Chicken Korma

I was unfamiliar with korma until a little over a year ago. I was going to meet up with a friend for lunch at Hopdoddy because they were having a fundraiser for the Memorial Day floods. Before I left the office, I asked my vegetarian co-worker if she wanted me to grab her a burger as well because I’m that nice. She asked that I get her a veggie korma burger and got super excited about it. I didn’t have time to listen to her explanation (also, I didn’t care. I’m not that nice) and left to meet up with my friend, who was also a vegetarian. As she was going over the menu, she perked up at korma burger so I had to ask, “What is the deal with this korma?!” and she replied “It’s just a vegetarian thing.” I left it at that because vegetarians have their own little world and I get lost every time I try to venture into it. I didn’t become any more familiar with korma after that but it was on my radar and since then, it’s popped up here and there.

When this recipe came up, I knew I had to try it because I wanted to know what the big deal was with korma. Well, veggie friend, it is NOT a vegetarian thing, it’s just a thing that can be vegetarian! Veggies are always trying to claim shit as theirs. If you want a super basic, quick definition of korma, it’s a curry made with yogurt, cream, or milk. It’s actually a bit more than that but that’s the shortest definition. The meat is marinated and braised before it simmers in the dairy, which is what makes it different from rezalas, another white curry. Even then, classifying korma and rezala as curries is a little bit of a stretch but it’s easier to say they’re subgroups of curry in order to avoid getting into a lengthy discussion. We can discuss the complexities of curry some other time, maybe when I don’t have fifteen chores to do before I pick the girls up from school.

The chicken was great, succulent and spicy from the ginger, but the highlight of the meal was making my own garam masala with my new grinder! I always buy it pre-made but now that I have literal pounds of spices and a handy dandy grinder, I can make my own! It made my kitchen smell heavenly and I wanted to keep making more and more but I still have some of the pre-made stuff and, I mean, I didn’t need it. But I can and knowing I can is half the fun.

That was the end of Bangladeshi week. It was probably one of the most informative weeks so far and I think that’s part of what made it so enjoyable. This week we are in Korea and today I spent two hours shopping for groceries. I am really pumped about this week’s foods and can’t wait to share!



Beef Rezala and Bhuna Khichuri

Welcome to Bangladeshi week! Actually, it was last week but some appointments took longer than expected and it threw my entire week off. Also, weather. 

As I metioned last week, the Four Year Old became the Four Year Old last Wednesday and we planned a pool party for her the following Sunday. James just happened to check the weather forecast on Thursday and saw that there was a 90% chance of rain on Sunday.

Rain. In August. That almost never happens.

The next couple of days were spent checking the weather every four hours, sending out multiple group texts to our guests, and ultimately deciding to cancel the pool party and hosting a smaller version at the house. The Four Year Old still had an amazing time and even got a piñata, which she wouldn’t have had at the pool and it was the one thing she really wanted anyway, so yay! Birthday success!  

I learned two things from that event. Number one: I really need to buy an umbrella. I don’t know why I don’t own one but I need one. It’s been raining for the past four days and I’m tired of getting wet. Number two: I need to be more flexible. I’ve always prided myself in my time management skills and I still believe that they are essential but I need to make room for unexpected events. Too often I plan down to the minute and I get frustrated when I get thrown off. There is no reason to be so stringent because I end up disappointed and why put myself through that? Life is too short to be so annoyed with myself. 

I’m taking this week off from cooking so I can catch up on posting. I’m actually taking the week off from everything. James is home all week so instead of trying to fit in errands, running, yoga, housework, craft projects, and cooking, I’m filling it with Orphan Black binge watching with my man during the day and fun family time with the girls in the evening. I think it’s much more worthwhile than all the other stuff.

And now for the beef rezala. A rezala is a white spicy curry from Bangladesh. Yes, curries are typically a little spicy anyway but rezalas are spicier because they include whole chilies. They also get their white color from the inclusion of yogurt or milk. Rezalas are similar to kormas in that sense, however, unlike kormas, the meat is not braised. Very slight difference. This beef rezala is different in color from other rezalas due to the spices used but mine didn’t come out as red as I think it should have. My beef released a lot of water so I think that didn’t allow the spices to coat and stick to the meat as well. I was afraid that since it released so much water, it would come out tough but it was surprisingly tender. It also wasn’t as spicy as I expected it to be but that wasn’t bad because it made it more edible for the girls. And yes, both girls ate it. They also ate the bhuna khichuri, which I preferred over the rezala. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it forever, I love rice and beans! 

What I enjoyed most about the meal was being able to use two new tools. After  Indian week, where I scorched my arms from frying spices or worked my arms sore from grinding spices, I decided to invest in some tools that will make life easier. The first is a vaghar vadki, a spice roasting spoon. It’s basically a tiny skillet, about four inches in diameter, with a long handle that fries spices in seconds. The smaller diameter speeds up the process since the heat doesn’t have to be distributed to such a large area like with a regular skillet and it’s ideal for measurements under a cup. I was able to fry up the cumin in less than thirty seconds and had more control over how dark I wanted it to get. The other tool is a spice grinder, although I bought a coffee grinder but it’s basically the same thing. I’ve been using a mortar and pestle, which isn’t terrible except both my mortars have grooves so the spices often get stuck in them. This results in an uneven texture unless I put some real elbow grease into it. The grinder I bought has three different settings, coarse, medium, and fine, and it took maybe a minute to grind my spices into a nice fine powder. Technology is amazing! It was super satisfying and I wish I would have bought one sooner but so it goes.

Recipe, Recipe