Tuesday, July 22, 2008


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Korma, Kurma, Qurrama, Quorma ...so many different names and so many different myths. But ask someone, even a restaurant guy as to what a Korma is and you will see a different look of blankness. The most amazing explanation that I have come across is that any creamy dish made without turmeric or tomatoes is Korma. It would have sufficed but for the fact that I knew many Korma dishes that used turmeric, if not tomatoes.
So let me try explaining this one...who knows someone may write a post quoting mine as the most ridiculous explanation. Korma (KOR-mah) is a curry with mild, creamy aromatic stew base in which meat or vegetables are simmered slowly. More specifically Korma is a cooking technique which means braising. The Larousse Gastronomique which I have consulted many times over for different things defines it as a mildy spiced Indian dish thickened with poppy seeds and/or nuts such as almonds/cashews. Yogurt and/or cream can be used to thicken the sauce and make it more creamy.
Over time I have come to three types of Korma, the north indian or mughlai korma where almonds, cashews and yogurt is used to make the creamy base. Addition of saffron and cardamoms given the dish the aroma. The second type of korma is the kashmiri korma which has a lot dried fruits added to the dish. It may not be as thick as the mughali korma. The last one is south indian Korma also called Kurma in those parts. Here coconut milk and freshly grated coconut make the creamy base. The aroma is contributed by addition of Curry leaves and fennel. In some restaurants you may find certain dishes like malai korma or shahi korma, which are but north indian kormas with liberal addition of cream.
Case over, I move on to make my version of the Murg Korma and yes! I have used turmeric in it.

Murg Korma


Chicken, cleaned and cut into pieces - 500 gm
Onion Paste - 1 Cup
Ginger-Garlic Paste - 2 Tblsp
Red Chili Powder - 2 Tsp
Turmeric Powder - 2 Tsp
Yogurt - 1 and a1/2 Cup
Garam Masala Powder - 1 Tsp
Poppy Seeds paste - 2 Tblsp
Almond Paste - 2 Tbslp
Salt - To Taste
Oil - 3 Tbslp

Method :
1. Marinate the chicken with 1/2 cup yogurt, salt and 1/4 cup onion paste. Keep aside for 30 minutes.
2. Heat oil in a wok.
3. Add in the onion paste and ginger-garlic paste. Fry till it starts turning brown.
4. Add in the chicken pieces and fry them for 2 minutes.
5. Add in the garam masala, red chili powder and turmeric powder. Fry for a minute.
6. Add in the poppy seed and almond paste. Mix well.
7. Add in the whisked yogurt. Add in some water and simmer for 10 minutes.
8. Serve hot garnished with fresh cream.

This is my contribution to Srivalli's curry mela. Sri, Havent been able to contribute to all those wonderful events that you ran all this while. Hope this makes up for them :)


jayasree said...

Stories behind kurma made good read.

Andhra Flavors said...

Wow lovely chicken kurma!

Gaurav said...

Jayasree, I love these stories behind food. Makes you so much a part of the discovery process. Try this book called Curry by Lizzie Cunningham...excellent stories on some famous dishes in India...a little too long and tends to go side track sometimes...but good read.
Sita, thanks ...though made it in a hurry ...guess could have done a better job...better try next time ..lemme know how it turns out if u try it out.

Anonymous said...

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Srivalli said...

Thats such a lovely looking dish...and yes nice read!...looks like you are quite busy eh?

Hema said...

Hi, In Murg Korma recipe, you have mentioned about the onion paste. Is it brown onion paste, boiled onion paste or just raw onions ground? Can you please clarify? Can you also post recipes for aloo matar gravy, cauliflower peas gravy?

Gaurav said...

Hi Hema...apologies for the confusion. It is Brown Onion Paste that should be used for the Korma.
Also, will post the recipes for Aloo Matar gravy and cauliflower peas gravy fairly soon.

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