Besides getting to dive into the bodies of work of varied chefs, one of my favorite things about I Heart Cooking Clubs is the weekly themes.
Or, rather, that each theme is left to personal interpretation.
Or, let me just tell it straight, that we can play loose and easy with the themes and no one says boo about it.
This week IHCC is going "Back to School."
Back to school. Change. New.
Shiny, perfect supplies. That absolutely do not have anything to do with Justin Bieber. Just so you know.
New teachers. New friends.
Bigger shoes. Shorter hair.
Ruling the school as one of the "big kids."
Waking up earlier. Division. Umm...wait. Let's go back to that other stuff.
My pick for a Jamie Oliver Back to School dish was Chicken Korma.
Because it's change. And it's new. Curry isn't something we eat a lot of around here. And by that I mean not at all.
In school, I looked forward to division. The highest form of math in elementary school. The type of math that had been kept a mystery for so long. I wanted to like it. Love it even. But division and I didn't click. I don't know...something about breaking things down. The ugly feel of the word "dividing." That obtrusive, bold bar separating dividend and divisor. Much preferred multiplication. Rolls off the tongue. Results in products--very industrious. Builds things up quickly. Well, except that zero thing is a real bummer.
Wanted to like it. Even love it.
I wanted to talk about my passion for curry, name-dropping coriander, turmeric, masala. To be exotic. Sophisticated. Worldly.
Are you familiar with lipstick on a pig?
Just call me sooie.
JO's Chicken Korma has received high praise from many across the food blogging community. Much like the Sweet Potato and Chorizo Soup I made last week. And like the soup, my family and I weren't into the chicken either.
While a beautiful dish, there was a flavor in it that bugged us. Nagged us. I expected explosions of flavor and textures, but that wasn't the case. Especially in the bites lacking yogurt and almonds.
I know there are other styles of curry out there. Maybe one of them is for me.
from Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution
1 3/4 lb chicken breasts
2 medium onions
1 fresh green chile (optional)
a thumb-sized piece of ginger
small bunch of cilantro
1 (15 oz) can chickpeas
peanut of vegetable oil
a pat of butter
1/2 cup Korma paste (make your own or use Patak's)
1 (14 oz) can coconut milk
small handful sliced almonds + extra
2 heaping Tbsp unsweetened coconut
salt & pepper
2 c natural yogurt
Cut the chicken into 1" pieces. Peel, halve, & finely slice the onions. Halve, seed, & finely slice the chile, if using. Peel & chop the ginger. Pick cilantro leaves & finely chop the stalks. Drain the chickpeas.
Put a large pan on high heat & add a couple of glugs of oil. Add the onions, chile, ginger, & cilantro stalks with butter. Keep stirring it enough so it doesn't catch & burn but turns evenly golden. Cook for around 10 minutes. Add the curry paste, coconut milk, half the almonds, chickpeas, shredded coconut, & sliced chicken. Half fill the empty can with water, pour into pan, & stir again. Bring to a boil, then turn heat down & simmer for 30 minutes. Check the curry regularly to make sure it's not drying out & add extra water if needed. When the chicken is tender & cooked, taste & season with salt & pepper.
Serve with rice. Add a few spoonfuls of yogurt dolloped on top & sprinkle over the rest of the almonds. Finish with the cilantro leaves & serve with lemon wedges for squeezing over.