The Curry Sauce's Source: Korma
Ergh the Korma. A curry designed for men that like cushions, people with a spice phobia and anyone under the age of 2. The mint yoghurt with the popadoms is hotter than this puke coloured lame excuse for a curry. Neither of us have ever ordered a korma in or out of an Indian restaurant, it's the butt of all our limited array of curry jokes, and it's a curry that annoys most people. Only recently in a curry house, Andy jokingly mentioned ordering korma and chips only to be barked at by a woman on another table disgusted at this criminal act. That's right - even women think its a joke!
However there must be a reason for this curry blog, we must be going somewhere with this other than another slagging off korma pitch (here's the last slagging off).
Just as we dug into the history of the vindaloo in our last curry sauce source, and as we continue to expand our curry knowledge and share it with you, we thought we'd delve deeper into what a REAL korma is. This dish didn't just appear from nowhere and land on every curry house menu in the UK.........did it?
When starting the research for this blog, it was surprisingly difficult to get a definitive answer to our question, there was more to the korma than meets the eye and the initial facts were pleasing. Korma is in fact of Mughal origin, which include modern day India and Pakistan, and is not something invented just to appease us Brits: Good start.
Korma curries generally contains nuts and a form of dairy, either cream or yoghurt. Some areas of India even use coconut milk, which is like milk and nuts all in the same tin! What we know a korma to be in the UK isn't actually a korma, a korma isn't even a curry! A korma is a particular cooking method which involves braising the meat, usually (but not always) with stock, cream/yoghurt, nuts and spices. Braising is essentially what most of us would do with a stew like dish, seal the meat then cook in liquid on a low heat. We've even read about some curries (that do not contain nuts, yoghurts and cream) being a form of korma, like the dupiaza and rogan gosht. That starts to get a little confusing so we, the curry sauce, have come up with this statement regarding what a korma is:
Braised meat with the addition of nuts, cream/yoghurt and spices.
That still sounds a bit lame really, but the sad thing is that kormas you get in your usual curry houses are not even nice stews of slowly cooked and tender meat. Instead, they are chunks of dry chicken (tikka it if you're felling crazy) dropped into some custard, then poured onto some chips (sorry couldn't resist one final dig).
From what we have seen in books, there is a lot more to a korma style curry which has the potential to turn into something more appealing. So all we have to do is find a decent one and probably turn up the heat a little. We don't have a BIR recipe for the korma yet, and we don't really intend making one, but we do have some cook books with some authentic recipes we intend to try. One book has 4 or 5 korma recipes alone, proving straight away that this isn't a particular type of dish, more a cooking style as we've discussed above.
So there you have it, the curry sauce's source on the korma. It's good to know the truth (based on what we've read) behind what we see in the curry houses and where they originate from but this is still one dish we will never be ordering.
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