Korma in Japan

Vidya Nagaraj from Tsuruoka, Yamagata, Japan writes:

” Dear Kurma,
Wow.. that is some website! I already got a few lovely recipes there.

My question…
A few years ago, I attended a wedding where the bride and groom were Hare Krishna devotees, and was treated to a wonderful dinner sans onion-garlic etc.

The highlight of that dinner was the awesome vegetable korma served with pooris. Do you have any suggestions on how I can make korma without onion and garlic in the gravy?

I make the usual version with onion and garlic, but right now (pregnant and clumsy), the very smell of garlic is rather revolting, and the onions kill my appetite totally. So contrast that with very healthy cravings, but also stuck in a place where we are the only vegetarians for miles around!

We’re Indians, by the way and vegetarian to boot, living in the backwoods of Japan, where our dietary preferences are considered a joke 🙁 Please do help me…”


I did, and sent this recipe:

Cauliflower Korma

I’ve not named this recipe after myself! Rather, the name korma, sometimes spelled quorma, indicates a fragrant braised dish often containing yogurt and sweet spices, and thickened with either ground white poppy seeds or a paste of ground almonds. This Mogul-influenced style of cooking invariably centres around non-vegetarian ingredients. My version features cauliflower, the “queen” of vegetables. Serve Cauliflower Korma hot with flatbreads or rice.

PREPARATION AND COOKING TIME: 50-60 minutes YIELD: enough for 4-6 persons

1 cup blanched almonds
1 tablespoon anise seeds
one 10cm cinnamon stick
6 cloves
4 cardamom pods
5 small green chilies, seeded
one 1.5cm cube peeled fresh ginger
1 cup yogurt
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons sugar
4 tablespoons ghee or oil
1 large firm cauliflower, about 1kg, cut into 16 large pieces

Dry-roast the almonds on a tray in a moderate oven for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and allow them to cool. Grind the almonds to a fine powder in a spice mill or coffee grinder. Set the powder aside.

Set a heavy frying pan over low to moderate heat. When the pan is hot, sprinkle in the aniseed, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom, and dry roast the spices for 3-5 minutes or until they darken a few shades and give off a strong aroma. Grind the spices to a fine powder in a spice mill or coffee grinder. Set aside.

Place the green chilies and ginger in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process until finely chopped. Add the yogurt, the salt, sugar, the powdered almonds and 1 cup cold water. Process to a smooth, saucy paste. Add the ground, roasted spices. Process a little more and then remove the paste and set it aside.

Heat the ghee in a heavy 5-litre/quart, preferably non-stick, saucepan over moderate heat. Drop in the cauliflower pieces and stir-fry them for 5 minutes or until they soak up the ghee and become golden on their extremities.

Pour in the paste and stir to mix. Increase the heat, bring the sauce to the boil, then reduce the heat to very low. You may need to add more water as the sauce thickens. Cook for 25-30 minutes, partly covered, stirring often or until the sauce thickens to the desired consistency and the cauliflower is tender but not falling apart. Serve hot.
Posted by Kurma on 8/10/06; 8:14:48 AM

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