Reads, Writes, Eats and Cooks
This week’s recipe experiments and inspirations included: Comedian Aziz Ansari’s Mom’s Chicken Korma recipe posted on the Lucky Peach Magazine website, Saveur’s Fish and Potato Tikkis with Chile and lime (April Issue) and finally Smitten Kitchen’s Strawberry Summer Cake.
I had a pound of cod in my packet and just had to use it all instead of the 8oz portion the recipe calls for. So, the fish and potato pattie was closer to a fishcake with a dominant potato taste. My grocery store was completely out of cilantro. No regular, no organic, no little tiny herb packets with two springs that cost $3. The cilantro would’ve added a freshness. The dish was rescued by the cilantro chutney. I really liked the poached cod in cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, bay leaves and peppercorns. The fish became gently infused with all these surprisingly warm flavors. I can imagine a simple summer dinner of poached spiced cod with a light lemony sauce. Works well as a snack or with a bowl of dal or salad on the side, hot or room temperature. Aside from including more fish, I also added a half of chopped shallot. The frying gives the patties a light savory crust. With a base of mashed potatoes, how could I go wrong!
3 whole cloves2 green cardamom pods1 bay leaf1 cinnamon stick8 oz. skinless cod or red snapper fillets1 lb. russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunksKosher salt1⁄2 cup whole-wheat bread crumbs2 tbsp. fresh lime juice2 tbsp. roughly chopped cilantro1 tsp. ground cumin1 small green Indian chile or serrano, stemmed, seeded, and minced (optional)1⁄4 cup vegetable oilMint chutney, for serving
In a small saucepan, combine the cloves with the cardamom, bay leaf, cinnamon, and 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Add the fish, return to a boil, then reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and poach the fish until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon or tongs, transfer the fish to a bowl and let cool. Discard the spices and cooking liquid.Meanwhile, cover the potatoes with generously salted water in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil, and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain the potatoes and let them cool completely.Add the potatoes to the bowl with the fish along with the bread crumbs, lime juice, cilantro, cumin, and chile, season with salt, and lightly mash the potatoes with the other ingredients until evenly combined. Form the mixture into six 3-inch-wide, 3⁄4-inch-thick patties.In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, warm the oil over medium heat. Add the patties and cook, flipping once, until golden brown, about 6 minutes. Transfer the fish patties to a serving platter and serve while hot with mint chutney on the side.
The ground cashews give this korma a special luxurious nutty creaminess. My family’s does not include cilantro, fennel seeds, nuts or tumeric but does include raisins. This was a really nice extra festive and rich version of a korma. My korma was on the spicy side because I used two red thai chilis giving the dish a hidden angry heat after the initial nutty sweetness. Due the cilantro shortage at my local grocery store, no cilantro was added. I imagine the cilantro would’ve added a brightness. Didn’t hurt the delicious dish at all. Gotta say… Fatima auntie, I’d cook with you anytime. And, deshi brother Aziz, good for you for celebrating your mom and all the yummy food she makes for you! Thank you both for sharing your story and recipe with Lucky Peach and us.
- 2 lbs skinless chicken, preferably dark meat, cut into 2″ pieces
- + salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 t turmeric powder
- 3 cloves garlic, pounded into paste
- 1/2 C yogurt
- 1 1″ piece ginger, finely chopped
- 2 T vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2–3 green chilies, seeded if desired
- 1 t garam masala
- 1 t ground coriander
- 1 t ground fennel
- 1/2 C cashews
- 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 fry 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, and cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 40 minutes. You will see the oil rise to the top of the mixture and it will smell awesome with all of the spices. I usually cook some ghee rice to go with it, or some chapati.