Indian Cuisine is often described to be as vast as the European cuisine. Indian food has changed and enhanced over the period of centuries. It retains the food traditions of earliest Indians and has gracefully accepted the food habits and food items that were brought in the country by various means. Foreign invasions, trade relations and colonialism influenced our cuisine and played an important role in introducing various food products to the country. One such preparation that has evolved over the period of centuries ever since it was Indianised in the kitchen of Akbar is Korma.
Korma is an integral part of Mughlai cuisine, which was developed in Medieval India. Mughlai cuisine is very deeply influenced by central-Asian cuisine, the region where these Mughal rulers originally hailed from, which is why it is no surprise that Korma derives from Turkish word “kavurma” (cooked meat). Korma has another meaning too, in urdu ḳormā refers to cooking method known as braising. Braising is a combination cooking method of dry and moist heat. To start with meat pieces are seared at high heat until the surface turns brown. Then the meat is allowed to be cooked in the liquid on the slow flame until it is cooked completely.
In his book “India Food and Cooking”, Pat Chapman mentions how Indian cooks who could cook Korma could cook for Mughal courts, and if he could cook all the variations of Korma, he could cook for emperor’s table. This tells us how much significant was this preparation in Mughal cuisine. During rule of Akbar, he had employed almost 400 Rajput cooks in his kitchen (may be the fact that he had a Hindu Rajput wife had an important role in this). These cooks combined Persian and Hindustani methods of cooking to create various royal dishes. These experimentations would take place under supervision of Mir Bakawal (Chief cook, who was responsible for the kitchen and would be the final taster) at “Matbakh Khana” (Royal Kitchen). These Rajput cooks manipulated Turkish recipe of kavurma and this resulted into korma and Akbar was very pleased with the delicacy served to him. Rajput cooks decided to name this dish as korma after the Rajput warrior clan “kurma”.
Korma has been an important part of Indian subcontinent cuisine. It is relished in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri-Lanka. The ingredients added to korma and hence the taste differs in north India and South India. In North Indian preparation yogurt and cream are important part of korma, whereas coconut is added in South Indian version of korma and is spicier than its northern counterpart.
The Chicken Korma that I am sharing here is the north Indian version, which is mildly spicy and acquires a very creamy and velvety texture due to addition of yogurt and cream.The addition of cloves and green cardamom gives this korma an irresistible aroma. I made this korma for Sunday lunch and a some quantity was left that we decided to have in dinner. It became more flavorful and we realized why this was one of the favorite dishes of emperor Akbar. Share your feedback about this recipe with us in the comment section below.
- 750 grams chicken cut into medium pieces
- 500 grams onion finely chopped
- 8-10 cloves of garlic finely chopped
- 1.5 inches piece of ginger root finely chopped
- 12 green cardamom slightly crushed
- 24 cloves
- 4 bay leaf
- 2 tsp roasted coriander powder
- 1 tsp red chili powder
- 250 grams whisked curd
- 125 ml fresh cream
- Cooking Oil
- Heat 3 tbsp of oil in a large pan.Now add chopped ginger-garlic and roast them until we get rid of he raw fragrance.
- Now add chopped onions to the pan and fry them till they become tender.
- After 5 minutes, onions would become tender. Now add bay leaf, cloves, green cardamom and fry them.
- After 5 more minutes of frying, onions would become brown.
- Now add coriander powder, red chili powder and roast them for 1 minute.
- Now add 2 tbsp curd and keep stirring until we see no water content.
- Now add remaining curd and keep stirring until we see no water content in the pan.
- When excess water content evaporates from the masala paste, add chicken..
- We must sear the chicken (surface must turn brown) at medium-high flame for 5 minutes.
- When chicken pieces are seared, lower the flame. Now add ½ cup water and salt as per taste and mix them all well.
- Chicken must be cooked covered on low flame and cooked until done.
- Chicken would be cooked in 20 minutes.
- Add fresh cream and turn off the flame. Mix the cream well with the gravy. Cover the korma and let it rest for 30 minutes before serving.
- Mughlai Murg Korma can be relished with Naan or steamed rice.
Click here to watch recipe video