Chicken Korma (aka Ben’s Chicken)

A rich, yet mild curry that is perfect for the cold and shitty weather outside!  Our household name for this amazing dish is “Ben’s Chicken”, named so after a dear friend we got the recipe in a box (together with ALL ingredients and spices needed to cook it!) from.  This was an amazing present, and Ben’s name is forever perpetuated in eternity (and hour extremely grateful hearts and stomachs) in this amazing dish.

Ben, if you ever read this – we are fucking delighted and thankful for your thought of X number of years ago!  The sheet of paper with the recipe is now well-worn and has multiple unidentifiable food stains on it, the spices and other ingredients have been replaced many time over, and the box had first found a new use, and then got lost in one of many house moves we experienced over the past years.  Yet, the dish lives on.  Go, Ben!!!!!!

Ingredients

Before you start, several words of caution:

  1. The official recipe says the ingredients are for 4 people.  We always followed it religiously, yet always managed to eat everything we cooked in one sitting.  And there are only 2 of us…  Whether we are exceptionally hungry for Indian food, or the recipe was meant for people with smaller stomachs, remains a fucking mystery.  Anyways, you have been warned!
  2. Another important thing to keep in mind is time – it takes a fucking long time for Ben’s Chicken to be ready!  So I suggest you have a hearty breakfast, and then start cooking.  The chicken will be ready for dinner.
  3. If you are at a loss as to what cardamom, cumin or turmeric is like, and the only cinnamon you have ever seen was the powdered shit on your Starbucks Frappuccino – I already feel sorry for you.  But don’t despair – for those poor culinary-disabled souls, I took some valuable fucking time out of my busy lockdown schedule, and googled all the pictures.  You are fucking welcome!

So, now, the actual fucking ingredients:

  • 75 gr (3/4 cup) flaked almonds, roasted in a pan, and then ground in a spice grinder/coffee mill into powder with only a handful roasted flakes left for garnish.  After years of fucking with the dish (in a good sense of the word), we started cheating, and buy our almonds already ground.
  • 1 tbsp. of butter
  • ~675 gr (or 2 proper big fat-ass chicken breasts), cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 tbsp. of olive/sunflower/vegetable oil – whichever takes your fancy or you have handy
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed with the flat side of the knife
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • a pinch of ground turmeric
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • a good pinch of chili powder (use as much as you fucking want, if you actually like spicy food!)
  • 250 ml (1 cup) coconut milk
  • 120 ml (1/2 cup) boiling chicken stock (you don’t need to try being fancy, and can use the powdered one, don’t sweat it!)
  • 1 tsp tomato puree (paste)
  • 75 ml (5 tbsps.) single (light) cream
  • 1-2 tbsps. fresh lime or lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. grated lime or lemon rind
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala spice
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • Saffron rice and/or poppadums, to serve

Preparation

  • If you could not find the already ground almonds, or specifically want to fuck with the flaked ones, you start with those.  Dry-roast the almonds in the frying pan until pale golden.  Set a handful aside for garnish, and continue to roast the remaining ones until they are slightly deeper in color.  Leave the almonds to cool, and then grind them into oblivion in a spice grinder, food processor or coffee mill.
  • Heat the butter in a big frying pan with high rim, and fry the chicken pieces until evenly brown.  Take them out of the frying pan and set aside.
  • Add a little bit of oil into the frying pan, if necessary, then fry the chopped onion for 5-8 minutes, until golden.
  • Stir in the cardamom pods and garlic and fry for another 2 minutes.
  • Add the ground almonds, cumin, coriander, turmeric, cinnamon stick and chili powder to the frying pan, mix well, and cook for about 1 minute.  Turn the heat to low.
  • Add the coconut milk, chicken stock and tomato puree and stir everything in.
  • Add the cooked chicken pieces and season with salt and pepper.
  • Cover with the lid and cook on low heat for 3 (!) hours (now you know why I said the dish takes fucking long to cook), stirring it every half-hour.
  • After 3 hours, stir in the cream, lemon/lime juice and rind and the Garam Masala, and cook on medium heat for another 30 minutes.
  • Stir once again, and – Voila!  Ben’s Chicken is ready to eat. 
  • Serve it with some reserved almonds on top, and eat with rice or poppadums.  You can get poppadums in any Indian shop and in many supermarkets.  If you don’t know how to cook rice – fucking google it!
Ben’s Chicken

As always, you are fucking welcome!

Spaghetti Carbonara

One of the simplest dishes in Italian cuisine, and also the easiest to fuck up!…  It is often used as a restaurant’s litmus test – if they can cook the Carbonara properly, the rest will most probably be worth a try as well, and the establishment may even be deserving of a repeat visit. 

Surprisingly, A LOT of professional and amateur cooks manage to screw up the basic ingredients or add the unwarranted ones, and create a total nightmare of one of the best pasta dishes…

Public opinion has it that there are 2 recipes of Spaghetti Carbonara – one with cream, and one without.  Do not (and I cannot stress it enough!), do NOT believe it.  I love cream as much as the next person, but the only proper, decent and moral way of cooking Carbonara does not involve any fucking cream or milk at all.

I’ll share here the Carbonara that makes me, personally, happy, and that constitutes an ultimate comfort food for all seasons.  If you don’t like it – it’s your fucking problem.

Ingredients

Here are the ingredients for 2 people.  If you live alone, or your other half hates Carbonara – remember your primary school math lessons, and take the half of everything.

  • ~110 gr of spaghetti. If you are really fucking hungry – use more.
  • 3-4 slices of Pancetta (~60-70 gr).  If you can’t be arsed – regular striped bacon of any brand you like would do.
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, crushed with the flat side of the knife and left alone.  Under NO circumstances are you to chop the garlic for Carbonara!
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 50-70 gr grated Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese.  If you want to be really fucking fancy – grate it yourself.  If you are can’t be bothered (like me), use the packaged stuff.
  • A bit of parsley to garnish, if you so fucking please.

Preparation

  • Cook the spaghetti according to package instructions (this is what al professional cook books say, and I am just repeating the masters).
  • Beat the eggs in a bowl, and mix the cheese into the eggs.
  • When the spaghetti is cooked, strain the water, and leave them alone while you are doing the rest.
  • Cut the Pancetta or bacon into thin strips of about 0.7cm.  If they are thinner or thicker – don’t sweat it, nobody ever measures that anyways, for fuck’s sake!
  • Heat the pan and add the Pancetta/bacon to it together with the crushed garlic.  The Pancetta/bacon has enough fat on it, so you don’t need any fucking oil or butter – there will be enough carbs and fats in the resulting dish to keep you happy without.
  • Fry them together until the Pancetta/bacon is nicely crispy and garlic is fragrant.  Some people like their bacon nuked to oblivion – I prefer a milder and slightly more edible version.  Naturally, I propagate this one.
  • Throw the spaghetti into the pan with cooked Pancetta and garlic, and mix well for a minute or so, to make sure they are heated through.  Low the heat, or even turn it off completely.
  • Add the egg/cheese mixture to the pan, mix well, and immediately take off the heat, not to allow the egg to fry.  If should cook off the heat of the spaghetti, and the result should not be gooey, but should not be fully fried either.
  • Serve immediately, adding some more Parmesan/Grana Padano and chopped parsley on top for color.

As always, you are fucking welcome!