Cooking a korma

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I’ve always enjoyed Indian food at local restaurants, as many people do. But I’m also interested in cooking it at home.

It’s a way to try some different techniques as well as modify my diet, somewhat, away from always relying on meat. I also sometimes try to eat a lower carb diet, so I pick my spots there.

An interesting dish I found in a massive Indian cookbook is one called “Gucchi korma” — as you can see by the spelling, it’s not the Italian designer.

A korma usually involves a yogurt marinade and then building flavours with lots of onions and tomatoes and a host of spices we usually associate with Indian dishes: cumin, turmeric, coriander and the like.

The gucchi part refers to mushrooms (actually, a morel-like mushroom found in the Himalayas); interestingly, Indian cookery does not include a lot of mushrooms, according to Monisha Bharadwaj. She says — and the recipe here is based on her recipe — mushrooms came into Indian cookery (a very, very old cuisine) only about 60 years ago.

Give it a try.

Gucchi Korma (mushroom and pea korma)
[adapted from Bharadway, The Indian Cooking Course (Kyle Books, 2016).]

2 medium sized onions, sliced
1 green chile, chopped (I used 2 Thai chilies)
1/4 cup unsalted cashews (or more!)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons ginger
1 clove, garlic minced
2 1/4 cups mix of white button and cremini mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup frozen peas
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon garam masala (I found a PC tin at Zehrs)
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 tablespoons heavy cream (optional)
Rotis, poories, naan or rice for serving

Sprinkle the spices in a large medium-hot pan and toast them gently for several minutes, then remove and reserve.

Combine onions, chilies, cashews in the pan and just cover with water (I used a combination of water and mushroom stock). Bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 minutes, until onion is very soft. Blend to paste in a blender or with an immersion blender. Don’t add all the liquid at once (reserving some), in case it gets too thin.

Next, heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the ginger and garlic and cook for about a minute, stirring so the garlic doesn’t burn. Add the mushrooms and peas and season with salt. Stir in the spices and cook them until they are incorporated and not grainy. The mushrooms will release their juices and create a sauce. Add the onion-cashew paste and adjust for consistency with reserved liquid.

Cook the combined ingredients to bring them together and ensure the peas are cooked (I left them still a bit crisp). Stir in the cream if you are using it, adjust with the salt and sprinkle on a pinch of garam masala.


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