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Request for an Excellent, Rich Vegetarian Korma


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I am trying to duplicate the rich, creamy kormas found in our local restaurant. Does anyone have any suggestions? References in books don't seem to describe the navratan korma that is popular here. Published recipes seem to use yogurt or else a pureed nut base. I'm sure that the restaurant version isn't authentic, but it is good. It seems to be based on cream. What combination of spices is suggested?



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I'm sure that the restaurant version isn't authentic, but it is good.

I wouldn't trouble yourself too much with what is and isn't claimed to be authentic. The variations and interpretation of a Korma vary hugely from region to region let alone from chef to chef.

Recently I have had the good fortune to spend some time cooking with Pakistani, Bengali and Indian chefs, and they all employ different methods and ingredients in their versions.

The one I favour includes coconut flour, almond flour (toasted almond nibs, too) and cream.

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The simplest Korma recipe is the one my grandmother in calcutta taught me

You can use it for fish, meat, poultry, vegetables or tofu ( one of my faves )



1 1/2 cups almonds ( ground )

1 cup single cream

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp ginger

1 tsp sugar

1/2 pint boiling water

1 clove chopped garlic

1 green chilli deseeded and chopped

For the other ingredients use whatever vegetables you like. I like to use cauliflower and sweet potato which I steam first.


Mix all the sauce ingredients in a large jug and allow to stand for 5 mins to allow the oils to seep out of the almonds ( this is what thickens the sauce

In a frying pan or preferably a wok, fry the chilli and garlic in sunflower oil until they soften and flavour the oil. Add your vegetables ( or whatever other ingredient ) and warm through.

Finnally add your sauce and cook for 5+ minutes until it begins to thicken ( if it gets to thick, loosen with a little milk or water )

Before serving sqeeze the juice of a lime over and stir in some chopped corriander leaves

Er, that's it. It is authentic ( been in the family for generations ) and very delicious ( even better then next day )


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Er, that's it.  It is authentic

Looks the part, Simon. Eerily similar to the way Babu taught me, too. Have you tried your korma with rich, brown sugars at all? I find muscovado works exceptionally well.

Curiously, I've noticed more and more of these comments on what is and what is not authentic. None of them definitive.

Could you enlighten us?

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This is authentic in no other way than it is a recipe which I know has been used in our family for a very long time and so has stood the test of time. As for other dishes claiming to be "authentic" I don't know. Recipes develop over time, but I would have thought that any recipe which has its origins in an Indian family kitchen has a claim to authenticity

I am not sure about the dark sugars. This particular recipe has a gentle yello colour from the turmeric. Would the dark sugars not make it a darker dish?


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The coloring that I am used to seeing in 'Korma' sauces is always very vibrant red, quite similar to the usual food-coloring spiked tandor items (I'm in Nebraska, the Midwest - or by eGullet geography the West/Southwest).

The Korma taste I'm used to is rather rich...very thick, only slightly creamy... because of the color I'd assumed it may have some tomato-basing, but now that I think on it I've never noticed any tomato acidity.

Do you think this is the same sauce, just with food coloring added?

Most of the approaches I've seen on the Indian forum threads have been home-cooked affairs...does the Indian-American restaurant approach differ to provide an appropriate "appetizing" color?

...I thought I had an appetite for destruction but all I wanted was a club sandwich.

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One of the most misunderstood terms in Indian foods is the korma.

A true "Korma" is a ghee based dish where all water has been evaporated, and the the sauce if any is lapped around the meat or vegetable.

A "Kalia" as opposed to "Korma" is water or milk based gravy and is closer to what is served in Indian restaurants commonly. Origins of "Kalia" again is a mystery to me, I've found it's mention in both Bengali and Kashmiri cuisines.

Both however has its roots in Persian foods or the foods of the Mughal dynasty which again is an evolved cuisine. Having had the patronage of the ruling elite, Mughlai foods as is known today became popular by its sheer brutal force.

The Mughals were not the only blue blooded people, there were other small kingly and princely families having access to the state exchequer, who had equally regal food traditions. Notable are the Rajputs, the Kashmiri kings, the Marathas, the Scindias, and the Nawabs.

The fall of the Empire shifted the power base to the hungry colonials. This change did not leave the cooks out in the Cold. The officers soon employed them in the quarters, noble or not. Was it here then the great “CURRY” was born!!

In its composition, it seems to be largely an evolved cuisine, including its name, which is associated with the ruling dynasty. Mughals however originate from Mongolian ancestry. The evolution was necessitated by the assimilation of local food habits.

In its contemporary form, it has been plagiarized to the extent of being insipid and boring. Anything with a hint of richness in the foods with a mild flavor is passed around as Mughlai. Have we the lost the true recipes of Mughlai foods? Not really, I guess some descendants of the grandeur probably still practice it at homes

Due to its sheer brutal force, it has had a lasting impact on our foods. It is characterized by its opulence and extreme hospitality traditions. Largely supported by the state and its fiscal strength, Mughlai foods have been an important cultural bastion of the Rulers who were at the helm for a few hundred years.

In its early stages its practice was restricted to the palaces and state banquets. The noblemen perhaps vied to employ the best of the cooks for a taste of the conjured delicacies. This art of conjuring has taken a new name in contemporary times called “Creativity” with a French flavor. Its beauty lies in its adaptation to local foods and traditions, like using spices without making it chili hot.

What recipes constitute a Mughlai food is something hard to deduce. Some Awadhi foods with its Persian sounding names could be a part of Mughlai cuisine. Also some Delhi foods may owe its origins to a fall out of the entourage

"Navrattan Korma" is credited to be named after the famed cabinet of Ministers of Emperor Akbar. What constitutes this dish is again a matter of argument. Generally it is accepted to be a vegetable preparation of nine different types, in a creamy sauce. But then there is the "Murgh Navrattan" which does not constitute of any vegetables.


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