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What is Korma?

Korma is a mild creamy meat stew made with yogurt saffron and spices
From Akbarnama, it appears that Korma was created in the royal kitchen of Akbar during mid 1500s. It is surmised that Korma was a fusion of Persian and Indian Cuisine by Rajputs employed in the service of Jodhabai. Rajputs are credited with creating Murgh Musallam. Rajputs created Korma and named it after 'Kurma', a well known Rajput tribe. Most likely ingredients were: Mutton (boneless meat, and bone-in meat), Curd (Yogurt), Cardamom, Black Peppercorn, Ginger, and lots of Saffron. The almonds were soaked in water overnight, peeled and ground, and added to give it a thick creamy texture. Turmeric was rarely used in the royal kitchen to cook meat dishes. The meat is braised just like making Rogan Josh with little bit of water at a time on very low heat till the meat is tender. Korma is not a part of 30 recipes documented in Ain-I-Akbar.
 

What is Navrattan Korma?

Legend has it that Navrattan Korma was created for Akbar in honor of nine ministers in his cabinet. In Hindi, Navrattan means nine gems. There is NO evidence to support this legend but it makes an interesting trivia challenge to guess the nine gems. There are several types of nine gems mentioned.
1. Nine ministers of Akbar Court
2. Nine vegetables (Spinach greens, Mustard Greens, Fennel Greens, Turnips, Carrots, Beets, Onions, Ginger String beans). Remember British have not yet introduced Cauliflower. Portuguese had introduced Potatoes and tomatoes but not yet grown in North India.
3. Nine nuts and dried fruits (Almonds, Cashews, Pistachios, Pine-nuts, Cantaloupe seeds, Watermelon seeds, Pumpkin seeds, Raisins, Dried Apricots)
4. Nine Spices (Cumin seeds, Coriander seeds, Black Cardamom, Black Peppercorn, Cloves, Fennel seeds, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Saffron)
 

Modern Korma

Modern Korma is a mild creamy aromatic base in which vegetables or meats are simmered. Heavy whipping cream and coconut milk to make it a very very mild creamy sauce with subtle aromatic spices such as cardamom cloves and cinnamon. Robust spices such as chilies cumin and black pepper are avoided. Sometime, they will even add in a few tomatoes. There are three types of Korma bases.
 

North Indian Korma
It is also called as Qorma, or Mughlai Korma. The Almonds, Cashews, and Dahi yogurt are ground together to make creamy base. The saffron and cardamoms are used for aroma. There are two versions: Mughalai, and Shahi. The Mughalai Korma has Khoya (reduced milk). The Shahi Korma is popular in Punjab and contains Malai (Cream).
Shahi Vegetable Korma was a favorite dish of late Indra Gandhi (First woman prime minister of India).
 

Korma Kashmir
The Almonds, Cashews,  Dahi yogurt, and milk are ground together to make creamy base. The saffron, cardamoms, and aniseeds are used for aroma. Dried fruits are added before cooking.
 

South Indian Korma
Fresh coconut and coconut milk are used to make the base. Almonds may be added. Kari Patta and Fennel seeds are used for aroma. Unlike North Indian or Kashmir versions, heat is added by cayenne peppers..

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