Definitions

Korma

Korma

The korma (sometimes spelt kormaa, qorma, khorma, or kurma) is a mild, pale, creamy, curry dish originating in India and can be made with yoghurt, cream, nut and seed pastes or coconut milk. Both vegetarian and non-vegetarian kormas exist.

History

Korma has its roots in the Mughlai cuisine of North India. It is a characteristically creamy and silky Persian-Indian dish which can be traced back to the 16th century and the Mughal incursions into the North-Western parts of India and modern day Pakistan and Bangladesh.

Overview

The flavour is based on a mixture of spices, including ground coriander and cumin, combined with yoghurt or coconut milk kept below curdling temperature and incorporated slowly and carefully. Nuts can be used but not in great quantities; usually almonds or cashews. Korma is generally a mild curry with either chicken, beef or lamb and only a few vegetables, such as onion and potato.

It is important at which point the meat is introduced. Chicken requires fairly thorough coating with the spice mixture and heating evenly at a fairly high temperature (enough to cook each piece properly), followed by a cooling period after which the yoghurt and cream are added. However, lamb requires a very brief initial cooking period to brown the surface of each piece, followed by a cooling process similar to that used for chicken but with a continuous low temperature. This prevents the lamb from toughening, a particular problem if a large amount is to be cooked; temperature heterogeneity is difficult if the mixture is left to stand. This low cooking temperature is usually quite difficult to achieve, but if done correctly results in a memorable dish.

There is a wide variation between individual korma and other mild curry recipes. Chili is nearly always used, but the precise method of preparation results in widely different flavours; likewise the way that the ginger is divided and cooked is critical. Bay leaves or dried coconut may be added.

References

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