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Suvir's Murgh Korma


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Per Suvir's request I plated and took a picture of the Korma that I prepared from his recipe. It was great. I've cooked several Indian dishes before and would love to try more. I usually cook a chicken curry and serve it with some fragrant lemon rice and chutney. The array and use of spices is my main attraction to all Indian dishes in addition to cooking with yogurt. Not to mention the subtle similarities between Indian and middle eastern (Lebanese) cooking. the combination of Cardamom with cinnamon, chillies, cloves, coriander and yogurt is heavenly. I guess I will be trying the Biryani next Suvir.

whitekorma.jpg

Thanks Again

FM

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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The array and use of spices is my main attraction to all Indian dishes in addition to cooking with yogurt. Not to mention the subtle similarities between Indian and middle eastern (Lebanese) cooking. the combination of Cardamom with cinnamon, chillies, cloves, coriander and yogurt is heavenly. I guess I will be trying the Biryani next Suvir.

Thanks Again

FM

Thank you FM! :smile:

And thanks for making an effort to even make the plate look attractive. I owe you big time.

This particular recipe showcases the brilliant Kormas that are a shining example of Mogul Cuisine. And you have hit the nail in the head by speaking about the similarities between Indian and Middle Eastern cooking. In the context of this recipe, it could not be more poignant.

Kormas were delicately spiced, yogurt or cream based sauces that were part of the Muslim world of India. These sauces were prized for a very subtle balancing of spices with the flavor of the meat and also of the dairy. Care was taken to ensure that the sauce would get spiced without killing the flavor of the dairy. The meats were marinated and cooked so as to ensure that they would retain their own flavor without imparting too strong a suggestion into the sauce.

And these Kormas (not what we get in restaurants or even most Indian homes) were part of a larger Indian tradition. They were the prized dishes served at decadent Mogul feasts. Kormas were prepared with all white spices. The cloves were removed before finishing the sauce, as also the black cardamom. The cardamom left was always bleached white. The idea was to keep the sauce all white. And therefore, only white meats were used. The tradition of such feasts is found in some books (unfortunately now found in loose pages in museums around the world. Just a few weeks ago the NY Times had done a story on the Shahjahan Nama or the Babur Nama. And how it was the most elaborate biography ever written. But today, only a few pages can be found. And these are in the collection of different museums) and miniature paintings. The recipes are written in Persian or Urdu for the most part.

The Biryaani is as delicate a biryaani as you will find in Indian cooking. This biryaani could perhaps be the closest to what was first eaten by these invaders that came to India from regions west of India.

I am sure FM, you can share some great insight into this for us. I hope you will. And again, thanks for the picture. And making an effort to make a simple dish look special. You are very kind. :smile:

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I too have made Suvir's version and it is absolutely wonderful!

Suvir I have a question about removing the whole spices from the dish, especially a dish like this because there are so many.

Does the cook remove them before bringing it to the table or does each diner remove them as they find them? Is it impolite to swirl your eating utensils around in the curry looking for them before you eat?

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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I too have made Suvir's version and it is absolutely wonderful!

Suvir I have a question about removing the whole spices from the dish, especially a dish like this because there are so many.

Does the cook remove them before bringing it to the table or does each diner remove them as they find them? Is it impolite to swirl your eating utensils around in the curry looking for them before you eat?

Nothing is improper if done in a circumspect manner. You should do what would make you more comfortable and better company to have at a dining table.

In India, we would tie up the whole spices into a muslin bag and then fry them in the oil. Of course you then fry them a little longer. At the end of the cooking time, and before serving, you discard the bag.

I always tell our friends to remove as they eat. It is difficult for a novice diner, but after a meal or two, even the novice can chat, eat and joke at the same time. It becomes second nature. Like typing, a trained eye would not have to look at the hands... The fork will pick the whole spices for you.. and you can discard them to the side of the plate without even having to look for them.

Was there anything different or new in your experience with this Korma? Have you had Kormas before? Did you make the Biryani as well?

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Thank you for this great food history lesson Suvir (hope to see a lot more like it in your book). Food and food history never cease to amaze me and stir up my imagination for trying new and ancient recipes. When I mentioned cooking in yogurt and the similarities between Indian and Lebanese/middle eastern recipes and techniques I was thinking about stuff like the lamb (or beef) braised in a delicate yogurt sauce that has been stabilized to prevent curdling. This is an ancient recipe that can be found in Claudia Roden's middle eastern cooking book. It is called "Laban Umo" (?sp) or by it's ancient name "Maddira". "Laban Umo" in Arabic means "his mother's milk" and refers to cooking the young calf/lamb in the milk that could potentially be from it's mother!!!

If you've never tried it check it out in the Roden book (I'm assuming you have it Suvir). A Wonderful "Korma" type dish.

Another is my mom's "Koussa bi laban" which is a dish I haven't had for years. It means "Zuchini in Yogurt" and this is not the big zuchinis you find here. She uses much smaller (4-5 inches) specimens with a very light green skin, cores them and stuffs them with rice and ground beef. Then they are slowly cooked in stabilized yogurt with crushed dried mint and other spices (I actually think Roden's book has this recipe as well). This sure takes me back to my childhood. I will defenitly try cooking it if I find suitable zuchinis.

Two great examples froma great cuisine.

Suvir I have a question about removing the whole spices from the dish, especially a dish like this because there are so many.

Does the cook remove them before bringing it to the table or does each diner remove them as they find them? Is it impolite to swirl your eating utensils around in the curry looking for them before you eat?

I wondered the same thing and I ended up just removing the cloves and peppercorns while eating.

FM

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Suvir, the Murgh Kormas I have had in restaurants were always described as ground nut based, often cashew nuts. Well prepared, Murgh Korma has always been on my favorite dishes in Indian cooking list. Are the kormas you describe similar to the ones I've had or are the ones I've had not authentic?

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