Korma – a much maligned and unfairly abused dish.

Thanks to the tastes of the public and British Indian restaurant industry, the noble korma of Mughlai cuisine has been much abused and turned into the blandest thing on the menu. Classically, a korma is defined as a dish where meat or vegetables are cooked with water or stock, and with yoghurt or cream added during the cooking. A korma doesn’t have to be the boring, slightly sweet mild thing that you can get on any high street. In fact, it shouldn’t. It should be spicy and it ought to contain some ginger and chillies, maybe even more than a few chillies. It does need to be creamy though.

Anyway, my dish, a chicken and mushroom one, is a composite of a number of recipes.


2 skinned, boned and diced chicken breasts
5 or 6 sliced chestnut mushrooms
1 chopped onion
onion and chilli paste (made with 3 green chillies and 1 onion with a splash of water and roughly liquidised)
garlic and ginger paste (made with a thumb-sized piece of ginger and 3 fat garlic cloves)
1 teaspoon each of ground turmeric, coriander, cumin and Kashmiri chilli powder
salt and pepper
200ml single cream
3 tablespoons of ground almonds
2 seeded chopped tomatoes
a handful of chopped fresh coriander leaves
2 tablespoons of rapeseed oil

Marinate the chicken pieces in the onion and chilli paste for a couple of hours.

Heat the oil in a pan with a lid and fry the chopped onion until soft. Add the ginger and garlic paste and carry on frying. Add the dry spices and fry for a minute or two longer. Add the tomatoes and chicken pieces with the marinade and keep on frying until the chicken loses its pinkness. Add the salt and pepper with 250ml of hot water, stir and cover. Simmer on a low heat for half an hour or until the chicken is cooked through. Now, add in the cream and ground almonds. Stir, cover and cook until the dish thickens up. This should take about 5 minutes. Stir in the chopped coriander and serve with basmati rice.

Some mango chutney on the side would be nice.


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