Yes, you read that right. Banana chicken korma. Before you turn your nose on the idea of having banana and chicken mixed together, hear me out. I promise that this is one cracker of a paleo curry and is definitely worth trying.
Last week I was reading a book, in which the author was describing how surprisingly well banana goes with chicken. It also talked about banana and coconut, which I knew. The same week I had a regular korma curry from a local Indian. Sitting there I thought that if banana goes well with chicken and banana goes well with coconut, then all three should go well together. And then I thought about that chicken korma and the idea for this recipe was born.
Now, the curry purists might point out that this is not an authentic korma because I’m not using yoghurt or I’m not using garam masala, but this is my version and it’s based on my own korma imagination. It’s a dairy free korma with all of the flavour elements you would expect from the original but it has an amazing complexity and natural sweetness that comes from the banana. Let me point out that the banana flavour is very subtle in this dish, so it’s not like a savoury banana milkshake or anything like that. I have to say that when I first added the sauce to the pot, it did taste like banana, but after 20 minutes of cooking that flavour became very mild and beautifully integrated with other spices and seasoning.
Whether you’re a banana fan or not, trust me when I say that this chicken curry is amazing. I have high curry standards so I wouldn’t recommend something that I didn’t think would be worthy of sharing. My partner and I enjoyed it so much that I’m going to cook it again this week. Plus, it’s super easy. I served it with cauliflower rice and some collard greens and broccoli with garlic and ginger. You can have it with regular rice or quinoa, or any other vegetables.
You can make this paleo chicken korma with other meat, prawns or vegetables. If using prawns, cook the sauce with some vegetables first and then add the prawns in the last few minutes of cooking as they don’t need much time at all. For a vegetarian version, I recommend to make it with cauliflower, green beans and mushrooms. Frozen peas can be replaced with green beans or broccoli. If making a larger batch, double the ingredients.
- 1/3 cup almond flakes
- 1 small to medium banana, broken into pieces
- 2/3 cup coconut cream (thickened part of the coconut milk is fine)
- 2 large cloves garlic
- 1/3 cup tomato puree/passata/diced tinned tomatoes
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 teaspoons ghee or coconut oil
- 1 medium brown onion, diced
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
- 500 grams diced chicken meat
- 1 medium carrot, diced
- 2/3 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 2/3 teaspoon mild curry powder
- 1/4 teaspoon chilli flakes
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds or 3–4 cardamom pods
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice
- 1/2 cup frozen peas (thawed out)
- Add almond flakes to a medium frying pan and heat over medium heat. Cook for about 2 minutes, stirring frequently, until toasted and golden brown. Stir more frequently in the last 30 seconds as they will start to toast very quickly. Remove to a bowl.
- Place banana, coconut cream/milk, garlic, tomato puree and water in a food processor. Add half of the toasted almond flakes (reserve the rest for later). Process until smooth, scraping the sides.
- Heat ghee in a heavy base saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for two minutes, then add ginger and stir through for about 30 seconds.
- Add chicken and carrots to the pot and stir through. Then add all of the spices and salt and stir through until well combined. Pour the coconut banana mix into the saucepan, add lime or lemon juice, stir and bring to boil. Then cover with a lid, turn the heat to medium-low and cook for 15 minutes.
- After 15 minutes, add the thawed out peas, stir, uncover and cook for a further 5 minutes (no lid on).
- Serve topped with the remaining almonds and fresh coriander or mint.
- Keep leftovers in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. This curry will freeze well. Add a little water when reheating. This can also be made in a slow cooker.
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