Qorma Lawand

(Afghani Chicken Curry)

January 12: National Curried Chicken Day

We love eating curried chicken and have featured different recipes from around the world—from stews to dumplings and sandwiches. Here is another one from Afghanistan for National Curried Chicken Day. Qorma Lawand has a milder flavor than other chicken curried stews but it is still delicious, hearty and satisfying. Instead of using the curry spice, we made our own nut paste marinade and onion gravy mixture for a fresh flavor. Try this Afghani chicken curry over Kabuli Pulao (Afghani pilaf) or basmati rice for a complete meal combination. بفرماييد • نوش جان ښه اشتیا ولری •

Recipe

(Adapted from Whats4Eats)

Ingredients for the nut paste marinade

  • 2 pounds chicken, boneless and skinless, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • ½ cup cashew nuts
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • ½ cup water

Ingredients for the spice mixture

  • 2 teaspoons turmeric
  • 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

Ingredients for the onion gravy

  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • ¼ cup ghee (clarified butter) or oil
  • 1-2 chili peppers, sliced thinly
  • 1 cup plain yogurt (whole or full fat)
  • water
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ½ cup cilantro, chopped

Directions

Make the marinade for the chicken by placing the nuts, garlic, ginger and water in a food processor or blender. Puree until smooth. Pour into a bowl. Stir the chicken pieces in the marinade. Cover and chill for at least one hour (overnight is best).

Prepare the spice mixture by combining in a small cup or bowl the turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and nutmeg. Set aside.

Chop the onions and slice the chili peppers. Heat a skillet on medium high with ghee or oil. Stir in the spice mixture.

Saute the onions until softened. Stir in the sliced chili peppers. Add the chicken and simmer for about 5-7 minutes. Stir in the yogurt.

Add enough water to make a gravy to desired thickness or soupiness. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the bay leaf. Cover and lower heat to medium low. Cook for 35-45 minutes, adding more water if necessary. Adjust seasonings. Discard the bay leaf. Stir in the cilantro leaves.  Serve hot with rice.

Notes

  • Search our blog for other Afghani recipes.
  • Search our blog for other chicken curry recipes.

Cheddar-Chive Shortbread

January 6: National Shortbread Day

We have posted several recipes for sweet shortbread cookies. But we wanted to try a savory one this time. Thanks to a recipe swap at our local library’s culinary club, we came across this cheddar-chive shortbread, which is a deliciously different treat for our teatime. It is more like a cracker than a cookie with its buttery and cheesy goodness! Savor the flavor of cheddar-chive shortbread, especially on National Shortbread Day.

Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 stick (½ cup) butter, softened
  • ½ cup spreadable cheddar cheese
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • ¾ cup + 2 tablespoons flour
  • ¼ cup fresh chives, chopped

Directions

In a large bowl, cream the butter and spreadable cheddar cheese. Stir in the salt, cornstarch and fresh chopped chives.

Mix in the flour and blend well until a dough comes together. Flatten into a disk and place between two sheets of waxed paper. Roll out into ¼- inch thickness. Chill in the refrigerator or freezer for half an hour to firm up the dough. The dough must be firm or the shortbread will spread.

Remove the top sheet of waxed paper. Cut into shapes with a cookie cutter (we used a flower shape). Re-roll, chill/freeze and cut dough as necessary to make more shortbread cookies. Place on lightly greased baking sheet about an inch apart. Chill/freeze for 10 minutes. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees F for 10 minutes or until golden on the edges. Remove from the oven. Transfer to a wire rack to cool and crisp up.

Notes

  • Keep the dough well chilled to avoid the cookies spreading while baking in the oven.
  • Search our blog for other (sweet) shortbread recipes.

Garbanzo Beans Soup

with Parsley and Parmesan

January 6: National Bean Day

On busy days when we do not have time to prepare a big dinner but want something soothing and heartwarming, we make a simple soup out of canned garbanzo beans (also known as chickpeas). The garlic chips and Parmesan cheese add flavor and texture while the parsley flakes add color.

We complete this meager meal with slices of crusty French or Italian bread or baguette and dip them in an olive oil sauce that complements the soup well—it uses some of the same ingredients (olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and parsley)—so preparation time is quick and all-in-one.

Try this tasty garbanzo beans soup on National Bean Day and during National Soup Month in January with the bonus recipe for the olive oil dipping sauce for bread for a delicious dinner duo!

Recipe

(Adapted from Martha Stewart)

Ingredients

  • 1 can (15 ounces) garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (about a tablespoon)
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 can (1 ¾ cups) chicken broth
  • ½ cup water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • Parmesan cheese, shredded

Directions

Drain and rinse the can of garbanzo beans in a colander. Optional: Rub off and discard extra skin from the beans. Slice the garlic thinly. Heat the oil in a pot over medium heat and stir in the garlic slices.

Add the red pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper to taste. Continue to saute the garlic until it changes color but do not brown or it will become bitter. Remove garlic chips to a plate and set aside. In the same pot, add the drained garbanzo beans. Cook on medium high heat. Smash a bit of the garbanzo beans, leaving a few whole.

Cook for about five minutes in the olive oil before adding the broth and water. Salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 10 more minutes. When ready to serve, ladle into soup bowls. Sprinkle the chopped parsley, Parmesan cheese and garlic chips on top. Serve hot with crusty bread and dipping sauce.

Bonus Recipe: Olive Oil Dipping Sauce for Crusty Bread

(Adapted from My San Antonio)

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped

Directions

In a small cup, combine the olive oil, vinegar, pepper flakes and garlic.

Salt and pepper to taste. Chop the parsley and mix everything. Invert into a lipped plate. Serve with crusty bread.

Notes

  • We halved the original garbanzo soup recipe for just the two of us.
  • Also try the garlic garbanzo soup recipe for something similar to this post.