Monday, May 15, 2017

How to Cook Korma – Simple Recipe

A Simple Recipe 

Dear Reader: Let me delve into Foodie Archives and pull out my recipe for one of the first dishes I learnt to cook as a young boy...

Simple Curry  Mutton Korma  Easy to Cook   Tastes Delicious
Long back  in the late 1960’s  or early 1970’s I think  in Bareilly  we once went for a meal in a restaurant called Rio  if I remember correctly. 
(I wonder if Rio Restaurant still exists in Bareilly)
As everyone ordered chicken and veg dishes  I wanted to have mutton that day. 
And  in the list of the usual mutton dishes  I spotted Mutton Korma  and  I decided to eat it. 
Being an inquisitive person  I wanted to know what “Korma” meant. 
So  I asked the cooks over there what was the meaning of “Korma”.
They told me that Korma means gravy made without Haldi (turmeric)
Is this a fact...? 
Can some culinary expert tell us more about this – is this true  or is it just a myth...? 
If you google “Korma” – you will see that Korma” is defined as a mildly spiced Indian curry dish of meat or fish or vegetables marinated in yogurt or curds. 
But – I will stick to the definition that the cooks in Rio Restaurant Bareilly told me almost 50 years ago that Korma means gravy made without Haldi (turmeric)

I was curious  so the cooks allowed me into the kitchen  and they let me see this simple dish being prepared.
This is the first non-veg recipe I learnt  and I used to make it often  because it is simple and straightforward to cook. 
In fact – I have learnt most recipes by watching the dishes being made in restaurant kitchens  and later – when I was in the Navy – I used to observe talented Navy Cooks prepare typical Navy Cuisine Dishes in Ships Galleys. 
Now coming back to Korma – let me share the recipe for a simple Mutton Korma with you. 
In a nutshell – Korma is a braised dish – the meat is first fried in spiced sauce (comprising masalas and pastes)  and then  it is stewed slowly in a closed container. 
So – first let us start with frying the masalas, pastes and mutton.
Place a thick bottomed vessel on your stove  add a generous quantity of pure ghee – yes – pure ghee (clarified butter)  switch on your stove – turn on the heat – and – heat the pure ghee till it is hot. 
(I never pressure cook meat  as I feel  slow cooking brings out the taste best). 
Add the whole masalas [tejpatta (bay leaf), choti and badi elaichi (small and big cardamom), laung (cloves), dalchini (cinnamon), kali miri (peppercorn)]
Saute the whole masalas – till they start crackling.
Then – put in lots of finely chopped onions  and fry the onions till brown and crisp.
Add ginger-garlic paste, red chillies  and fry till the moisture evaporates.
Then add the mutton pieces  and stir lightly  and gently roast the mutton in its own juices till dry. 
Now add whipped curd (yoghurt)  and let the mutton cook in the curd  stirring very slightly from time to time.
When the gravy becomes dry  and starts sticking to the bottom  lower the heat  add water to cover the mutton. 
Then  cover the vessel  and simmer on slow fire  stirring once every few minutes. 
If required – you can add a bit of water so that the mutton does not stick to the vessel. 
Cook slowly  till the mutton is done 
You must keep sampling to see that the mutton is done to your taste – and the cooking process should take between 20 to 40 minutes – depending on the quality of mutton – and how you like it done. 
When almost ready  add salt to taste  sprinkle a little cardamom powder for flavour – and give a final simmering boil to the curry – take off from the fire – and then  as a final touch – garnish with fresh green coriander leaves.
The Mutton Korma is ready to eat with chapati, roti, pav, or rice  whatever you like. 
I used to like cooking and eating Mutton Korma.
It is simple to cook  no fancy laborious time-consuming preparations and marinades – it is not too spicy  korma tastes nice and mild  and the dish is ready to eat in less than an hour. 

KORMA – What is the true meaning of Meaning of Korma”...?
About the “turmeric” part  will someone please enlighten us...? 
Is it true that Korma means gravy made without Haldi (turmeric) – as the cook in Bareilly had told me almost 50 years ago...?
I cook korma without Haldi (turmeric)  but I have seen recipes of korma which include turmeric. 
Try out this simple dish – you will relish the freshly prepared delicious steaming mutton korma with piping hot chapatis/rotis/phulkas or fresh fluffy pav or buns/bread or even rice. 
You can improvise a bit – add cashew paste to make the Korma thicker and yummier – or like they do in South India – add coconut milk to get a distinctive “Coastal flavour.
I love a vegetarian dish called Navratan Korma too – it is nice and sweetish.
I don’t know how to make Navratan Korma  but from the taste  it seems that Navratan Korma too doesn’t contain Haldi (turmeric) 
So maybe  the definition of Korma as told to me by the cook in Bareilly is correct: 
Korma means Gravy made without Haldi (turmeric)...” 
Happy Cooking and Blissful Eating...!
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
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1. This is an “experimental” recipe – so try it at your own risk. I suggest you vary the Exact Quantity/Proportion of ingredients as per your culinary experience and taste.
2. All stories in this blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

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