but it was an addition for my carnivorous taste testers and not strictly necessary for anyone who prefers to go meatless. With the chicken removed, the recipe becomes immediately vegan, so perfect for those with strict dietary convictions! Traditionally, korma calls for ground cashews. Unfortunately, we forgot to pick them up at the store, so ours was lacking that particular element. Nevertheless, it was still absolutely delicious. Next time, we wont forget the cashews!! We also ate our korma over brown rice and naan.

Now, always remember that spicing and seasoning is entirely dependent on your tastes. I will tell you what I used as a baseline, but please feel free to expand on my suggestions, particularly if you are a fan of very spicy food! With a velvety smooth sauce, a rich flavor, and a lovely golden color, korma is food fit for a king! This recipe was adapted from All Recipes Without further ado: Vegetable Korma.

Vegetable Korma*

1 1/2 T olive oil, or whatever you prefer to cook with!
1 1/2 small onions, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 yukon gold potatoes, cubed and parboiled until almost fork tender
4 carrots, cubed and parboiled until almost fork tender
1 fresh jalapeno pepper, seeded and diced (2, if you prefer it very spicy)
3 T ground, unsalted cashews
1 4 oz can tomato sauce
1/2 red bell pepper
1/2 green bell pepper
1 can coconut cream (or coconut milk)
2 t salt
1 1/2 T Curry powder
1 1/2 T Garam Masala
1/2 t ginger powder 
1/2 t cayenne pepper
dash of black pepper
dash of cumin
dash of chili powder

If you are adding meat to the recipe, cube and saute with onions over medium-high heat, unless you are adding shrimp. In that case, saute in oil and set aside. Add back in when you add peas, and peppers, in the final 10 minutes of cooking.

1. Heat oil over medium heat for a few minutes before adding onion. Cook onion for a few minutes, then add minced garlic. If you are using fresh ginger instead of powder, add 1 t with the garlic and saute with onions for about a minute.

2. Add potatoes, carrots, jalapeno, cashews, curry powder, garam masala, tomato sauce, salt, pepper, cayenne, ginger powder (if not using fresh), cumin, and chili powder. Simmer (stirring often) until potatoes and carrots are tender, 10 or 20 minutes.

3. Add peppers, peas, and coconut cream or milk. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for at least ten minutes, stirring occasionally. (extra simmering will bring out more of the flavor!)

* Korma could be made with beef, lamb, chicken, or shrimp added.

Thursday, I will teach you how to make the perfect brown rice and whole-wheat naan (an Indian flatbread), so stay tuned and eat well!

-The Calm Cook

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