Indian Vegetable Korma
AlamyIn this installment of Global Cook, Caroline Bates shares an Indian Vegetable Korma recipe that's easy to make at home.
Once upon a time, all you needed to "curry" a dish was a dash of the yellow powder sold in every supermarket. My mother was of a generation that adored curry powder and the zing it added to creamed mushrooms and chicken. Inspired by an idea in "Betty Crocker's Picture Cookbook," she once dazzled her friends with an "Indian" buffet starring chicken and shrimp curries and condiments such as sauteed bananas, peanuts and chutney. We'd never call that Indian now, but curry powder is still the go-to spice in many American kitchens. In 1989, in "The Way To Cook," even Julia Child specified "fragrant curry powder" for an onion soup and a mushroom sauce for shrimp.
It took me years to get up the courage to make an Indian dish myself, and curry powder wasn't one of the ingredients. I knew then that in Indian cookery, the word "curry" referred to a slow braising in spices, not to a spice mixture itself. The name for that was garam masala, and finicky cooks created their own blends of spices and ground them to order. Living near a city with Indian markets was the push I needed. (Now, almost everything you need for Indian cooking is available online.)
An easy lentil soup and a fiery shrimp curry were promising starters. But I realized I was on to something when my vegetable-hating husband ate several vegetarian curries and said, "I hope you make these again." I don't know of another cuisine in the world where a bland and stodgy vegetable (think green beans, or insert your choice here) is transformed into a vibrantly flavorful dish even a carnivore can love. In India, vegetable cookery is both alchemy and art.
Get the Indian Vegetable Korma recipe.
Indian Vegetable Korma TipsCloaking vegetables with korma, a creamy and gently aromatic sauce, is typical of the Punjabi region in northwestern India. Some kormas include chiles, but I think their bite overpowers the subtlety of the spices.
This recipe calls for pre-ground spices, but purists may prefer to warm whole spices briefly, to release their flavors, and grind them fresh.
Note that Indian varieties of cumin, coriander seed, and cardamom differ significantly in flavor from supermarket brands.
The long list of ingredients may look daunting, but the dish comes together quickly if you pre-measure the spices and line them up with the prepared vegetables before you begin cooking.
To save time, use frozen green beans and packaged sliced mushrooms.
Shopping resources: Spices (whole or ground), pappadums (in a variety of flavors), and any Indian food you're looking for is available online at iShopIndian.com. They also stock cookbooks and traditional Indian utensils. If you do a fair amount of Indian cooking, check out the handy masala dabba, a nest of seven small spice bowls that fits into an airtight stainless steel container. Kalustyans.com is also a good source for Indian ingredients.
- Browse all Indian recipes.
- Try The Skinny Chef's Indian Fried Rice with Cardamom.
- Watch Allison Fishman make a Mango Lassi in a blender.
- Learn about Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights, on Holidash.
- Read more about Diwali foods and get links to recipes on Slashfood.
- See AOL Travel's India Travel Guide.