Sep 3, 2011

Back to School w/ IHCC & Jamie Oliver

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.

So...chicken korma...
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.

Chicken Korma
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
1 lemon

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. 


  1. Bummer that you didn't like this one. I made it a while back and enjoyed it. I do tend to add more curry or curry paste than recipes call for so maybe that was it. ;-) Also korma is a very mild curry--maybe something spicier or with more of a flavor pow would be better.

  2. Well it sure looks and sounds wonderful. Sorry it wasn't a winner for you and your family.

  3. It certainly does look beautiful on the plate, but I do know what you mean about curry. I'm about 50/50 with them. Some I really like, while others not so much. And, I've learned the hard way that I do not like turmeric so now I steer clear of that.

    P.S. Division stinks!

  4. I wasn't impressed by this one, either. I think the chicken korma that I made by Madhur Jaffrey totally spoiled me for any other. It is absolutely THE BOMB! Sadly, Jamie's couldn't hold a candle to it. Ah well...ya never know until ya try, huh? I recommend this one for your next crack:

  5. curry is indeed a funny player and most of times, takes center stage when if fact, should be left in the wings.... and that is what I think of it, just like some folks overusing cayenne and calling it Cajun to the point of the food not being recognizable...

  6. Well it certainly looks beautiful!
    I am a huge curry fan but, like Deb, I tend to increase the heat and spice factor quite a bit.
    Very pretty dish!

  7. My mother-in-law,aunt and I were standing in a spice store the other day debating over why we liked or didn't like curry. I am not a huge fan and they are,I'll tell them about this recipe. I think they would love it!

  8. I love your chicken dish, with the addition of the chickpeas. Looks so delicious, and inviting!

  9. It looks yummy from here.

  10. I'm guessing it was something in that korma paste...though it certainly looks good! I have a recipe for chicken korma on my blog...and I can promise there is nothing nagging about it!

  11. Anonymous11/17/2012

    Hmmm...not being super familiar with any curries...well, except my version of lamb curry and Thai curries...branching out there now... I totally get it. Here's hoping we BOTH have good luck with the MJ version!

  12. Anonymous11/17/2012

    This happens to me sometimes... I'm glad to hear that the Madhur Jaffrey version is so much better. I'm not familiar with curries... So far, we like them...just don't know what flavor is "right."


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