Korma is a type of a curry that has its roots in Central Asia. Spelled in a variety of ways as qorma, khorma, kavurma and kurma the dish is usually cooked in a thick yoghurt based sauce with various condiments including spices, coconut, nuts and seeds. Korma recipes are as diverse as the region along which it has been popularized although the korma curry is thought to be of Indian origin. The korma can be both vegetarian as well as non vegetarian and the mixture of spices and garnishing differ from area to area as well. The korma recipes can be both exotic and commonplace with the prefix Shahi added on to special types of korma which boast of a royal patronage. The Rogan Josh is yet another kind of korma curry eaten by the people residing in the valley of Kashmir while the Do-piaza or a korma recipes made of onions are relished across South Asia.
History of Korma Recipes
The korma is believed to have originated in the Mughal era and was first prepared in the royal court of present day India. The entire region of South Asia including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan has incorporated the korma curry into their traditional cuisines now. Cooked with a good amount of water, stock and cream or yoghurt, the meat and vegetables were traditionally braised while preparing the korma.
Ingredients Used and Types of Popular Korma Curry
Korma ingredients include the fiery spices of the east of which coriander, cumin seeds, chilli and turmeric powder are absolute musts for preparing a traditional korma curry. The yoghurt that is added to the meat and vegetables is cooked slowly over a long time and the temperature is not expected to cause a curdling of the ingredients as per the korma recipes. A korma can be prepared with any kind of meat including lamb, chicken, sheep or beef. Pork is normally not cooked in a korma curry as the dish itself is considered to be a form of Muslim cuisine where the eating of pork is not permissible. Root vegetables like the potato, turnip and carrot often find their way into the korma recipes too and a delicious modern day vegetarian korma curry consisting of cottage cheese and a variety of vegetables has gained favor as the Navratan Korma.
Cooking & Serving Korma Curry
Korma is quite similar to the other braised methods of cooking with the korma recipes recommending the raw ingredients to be coated with the mixture of spices and yoghurt and marinated for long hours before being converted into a korma curry. The slow drawn process of cooking for the korma may also be done with the ingredients sealed off in a cooking pot by means of dough. Korma recipes vary from region to region with ginger and chili being common to all of them. A fortified form of butter known as ghee is often used for preparing the korma.
Variations of Korma Recipes
A korma dish has become popular in various eating houses in UK of late. It is basically a form of a curry prepared with mild spices and a thick and heavy cream based gravy. Although known as the korma it bears almost no resemblance to the traditional dish from the Indian subcontinent. The korma pilau is yet another dish popular in Afghan cuisine. It is made of pieces of dry korma mixed with fragrant rice garnished with an assortment of nuts, raisins and bay leaves.
Nutritional Facts of Korma
A dish high in calories, the korma consists of a fairly good quantity of the three basic foods carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Addition of nuts and raisins to the korma curry increases the nutritive value somewhat, however, it is a rich and spicy dish not meant for everyday consumption.
Miscellaneous Facts about Korma
• Both steamed rice or Naan breads, unleavened bread, can be served along with the korma sauce.
• Nuts and other condiments are often toasted and powdered before being added to the sauce or gray. This is predominantly used as a thickening agent.
• Korma sauce can be prepared a few days in advance and stored in the freezer before being used.
• The north Indian version uses cardamom and saffron for creating the special aroma while the base of the korma curry is prepared by dried coconuts and coconut milk in the South of India. Curry leaves and fennel are used for the aroma which differs considerably from the North Indian or the Mughlai variety.
• Tomatoes are added in the modern day version of the korma recipe but had not been used traditionally.
The Akbarnama mentions korma as a dish prepared for the legendary Mughul Emperor. The Rajputs, a warrior clan of people inhabiting western India are credited with naming the dish after Kurma, one of their tribes.