I grew up in Bennettsville, South Carolina. I had a strange blend of Indian food cooked by my mom and Southern food cooked by our nanny/housekeeper, Mrs. Beaulah. I remember Mrs. Beaulah making fried chicken drummies, and me getting in trouble for eating them all as soon as they left the fryer. The Southern food I loved was fried chicken, biscuits, mac and cheese, and chicken and dumplings. As for Indian food, I loved chicken korma, rice, yogurt, and spinach, all kind of mixed up together. I still eat this at home—it’s dope. I also loved tandoori chicken, this fried shrimp dish, and just mixing up all the curries with rice and yogurt and going in.
My mom makes amazing food. Her chicken korma is so good, and tastes so different from Indian curries you find at restaurants. Indian food at restaurants taste nothing like what I’ve had at home. There are subtle and tasty differences. My mom’s the nicest, most caring person I have ever met. Also she’s very strong and brave—a personal hero. —Aziz Ansari
- 2 lbs skinless chicken, preferably dark meat, cut into 2" pieces
- + salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 t turmeric powder
- 3 cloves garlic, pounded into paste
- 1/2 C yogurt
- 1 1" piece ginger, finely chopped
- 2 T vegetable oil
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2–3 green chilies, seeded if desired
- 1 t garam masala
- 1 t ground coriander
- 1 t ground fennel
- 1/2 C cashews
- 1/2 C cilantro leaves
- + ghee rice or chapati, for serving
In a large bowl or plastic bag, combine the chicken pieces, salt, pepper, turmeric powder, ginger, garlic paste, and yogurt. Marinate in the refrigerator overnight.
When you are ready to cook, heat the oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Sauté the onion and chilies with the garam masala until fragrant and brown, about 10 minutes. Add the marinated chicken, and fry for about 10 minutes.
In the meantime, grind the coriander and fennel with the cashews and cilantro leaves in a small food processor or mortar and pestle. Add this mixture to the chicken, and cook until the chicken is cooked through, about 40 minutes. You will see the oil rise to the top of the mixture and it will smell awesome with all of the spices. I usually cook some ghee rice to go with it, or some chapati.