Kiddie korma

Serves 4

Mark Hi@HixRestaurants
Saturday 22 March 2003 01:00

Weaning kids onto curry can be a bit frustrating, but it's important to get those little taste buds going. I tried cooking the girls kedgeree the other day and they were happily chomping their way through it until Lydia said she liked the sauce but not the fish. That did for it. After that they wouldn't touch another grain of rice.

150g basmati rice
2 chicken breasts or fillets, skinned and cut into 2cm strips

for the sauce

30g butter
2 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and crushed
A small piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
1/2tsp turmeric
2 cardamom seeds
1/2tsp ground cumin
1/2tsp curry powder
1/2tsp fennel seeds
A few curry leaves
A pinch of saffron threads
100ml chicken stock (a good cube will do)
200g coconut cream or block
1tbsp chopped coriander
Salt and pepper

First, make the curry sauce. Melt the butter in a thick-bottomed pan and gently cook the shallots, garlic and ginger without colouring. Add all the spices and cook for another minute to release the flavours. Add the chicken stock, bring to the boil and reduce by half. Pour in the coconut cream and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Blend the sauce in a liquidiser until smooth and strain through a fine-meshed sieve. Check the seasoning and return to a clean pan.

Wash the rice a couple times in cold water to remove starch, then cook it in plenty of boiling, salted water for about 10-12 minutes until it's just cooked. Briefly drain in a colander and return to a pan off the heat with a lid on. This allows the rice to steam dry and gives it a fluffy, light texture.

Meanwhile, season the pieces of chicken and sauté them in a little vegetable oil until lightly coloured. Drain on some kitchen paper briefly and add to the sauce. Simmer for 5-6 minutes then add the coriander.

Serve the rice and curry separately or spoon the chicken and sauce over the rice. Check first – children can be very particular about such things.

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