Korma Lawand and Challow

This is the first in my series of global cooking, from Afghanistan. Being a huge fan of Afghani food, I was really excited for this. Challow… is amazing. No two ways about it. It gets silky, and flavorful, but still maintains some texture. And the flavor of the Korma is out of this world. Has anyone said that since the seventies? I don’t think so. Let’s make some Korma Lawand and Challow!
I’ll be doing this recipe in two parts, with the challow after the Korma.

Firstly, let’s establish what Korma is: It’s similar in looks and flavor to most curries, but it’s the texture that sets it aparts- it always contains some form of nut, be it pistachio, walnut, cashew, or almond. I’m using cashew for this one.

Korma:
1 ½ large or 3 small onions
1 head garlic
6 inch piece of ginger
3 oz cilantro
¼ cup whole cashews, salted
1 stick cinnamon
2 bay leaves
1 clove
2 tsps whole cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
4 cloves
1 tsp dill seeds
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp sumac (optional, if you don’t have it substitute a squeeze of lemon)
½ tsp ground nutmeg
3 tsp salt
1 ½ cup yogurt
1 cup water
6 chicken tenderloins

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This is the first in my series of global cooking, from Afghanistan. Being a huge fan of Afghani food, I was really excited for this. Challow… is amazing. No two ways about it. It gets silky, and flavorful, but still maintains some texture. And the flavor of the Korma is out of this world. Has anyone said that since the seventies? I don’t think so. Let’s make some Korma Lawand and Challow!
I’ll be doing this recipe in two parts, with the challow after the Korma.

Firstly, let’s establish what Korma is: It’s similar in looks and flavor to most curries, but it’s the texture that sets it aparts- it always contains some form of nut, be it pistachio, walnut, cashew, or almond. I’m using cashew for this one.

Korma:
1 ½ large or 3 small onions
1 head garlic
6 inch piece of ginger
3 oz cilantro
¼ cup whole cashews, salted
1 stick cinnamon
2 bay leaves
1 clove
2 tsps whole cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
4 cloves
1 tsp dill seeds
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp sumac (optional, if you don’t have it substitute a squeeze of lemon)
½ tsp ground nutmeg
3 tsp salt
1 ½ cup yogurt
1 cup water
6 chicken tenderloins

You may be wondering what’s in the metal bowls on the bottom. One is whole spices;

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One is ground spices;

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And the last is cilantro/coriander.

Start by dicing up some onion and ginger, and smashing some garlic..

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And I like to dice ginger like this:

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You’re probably sick and tired of ginger after all those pictures. But don’t give up! It’s going to add a great tangy-ness. My mom used to put ginger in chicken soup. Tasted repulsive (sorry mom…). However, two cups of that soup could cure the toughest chest infection on the planet. Breaks up that mucus like nobody’s business. Well, that was appetizing! Again: DON’T GIVE UP. GINGER IS THE ANSWER.

You don’t need to dice these too fine, as they’re going in a food processor. Dump them all in (I know this is a blender, I had to switch it over to a food processor), with some cilantro and water…

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…give it all a whir, and let it sit and chill.

Heat up some oil in a Dutch Oven or other large pot,

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and toss in the whole spices.

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Fry till the cardamom gets puffy (mine got a little overdone…), and then pour in the garlic/ginger/onion/cilantro mixture.

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It should sizzle and splatter over your hands. Well, maybe it shouldn’t splatter on your hands, but it sure splattered on mine. Try to pour it in gently instead of slorping it in all at once. What does slorping mean, you ask? It’s that liquid-y, bubbly sound. I changed it into a word. I’ll be calling the English language authorities to report a new word any day now. Anyhows

Chop up the cashews, I like to do it with a huge knife, but you can use a food processor, spice mill, or even put them in a bag and have a go at them with a rolling pin. That’s always fun.

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Throw them in, and now it’s time for the next layer of flavor. Splash some water into the ground spices, give it a mix…

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and pour it in.

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The gradual buildup of all of these are going to give it the best flavor.
Stir it all up, and pretend that there’s a picture here of me adding 1 ½ cups of yogurt. Oops.

Pour in some salt, give it a mix, and let it sit and simmer for about half an hour.

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20 or so minutes later, chop up the chicken and sear it in ½ tablespoon oil over high heat.

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When it’s seared but not totally cooked, throw it in the sauce to finish cooking there.

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CHALLOW

Challow is essentially baked, flavored rice, and gosh darn is it amazing.

Ingredients:

2 cups rice
3 oz cilantro
2 tablespoons cumin seeds
Oil (optional)

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Recommended but not necessary: Soak the rice for 20-30 minutes.

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Preheat oven to 350 F
Next, we’re going to parboil the rice, meaning we’re going to boil it, and then bake it. I feel like I just said that. Anyhows. Boil it,

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and when it’s mostly done, pour it into a large baking dish, with cilantro and cumin,

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I like to pour some oil on top for moisture, toss it all about,

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and then bake it for 25 minutes!

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That’s Challow- simple, easy, and oh so, so good.

To serve, heap Challow on a plate, and pour the Korma on top, making sure to get in a few pieces of chicken. Garnish with some mint or cilantro, and enjoy!

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Here’s the printable recipe card, with ingredients and instructions:  Afghanistan

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