|3 tbsp||vegetable oil|
|1 tsp||cumin seeds, finely powdered|
|8 cloves||garlic, minced|
|1½"||ginger root, fresh minced|
|1 small can||crushed tomatoes|
|2lbs|| chicken or lamb, par-boiled waxy potatoes, cauliflower, spinach, carrots,
for 8 persons (main ingredient)
|1 can||chicken stock (or water). Important: add only as much as you want to increase amount of sauce; compensate by increasing the spices a little.|
|3 tsp||garam masala|
|1 stick||fresh-ground cannela|
|1 tsp||ground red chili|
|1 cup||coconut milk (optional)|
|—||fresh cilantro leaves, chopped|
|—||powdered coconut (optional)|
Amrik Singh, owner of India Palace, made me very happy one evening by giving me his khurma recipe. Well, not so much a recipe, but a list of ingredients with some pointers. I've been trying to make decent khurma for years, so I had a lot of questions.
Start with a little oil in a pan, add cumin seeds to crack and bloom. Then add lots of onion, garlic and ginger.
Simmer for a very long time without browning (though things will get darker as you go).
Add in some crushed tomatoes. Don't go overboard on these (I say because I don't like overly tomatoey khurma which becomes hard to distinguish from tikka masala and is too acidic for my taste).
Add in finely chopped serrano chilis. If you don't want hot, be sure to seed and devein them.
Simmer again. After a while, reduce the entire mixture using a hand blender or by running it through a blender to make it smooth. If you are using an upright blender, wait for it to cool first. Here's where you can save it for later if you want to break the cooking into two parts.
Add in lamb, chicken or cauliflower, carrots, peas and potatoes. Choose depending on what sort of khurma you're making. If making vegetable, hold back the peas and potatoes a little longer so they're not reduced to soup.
If you're using dark meat or lamb, simmer a long time, 20 minutes. If using white, hold off adding it in until 10 minutes before you stop simmering. Ditto if you're adding cut potatoes.
Simmer a long time.
Add in turmeric, garam masala and other spices you like. (Garam masala is a mixture of spices: it may already have coriander in it, so think twice before adding any more.) This is where you get creative and where you find the golden difference at India Palace (it's a business after all, eh?). Again, cook slowly. The length of time cooking modifies the taste too. Too little or too much and your spices won't give you the smooth, velvety flavor you're looking for.
The reason you've waited until now to add these aromates (spices) is so that they aren't altered by over-cooking and impart fresh flavor to the dish.
Add a little cream and cook just a few minutes. If adding cut tomatoes for effect (see illustration), add them now so they're warm.
Add in more cream, and also the cilantroi, cashews and raisins (maybe the peas here if you're doing vegetable khurma). Cook a couple of minutes. Add in more cream and warm it.