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25 January 2015 @ 09:11 pm
Fifty Weeks, Fifty Curries: Week Nineteen: Safed Murgh Korma  
Today marks a milestone in the progress of Fifty Weeks, Fifty Curries. Not because nineteen is a particularly important number for some reason, but rather because today's curry marks the transition between pork lamb beef red meat and chicken. The next several weeks will be a variety of chicken dishes, then we'll pass into the the seafood section, then the vegetarian section, and then Fifty Weeks, Fifty Curries will come to a close. We've got a long way to go before we get to that, though.

You'll probably also start seeing more side dishes, since the benefit of using beef, and especially short ribs, is that it makes it easy for me to get all the food I need. Boneless skinless chicken breast isn't quite short ribs, even if it is really tasty. That might start to ruin some of the simplicity of the finished meal pictures if I'm scattering yogurt and cheese and fruit and nuts and whatever else around them, but it'd be cheating if I didn't show you what I was actually eating.

Looks mostly the same as previous weeks other than the nuts. And no, not all of that giant yogurt tub went into the curry, despite its final appearance.

I was initially kind of put off my first bite, which had an odd mealy taste. I asked softlykarou about it and she mentioned the nuts--it's about 50/50 whether I know what goes in the curry before we sit down to eat it--which mollified me a bit since I knew it wasn't some kind of weird interaction between the yogurt and the ginger. It turned out to be the First Bite Problem again, though. The second bite had a giant piece of chicken in it, and with the chicken to provide a center for the curry's taste, the bits of nuts in the sauce were more like garnishes to the chicken's flavor rather than oddities standing out by themselves.

My worries about alfredo didn't last very long, because the safed murgh korma had a nice heat to it. Not so strong as the goa lamb vindaloo, but I think that would have been really weird in this situation. I'm not sure how well the nuts and thicker sauce would have gone with an actual fiery heat, but I suspect it would have reinforced my initial negative impression instead of undermining it.  photo AxeDwarf.png

Instead of onions frying, I bring you nuts frying!

Words from the Chef
I was pretty hopeful when I saw this curry. My last white curry came out fairly well and I'd learned a lot since that experience. What I loved about this was how vibrant the spice profile was. The cardamom came through really well and when mixed with the sourness of the yogurt the two flavors enhanced each other. I wish it had been a bit smoother, more sauce-like, but given that our only options are an immersion blender or our very old (but incredibly reliable and tiny...like me!) [Trufax -ed] cuisinart it wasn't too bad. I don't make enough things that need to be a fine puree to really justify sinking the money into a nice blender. However, I didn't mind the texture and the chicken really soaked in the flavor. There were a fair amount of steps in this curry but it wasn't particularly laborious and cooked relatively quickly. I'd make it again.

This is what I mean about the appearance. It looks like chicken alfredo, which I despise.

I usually love yogurt sauces. Not as much as I love coconut milk sauces, but more so than I did for this curry. I'm not sure exactly what it was that put me off. Honestly, it might have just been the resemblance to alfredo sauce that negatively impacted it through no fault of its own. I'm not sure how to fix that without adding random other ingredients. I guess we could put in some turmeric, which would turn it that nice turmeric yellow that my brain associates as the "proper" color for a curry. That might change the taste a bit, but I'm all in favor of just adding more turmeric to everything so I certainly wouldn't mind.

A bit of a random aside--when I opened the book and saw the word "murgh," I immediately knew that it was a chicken recipe. This is because in the old Master's Set for the BECMI edition of D&D, there was an artifact called the Claw of Mighty Simurgh. Simurgh, murgh? I suspect they're related, even though it's probably just a false cognate. But it might tell you something about me that that was the first thing I thought of when I opened the book to read the recipe intro.

Chicken alfredo with black pepper.  photo emot-stare.gif The side dishes are included for completeness, but the actual portion sizes were split between softlykarou and I.

Speaking of said intro, it mentions that this curry was originally perfected during Shah Jahan's reign. He'd hold "white banquets" where the tables had white clothes, the guards wore white, and all the food was white. That doesn't sound like something I'd like, as you can probably tell by the appearance of the side dishes there, but I have to admire his devotion to the theme. I prefer a bit more color in my food, even if that color is the color of turmeric being added to everything.

Would I Eat It Again?: I would. Despite that I protested too much, it was quite good.
Do I Prefer It to the Usual Thai Curry?: No. It doesn't quite have the proper mouth feel to leap that hurdle.
What Would I Change?: Try it again with more finely-ground nuts and see what I thought of it then. Maybe also eat it with the skin, but taken off, fried up crispy, and sprinkled over the top.
Current Mood: fullfull
Current Music: Super Marcato Brothers Video Game Music Podcast