“My mom’s the nicest, most caring person I have ever met. Also she’s very strong and brave—a personal hero.” Aziz Ansari’s Lucky Peach article, June 2016
THE RAMBLE: Winner for Team Korea!
LET’S TALK ABOUT Indian Food. Oh man, something everyone loves and the food for which our eyes light up and our ears get perked. There is something for everyone in Indian cuisine. Now, I would choose to go out and eat that everyday, but Indian food adds up really quickly. My husband and I get a crush on it and we get it a few times in a week and get only one or two dishes and some naan, but by the end of the week, we’ve spent about $100…So I was determined to learn how to make it, and make it GOOD, so we wouldn’t spend all our money on Indian food (which is a noble thing to spend your money on), but we’ve got three babies, so we have to maintain some kind of discipline! Speaking of raising babies, I just love that Aziz Ansari shared one of his childhood favorite recipes with us, and I loved hearing the story of his mother’s cooking in this article. Cheers to amazing mothers!
LET’S TALK ABOUT this Chicken Korma. Fresh, gingery, coriander-y, but savory, rich, velvety. I’ve tried several Indian recipes of many kinds of dishes, but this is one of the best, and it’s only a few steps with very little prep. We just have to remember that it needs to marinate for at least a few hours before dinnertime. I added a cup of water to this recipe, because mine was just chicken in a bunch of paste rather than a sauce, so I hope I am not violating some integral Indian tradition, but it worked better that way. Most Indian dishes follow a pattern: ghee or oil, brown onions and spices, add a paste or base of herbs, spices, nuts (here it’s coriander and cashews), then add meat, water or sometimes cream, simmer, serve. It’s pretty straightforward, so now we can have confidence in a great recipe for our Indian recipe repertoire and make some delicious dishes at home!
Subscribe to Lucky Peach! David Chang is one of the geniuses behind it with a really great team. You can just get their emails or subscribe to the legit magazine full of the most delicious and creative recipes. Also, Treat Yo’ Self to Parks and Recreation. It has Aziz Ansari in it and it’s hilarious.
WHO YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT making great Indian food: Anupy Singla , author of Indian for Everyone, my go-to Indian cookbook with all the classics. British food columnist Mallika Basu of Quick Indian Cooking @MallikaBasu_, Madhur Jaffrey of England’s program Curry Nation @madhursworld, and for someone to blow your mind and everything you thought about Indian food, Chef Gaggan Anan of Gaggan @GAGGANBANGKOK
Ansari Family Chicken Korma
Adapted from Lucky Peach. Serves 4, easy level recipe, a marinade then about 1 hour to make.
2 lbs skinless chicken, preferably dark meat, cut into 2″ pieces
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp turmeric powder
3 cloves garlic, pounded into paste
1/2 C yogurt
1 1″ piece ginger, finely chopped (7″ also worked for me)
2 TBS vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2–3 green chilies (depending how spicy you want it), seeded if desired
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground fennel
1/2 C cashews
1 C+ water
1/2 C cilantro leaves
ghee rice or chapati, for serving
- In a large bowl or plastic bag, combine the chicken pieces, salt, pepper, turmeric powder, ginger, garlic paste, and yogurt. Marinate in the refrigerator overnight. When you are ready to cook, heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat.
- Sauté the onion and chilies with the garam masala until fragrant and brown, about 10 minutes. Add the marinated chicken, and sauté for about 10 minutes.
- In the meantime, grind the coriander and fennel with the cashews and cilantro leaves in a small food processor or mortar and pestle. Add this mixture to the chicken, add water, and cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 40 minutes. If sauce is too thick, add a few TBS water to desired consistency. You will see the oil rise to the top of the mixture and it will be very fragrant. Serve some cilantro, red chili, and ghee rice to go with it, or some chapati, etc.