An authentic chicken korma is usually made with a nut paste made up of almonds and cashews, but I thought I’d try making it with pistachios after I was sent some for review purposes. They’re the official snack of the USA Water Polo team, apparently, and gram-for-gram contain more protein than halibut, more fibre than cooked broccoli and more potassium than bananas. Apparently.
But I’m not too interested in the health benefits – I find shelling pistachios is enough of a workout in itself – it’s the taste that floats my boat. So I got my two nimble-fingered sons to shell 100g of nuts for me (a difficult task because they kept eating them) so I could cook this fantastically nutty, aromatic curry. It is one of the best curries I’ve ever made, which is down to the winning combo of the pistachios and cardamoms.
5 whole green cardamoms
3 whole cloves
2.5cm cinnamon stick
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp chilli powder
For the korma
500g skinless, boneless chicken thighs
100g shelled pistachio nuts
Golf ball-sized piece of fresh ginger, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
3-4 red/green/yellow finger chillies, deseeded
2 tbsp ghee
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 medium onion, chopped
75ml natural yoghurt
75ml double cream
Salt, to taste
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
1. In a large frying pan, dry roast the spices for 1 mins, until they give off their aromas. Allow to cool, then grind to a powder in a coffee grinder or pestle and mortar. Put aside.
2. In a food processor, blend the nuts, ginger, garlic and chillies with a 100ml water into a coarse paste.
3. Heat the ghee and oil together, then fry the onion until golden. Add the ground spices and cook for a further minute.
4. Add the nut paste and yoghurt and cook for 10 mins or so.
5. Add the chicken and stir to combine. Simmer for about 45 mins, or until the meat is tender. Add a little water bit by bit to prevent it sticking and drying out.
6. About 10 mins before serving, add the double cream and bring to the boil to reduce a little. Season with salt and garnish with coriander.
7. Serve with pilau rice and naan bread, chapatis or wraps.