A Korma is a characteristic Indian dish which has it’s origins dating back to 16th century Northern India Moghul cuisine. Korma is defined as a dish where meat or vegetables are braised with water, stock, and yogurt or cream added. The technique covers many different styles of korma.
The flavour of a korma is based on a mixture of spices, including ground coriander and cumin, combined with yogurt kept below curdling temperature and incorporated slowly and carefully with the meat juices. Traditionally, this would have been carried out in a pot set over a very low fire, with charcoal on the lid to provide all-round heat. A korma can be mildly spiced or fiery and may use lamb, chicken beef or game; some kormas combine meat and vegetables such as spinach and turnip. The term Shahi (English: Royal), used for some kormas indicates its status as a prestige dish, rather than an everyday meal.
During my considerations about adapting a recipe for my current Paleo lifestyle, which is dairy free, gluten free, grain free and dairy free and adapting my favourite elder aunts’ recipe, I replaced the yogurt and fresh cream she would use with coconut cream and coconut milk and where she would use ground almonds to create the sauce, I chose to use raw cashew nuts purely for the variance from the taste and texture of almonds, that I have tasted in the past. This recipe is a tomato-less, nut-based sauce, which is rich in taste and texture. Cashew nuts replacing almonds, brought out a richer taste and texture to this korma and the inclusion of saffron, coriander and cumin powders combined with both coconut cream and coconut milk make the subtle flavours stand out, making this meal one of decadence, that I am indeed proud of. My non-Paleo eating family asked me to make more!
This was another meal that was cooked with love and patience – the proof is in the taste of this slow cooked, decadent, richly royal korma – a definite not-to-be-missed attempt by anyone wanting an Indian meal deluxe.
750g chicken pieces
2 tsp garlic and ginger paste
2 green chillies
1/4 to 1/2 cup raw cashew nuts
1/4 to 1/2 cup water
1 tbslp ghee
3 tsp olive oil
1 large onion – chopped and ground to a paste
2 green cardamom
2 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 to 1/2 cup coconut milk
1/4 to 1/2 cup coconut cream
a few strands of saffron steeped in 4 tblsp boiling water or 4 tblsp coconut milk
1/4 cup fresh coriander
Himalayan salt to taste
1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (optional – to sprinkle on before serving)
1tsp Garam masala which will add a subtle fiery heat, if you prefer.
Fresh grated coconut to garnish
- Trim off excess chicken fat and rinse and drain the chicken pieces
- Combine ginger, garlic, cashew nuts and blend with water in a blender or food processor, until smooth
- Heat ghee and olive oil in a pot and fry onions and the spices from the cardamom to cumin seeds for a few minutes.
- Stir in the garlic and cashew nut mixture and cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the chicken pieces and mix well to coat with the masala.
- Turn down the stove top heat, add salt to taste and cook for approximately 20 minutes.
- Whisk the coconut cream, add in small amounts while the chicken is cooking
- When the chicken is tender, and fairly dry, stir in the coconut milk, saffron and fresh coriander.
- Simmer for 5-10 minutes.
- Serve with cauliflower rice or vegetable noodles or a crisp salad.