Kashmir is actually sheep and goat country and chicken is eaten rarely. This recipe was shown to me by Abdul Ahad Waza who is the premier Kashmir wedding and party caterer. Along with his four sons he cooks in his courtyard and supplies food to the culinary cognoscenti of Kashmir and in the winter does the same in Delhi. This is rather an unusual-flavoured Chicken Korma, mild and fragrant with a thin gravy. Good to eat with rice, roti or even sliced bread. The recipe serves 4.
1kg (organic) chicken
8 green cardamoms
5 garlic cloves
10cm cinnamon stick
10–12 strands of saffron
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 onions, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ginger powder
3–5 green (or red) chillies, chopped (and deseeded if you prefer)
1 1/2 cups full-fat yoghurt
1/4 cup ghee or extra virgin olive oil
2 cups chicken stock
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2–4 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves
- Boil the chicken in 3 cups of water along with 2 of the garlic cloves for 3–4 minutes. Strain and discard water. Leave the chicken to cool, then rinse in lukewarm water. This removes all the odour of the chicken. Cut up the chicken into big bite-sized pieces.
- Pound the remaining garlic and soak in 1/2 cup of water to obtain a garlic infusion. Soak the saffron strands in 1/4 cup of water, pressing with the back of a spoon to get an infusion. Purée the onions with the green (or red) chillies. Whisk the yoghurt and set aside.
- Heat the ghee or oil in a heavy-based cooking pot and fry the onion purée until golden (about 12–15 minutes). Add the cloves, cardamoms and cinnamon followed by the turmeric powder. Add the chicken, garlic infusion and yoghurt and cover with a lid. Allow to simmer for 7–10 minutes until the juices are absorbed.
- Add the ginger powder and salt to taste and sauté for 3–4 minutes until the chicken is lightly browned. Add just enough chicken stock to get the amount of gravy desired (this dish does not need a great deal and you will probably want to then reduce the amount of gravy during the simmer).
- Simmer over a gentle heat for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. When the chicken is tender, sprinkle with the saffron infusion, pepper and fresh coriander leaves. (Alternatively, turn it off after the simmer and then re-heat when required, adding the infusion, pepper and coriander leaves just before you are ready to serve it up).
This recipe is modified from Camellia Panjabi’s version in 50 Great Curries of India.