Probably there are many versions of korma, but my version is simple, white and delicious.
There is no coriander or chilli powder in this curry. Korma is a Moghul creation which is flavoured with nuts, spices and rich cream. I have followed the Moghul tradition to make this curry (this recipe was given to me by a dear friend who is a great cook of Moghul cuisine), so it is very different from the ones that we get in the usual restaurants.
Even though it is different in looks, the korma is to die for! It goes very well with crusty bread, chappati, or any flatbread as well as simple, plain white rice. As it is very mild, non-spicy food eaters will love this curry! So when serving with rice, I always add a hot chutney to go with it.
This is a dish that I don’t really like to order whenever I go to a restaurant, because it always comes out as a fusion curry of sorts, or simply a gravy with coconut and coriander. And I never get the authentic korma. That’s a disappointment! The only restaurant that you can get a good korma is usually at a fine dining restaurant serving Moghul cuisine which is what I like very much! When the waiter brings it to you, the aroma of the korma hits you and you must dig in quickly!
My version is exactly that and you will see the difference immediately once you have made it.
It is fragrant, mild and aromatic! Make it and I want to hear from you!
1 chicken, about 1.2 kg, cut into medium-sized pieces
3 large onions
6 cloves garlic
2 inch (4 cm) piece ginger
2 tbsp ghee
2 bay leaves
1 stick cinnamon
4 cardomom pods
½ tsp grated nutmeg
2 tsp white pepper powder
3 tbsp cream
2 tsp garam masala*
4 tbsp raw cashew nuts
4 tbsp raw almonds
6 green chillies
Salt to taste
2 stalks Coriander leaves, for garnishing
Blend the onions, garlic and ginger to a paste. Keep aside.
Blend the nuts with the green chillies with ¼ cup of water to a fine paste. Keep aside.
Heat a pot, pour the ghee, add in the whole spices.
Once you get a nice aroma, add the onion mixture, stir well till soft but not browned (remember we want a white korma), and do make sure that it is on low heat. This will take about 4 minutes.
Add yoghurt, continue to stir for about 5 minutes. Add in the chicken pieces, white pepper powder, salt and nutmeg. Stir to combine and let it simmer for about 15 minutes.
Add the nut paste, ½ cup water or more if you want more gravy, and let it cook gently for a further 5 minutes.
Test for taste, at this stage. Add more salt or pepper if necessary.
Add in the cream and sprinkle the garam masala. Stir well for 3 to 5 minutes and remove from the heat.
Garnish with coriander leaves and more cream if desired.
The onion paste can be blended coarsely or finely, according to your preference.
If you completely do not want the green chilli – it is alright to omit. But if you want a spicier korma, add more green chillies. Or you may omit the white pepper powder and keep the green chilly – again your preference.
If you do not have nutmeg, it is also optional.
Garam masala is an aromatic spice mix – it can be obtained from larger supermarkets or Indian grocery stores.