I have often debated with my intellect as to why Korma/Khurma is represented as a mildly flavoured dish.
In actuality, it is a royal dish that was traditionally created and crafted to serve the Royal Mughal connoisseurs who had an unmatched grandeur of everything they put their hands on, and their food was no exception.
For a fact, korma was introduced to India by the Mughals. With time and culture, the authentic version has seen many changes and has lost its wine.
Traditionally, Korma is made by braising the main ingredient that is marinated and later cooked with a rich, creamy, nutty sauce made with either seeds or/and nuts and simmered over a slow fire with a sealed lid that imparts a delightful texture to this dish.
I have been somewhat fortunate to cook this dish to little perfection if not fully royal.
This is how we traditionally make Korma at L.C and considering it to be a royal dish, adding step by step pictures is worth this post.
Here is our recipe.
Preparation Time: 15 mins
Cooking Time: 35 mins
Passive time: 15mins
Total Time: 1 hr
Yields: 4 servings
FOR STEP 1: MARINATING
4 cups cooked chickpeas, or 2 tins of chickpeas, drained
1 cup yogurt, vegans can use plant-based yogurt
1 tsp ground turmeric powder
1 tsp ground red chilli powder
2 tsp ground coriander powder
salt to taste, be aware if using tinned chickpeas as they already have some salt
FOR STEP 2: CURRY PASTE
1/2 cup cashew nuts, soaked ( I added few pecans and few almonds as well)
2 onions, chopped roughly
6-8 cloves of garlic pods
2 green chilli
3 tbsp of fresh coriander leaves, chopped
FOR STEP 3: TEMPERING WHOLE SPICES
2 tbsp ghee or any cooking oil
2 bay leaves
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/4tsp black peppercorns, whole
1" cinnamon stick
3-4 green cardamom, smashed
2-3 black cardamoms, crushed (optional)
1-star aniseed (optional)
1 tbsp of dry fenugreek leaves/1 tbsp kewda water/5-6 saffron strands soaked in 1 tbsp milk
Few whole nuts/seeds/coriander leaves
Take a large bowl with chickpeas and add all the spice powders listed in step 1 under ingredients with yogurt being the last one to go in and mix all the contents well and keep it aside for 15 mins.
This step infuses the spices and marinates the chickpeas.
First, blend the soaked nuts into a smooth paste by adding little water. Then separately blend the rest of the ingredients listed in under step2 to make a green curry paste.
Heat the ghee or any cooking oil that you are using in a heavy-bottomed pan to a medium-high and put the whole spices listed in step3 under the ingredients list.
Temper these spices into the hot oil until they sizzle to brown and aromatic.
Stir in the green curry paste and saute it until the raw smell vanishes. If needed, splash some water to avoid the paste from caramelising into a deep brown.
Transfer the chickpeas and increase the heat to a high temperature/flame and braise the marinated chickpeas and cook for about 7-10 mins, stirring gently.
Reduce the flame to low heat setting/temperature.
Now, add the cashew paste into the pan and mix in some water.
I used the rinsed water from the cashew paste jar that I used to blend the nuts.
Mix all the contents into the pan and adjust the salt and add more water AS DESIRED.
Add the dry fenugreek leaves at this point and mix well.
Sprinkle the saffron strands and the kewra water on top and simmer the korma over low heat under the *sealed lid for about 10 mins.
*Sealing the lid:
Take a clean wet kitchen towel and seal the pan with the towel. Put the lid on the top and gather all the edges of the towel as shown in the image below.
This step ensures that korma doesn't lose any steam and cooks succulently and thoroughly.
One can use the aluminium foil instead to seal the lid as well.
If you don't fancy picking the whole spices out while eating, you can always grind the whole spices but in 1/4th of the given quantity.
Alternatively, use a tea infuser spoon (as in the image below) or a small piece of cheesecloth to put the whole spices and drop them into the korma in step 5 and discard them just before serving.
You can garnish the korma with seeds, nuts, dry fruits or with just coriander leaves and serve with any flatbreads or steamed rice.
We paired it perfectly with some homemade chapati and it was a real royal treat. Try it!
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