Chicken Korma – The Best Things In Life Are Free

It is said that the best things in life are free. I don’t know about you but there are several free local food related publications that I eagerly read on a regular basis. Of course first and foremost is City Palate. It’s a great magazine featuring culinary goings on within Calgary with recipes, seasonal features, and beverages.  City Palate is currently celebrating it’s 20th year in print with ’20 Events for 20 Years’ scattered throughout the latter half of 2013 until June 2014. I did sign up for the Culinary Treasure Hunt event as I’ve been wanting to attend for years, however, it was cancelled at the last moment. I wonder if they will have a ‘make up’ event to get back up the the 20 event theme.

On Tuesday at the Xocolat Sokol Blosser wine event I had the good luck to meet Linda Garson, Editor of Culinaire Magazine here in Calgary. She told me this was her 9th foodie event (mostly wine and food pairings) in a week. I don’t know how she does it, I think I could handle two per week maximum. I don’t think my pants could handle any more than that…yet Linda is so petite!  She arrived at the event with boxes of the new November issue and past issues of her magazine and she says they are always in her car because everyone is always asking for them. I believe her! I try to get mine from Calgary Farmer’s Market the week they come out or they are gone. Even so, sometimes I have to ask the very friendly information lady for one when the stands are picked clean. She usually keeps one or two under the counter and I think she is starting to recognize me.

There is also Flavours magazine, a free quarterly publication that I manage to snag sometimes when I am at Willow Park Wines & Spirits. It is distributed exclusively throughout Western Canada at select liquor stores. I really like the feature recipes from Western Canadian chefs, especially when they incorporate wine, beer, or spirits in the dish. There are also many useful wine and beer pairing suggestions within the magazine.  The Korma recipe I’ve used here came from a great article about Mumbai-born chef Jyubeen Kacha who made his way from his homeland to settle in Swift Current, Saskatchewan. He is now running a very authentic Indian restaurant on the prairies.  I think we may just have to make a trip through Swift Current the next time we are headed out to my parent’s farm in Saskatchewan.  The magazine featured his recipe for Lamb Korma, but I didn’t have any lamb on hand so chicken it was!


It was a Monday night dinner and so I had everything figured out before I did my volunteer time at the YMCA. Kid number two was supposed to keep an eye on the korma and turn it off when the sauce had the proper consistency. I guess I should have been more specific and we would have had more sauce. Still, the flavour of this korma was really amazing and the chicken melted in our mouths. Hubby ordered some naan bread and palak paneer from Moti Mahal in Midnapore to round out our little feast. I didn’t bother with the yoghurt as the korma is already quite mild. I’m going to definitely add some more chili flakes or fresh chilies in next time.

Lamb Korma (or Chicken) from Jyubeen Kacha

Onion Sauce

2 tbsp butter, vegetable oil or ghee

1 tsp cumin seed

1 tsp mustard seed

2 bay leaves

salt to taste

2 onions minced

6 cloves garlic, finely minced

1 tbsp minced ginger root

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp chili powder

2 chopped tomatoes (1/3 can diced tomatoes)

2 tsp garam masala

3 cups chicken stock or beef stock

3 lb. lamb shoulder, cubed or 10 boneless chicken thighs, cut in large pieces

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup whole milk yoghurt (optional)

1/2 cup finely ground cashews (optional)

juice of a lemon

cilantro leaves for garnish

To make the onion braising sauce, heat the butter, oil, or ghee in a sauté pan and add the bay leaves, cumin and mustard seeds when the pan is hot. Cook for a minute until you hear the popping sounds, then add the onion and sauté for 5 to 10 minutes. Sprinkle with salt when the onion has softened.  Add the garlic and ginger, then stir in the turmeric, coriander, chili powder, and tomatoes. Reduce the heat and add a bit of water to prevent sticking, then add the garam masala. Cook on medium high heat until sauce thickens and sticks to the pan. Add the stock and the meat, season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Cook until tender and sauce is reduced to desired consistency. If using yoghurt and cashews add then return to a boil. Serve hot with cilantro as a garnish.

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