I have been getting a lot of requests for onion-less sauces lately. Apparently, people really hate to cook with onions. I get it. Adding onions to a recipe (especially Indian) has two major draw backs. Firstly, onion based sauces demand constant attention, because stepping away from the stove for even 5 minutes could mean the death of a sauce. Secondly, adding onions to a sauce increases its cooking time by at least 10 minutes. Plus, prepping onions is a labor intensive and teary process. So I totally get the onion hate in busy workday kitchens (if you are an onion hater then you will like this easy Butter Chicken sauce).
But what about recipes that demand onions? Like Chicken Chaanp, Biriyani, Tikka Masala, Chicken Bharta, or Mutton Kosha? Ignoring onions may not even be an option when you are entertaining, because, let’s face it, onions add a level of depth and richness to some sauces that cannot be achieved without onions. I did an experiment last month where I made two versions of chicken Korma–with and without onions. While the one without onions was quite delicious, it wasn’t nearly as “restaurant style” as I would have liked it to be. It was much easier to achieve the taste that I was looking for with onions. But I really do hate chopping onions. So I decided to use store bought fried onions in my sauce this time. Result? Mind blown! Fried onions add the desired texture and richness with its characteristic sweetness without any hassles.
Also, using fried onions cuts down the prepping and cooking time by at least 20 minutes. I wouldn’t recommend using store bought fried onions all time because it cannot be very healthy, but it can be a useful shortcut when you are entertaining. What’s best about this particular chicken recipe with fried onions is that you can run everything through a food processor, slightly braise the chicken, throw everything in a slow cooker and forget about it. Five hours later you will have the perfect chicken korma.
Restaurant style chicken Korma in slow cooker recipe
Level: easy Preparation time: 15 mins Cooking time: 10 mins Slow cooker time: 5 hrs Resting time: 2 hrs Serves: 6
1 kg chicken on the bones
2 tbsp ghee or canola oil
1 tbsp garlic paste
1 tbsp ginger paste
2 cups of chicken stock
Salt to taste
2 tsp garam masala powder
a few drops of rose water (optional)
1 liter water
3 tbsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp vinegar
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 cup fried onions
1 cup cashew nuts (boiled in water for 15 minutes and drained)
2 tbsp full fat yogurt
1 cup full fat yogurt
1 tbsp coriander powder
1 1/2 tbsp cumin powder
1 tbsp red chili powder
1 tbsp paprika or Kashmiri red chili powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
8-10 black peppercorns
1 inch stick of cinnamon
6-8 green cardamoms
1 black cardamom
Chopped cilantro/coriander leaves
1 tsp of cream (optional)
In a large bowl mix all the ingredients listed under “for brining”, add chicken, cover and refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
Meanwhile, mix the ingredients listed under “onion paste” in a food processor using a little water if necessary and refrigerate until ready to use.
Mix all the ingredients listed under “yogurt mix” in a bowl and refrigerate until ready to use.
When the chicken has brined for at least 2 hours, drain the brining fluid and dry the chicken pieces using paper towels. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Heat oil/ghee in a deep frying pan. Lower the heat to medium and add the whole spices. When the spices start spluttering (1-2 minutes) add ginger garlic paste and cook until fragrant. Next add the onion paste. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until the oil separates while stirring continually.
Next add the yogurt mix and cook, stirring continuously, for another 3-4 minutes or until oil separates.
Add the chicken pieces to braise them slightly–approximately 2 minutes on each side.
Season with salt, add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Transfer to a slow cooker and cook on high for 4-5 hours. If you don’t have a slow cooker use a pressure cooker without the whistle and rubber gasket and cook over very low heat for 1 hour. But when using pressure cooker you have to give the contents a stir every 30 minutes to avoid sticking to the bottom of the cooker.
Sprinkle the garam masala powder and rose water immediately after turning off heat.
Garnish with cilantro and cream. Serve with naan or steamed rice.