KORMA – a simple dish


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, and I wonder if it still exists. 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 decided to eat it. Inquisitive, I wanted to know what “Korma” meant, so I asked, and they told me that Korma means gravy made without haldi (turmeric). Is this a fact? Let’s leave that to the experts! I was curious, so they allowed me into the kitchen and let me see this simple dish being prepared – this is the first non-veg recipe I learnt, and I make it often because it is simple and straightforward to cook. Let me share it with you. Heat pure ghee [yes, pure ghee] in a vessel [I never pressure cook meat as I feel slow cooking brings out the taste]; add the whole masalas [tejpatta, cardamom (choti and badi elaichi), laung, dalchini, kali miri (peppercorn)], sauté till they start crackling, and then put in lots of finely chopped onions and fry till brown and crisp, add ginger garlic paste, red chillies, and fry till the moisture evaporates, then add the mutton pieces, and stir lightly, roasting the mutton in its own juices till dry. Now add whipped curds, and let the mutton cook in the curds, stirring very slightly from time to time, and when it becomes dry and starts sticking to the bottom, add water, cover, and simmer on slow fire, stirring once in a while, till done. When almost ready, add salt to taste, a little cardamom powder for flavour, give a final simmering boil to the curry, garnish with fresh coriander, and the Mutton Korma is ready to eat with chapatti, roti, pav, or rice, whatever you like. 

I like cooking and eating mutton korma – it’s simple to cook, no fancy laborious time-consuming preparations and marinades, it’s not too spicy and tastes nice and mild, and the dish is ready to eat in half an hour. About the “turmeric” part, will someone please enlighten us? I cook korma without turmeric but I’ve seen recipes of korma which include turmeric. I love a veg dish called Navratan Korma – it’s nice and sweetish, I don’t know how to make it, but from the taste looks like it too doesn’t contain turmeric.  Happy Cooking and Blissful Eating VIKRAM KARVE

http://vikramkarve.sulekha.com  vikramkarve@sify.com 

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