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What is Indian Korma?

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013 Indian Cuisine

For a cuisine that is so famous for the way it employs spice and heat within it’s dishes, Indian Korma offers a great way to make curry accessible to those people who may be a little fearful of being overpowered by these features. Typically a Korma has a much milder and creamier sauce than other curries such as Vindaloo, and is less reliant on chillies and peppers to create flavor. Instead, Indian Korma dishes are full of rich, delicious flavours that are a pleasure to savour without fretting over them being overpoweringly hot and spicy. As such they are a great dish for newcomers to Indian cuisine, and an essential when ordering a variety of curries to be shared in a group as their cooling, easy going texture superbly complements it’s more robust cousins.

About Korma

The great beauty of curries, and Indian food in general, is that no matter where an aficionado choses to dine no two meals will ever be quite the same. As the cuisine has travelled around the world, and adapted to regional tastes, so too has the principles of what compose certain dishes become slightly blurred. Korma’s are a good example of this, because while in India they are often made to be as warm as other curries, as a rule for western palate they are almost universally one of the very mildest components of a menu.
Indian Lamb KormaA typical Korma relies upon cream and often coconut milk for it’s smooth texture, ingredients that are typically more common in Thai or other east asian cuisines. Many experts believe that the dish originated in the south of India and particularly around the coastal regions where knowledge of these regions was shared through the development of commercial relationships, as the warm climate is very similar to those further east. Therefore the ingredients tend to also be very regionalized, often featuring nuts and raisins to develop the creamy flavor of the sauce. Spices that feature widely in the construction of the sauce tend to be turmeric (for the light yellow color), cumin to bring out a hint of anise within the base of the curry, and coriander – often used to garnish with a light sprinkle.

Chunky vegetables and greens work well in long cooked Kormas, as too do meats such as lamb and chicken. Some Indian Korma restaurants may also offer beef, but generally this works better with more powerful, tomato based and heavier spiced sauces. Given the regional origins of the curry, Korma is also excellent with fish and prawns, their lightness and texture perfectly complementing the lightness of the dish.