I was wondering out loud to my wife the other day about why most countries center their cuisine around rice, bread and noodles, but India doesn't? China uses both rice as well as noodles as a base for most meals, and serves dishes alongside fried or steamed buns. Italy has risotto and pasta as well as a plethora of baked breads. Mexico, no wait, England, um no... Ethiopia?.... ok now that I'm considering this in more detail I can actually think of a lot of cultures that don't incorporate noodles into their cuisine. But whatever, I had obviously not been thinking very deeply when I conceived this dish. Anyway, conceive it i did; my initial idea was potatoes and peas in curry but with gnocchi instead of potatoes, but then I didn't have peas so I used carrots instead. I didn't want to just run right into noodles with curry, so I used something closer to dumplings, which reminded me of a kofta makhani I recently had. But not to worry, I hereby declare that Indian noodles are on their way.
The korma recipe i used is super spiced and very rich. The trick is to cook the onions long enough that they become a kind of paste for the base of the sauce. Ground cashews add a nutty robustness, balanced by the tang of yogurt and the sweetness of coconut milk. I included some un-recommended butter because, come on, I'm me, for some extra richness, and it actually gave the dish a very satisfying greasiness, if that even makes sense.
Butter Count: 3 Tbsp
2 white onions, peeled and quartered
6 cloves garlic, peeled
4 tsp curry powder
2 tsp turmeric
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
3 Tbsp butter
3 large tomatoes, diced
1 Tbsp freshly grated ginger
1/2 cup ground raw almonds
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1 1/2 cups plain low-fat yogurt
1/2 small red chili, de-seeded and minced
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 carrots, sliced into discs
1 1/2 lbs russet potatoes
1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
1/2 egg, beaten
1 cup + 1 Tbsp flour
salt and pepper to taste
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1. Measure out the spices (curry powder through cumin) into a bowl. These ratios are important so be sure to measure carefully.
2. Place the onions, garlic, and 1 cup of water into a blender and blend until smooth.
3. Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion mixture and cook about 3 minutes, stirring constantly, until it begins to darken slightly. Add the pre-measured spices and stir until well combined with the onion mixture. Cook about one or two minutes until very fragrant.
4. Add the tomatoes, ginger, ground cashews, coconut milk, yogurt, red chili, and brown sugar. Stir until all ingredients are fully incorporated. Add the carrots and bring to a boil.
5. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and continue cooking until fully thickened, at least one hour
6. Cover the potatoes by one inch of salted water in a pot. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil about 28 minutes until a knife slides easily into the potatoes.
7. Drain and transfer the potatoes to a lightly floured work surface. Immediately remove the potato skins. Cut the potatoes into workable chunks and pass them through a potato ricer. Spread the riced potatoes onto the work surface.
8. Allow the riced potato to rest 5 minutes before sprinkling the Parmesan evenly over it. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Blend the cheese and seasonings into the riced potato by repeatedly scraping and spreading the mixture on the work surface.
9. Stir in the beaten egg using a metal spatula or a bench scraper. Gently sprinkle in the flour and stir the mass until a dough forms.
10. Knead the dough until uniform, no more than one minute. Flour a knife and cut the dough into four pieces. Roll each out into a rope about 1/2 inches wide on the floured work surface. Use the floured knife to cut the ropes into 1/2-inch lumps.
11. Roll each lump over a lightly floured gnocchi board. YouTube can show you the proper technique :)
12. Transfer the rolled gnocchi to a floured baking sheet. Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil.
13. In batches, add the desired amount of gnocchi to the water, and freeze the rest in freezer-safe bags. Boil 3-5 minutes until the gnocchi are fully cooked. Transfer them to a strainer and immediately add them to a bowl of ice water and allow them to sit about 30 minutes to stop the cooking. Stir the cooked gnocchi into the korma to coat fully. After about 1 minute, remove the pot from the heat and serve immediately, garnished with green onion.