Friday, December 16, 2011

Green Kurma - Amma's Recipe

Kurma or Korma is a common Indian curry that is a favorite amongst many. For me, personally, the only kurma that I ever liked was amma's green/white kurma. It was loaded with all kinds of vegetables and even during the days when I hated any/all kinds of vegetables, this was one kurma that I loved to eat. What made it a favorite though was the fact that this was the default kurma that you got with the Kerala paratha (another favorite of mine) in most restaurants. That's how my love for this started and amma makes an amazing version of this that I love. My bouts of homesickness have become more frequent than before, the two year mark is inching close and I miss amma's cooking the most. When I came to the US, I was arrogant since I had survived in Bangalore for 4 years. What I forgot to factor-in was of course my once-a-month trips to Pondichery that kept the homesickness in check. So without 'that', this past year and a half has been dotted with many bouts of homesickness. Or rather just foodsickness I guess. Especially amma's.

So with a few left over green beans, a couple of sad carrots and two shriveled potatoes in the corner of my fridge...I had no choice but to make a kurma. The main reason why those leftovers ended up was the biryani that I had made a couple of weeks ago (post to come soon). A quick call to amma and I had rounded up all the ingredients I needed. I even had the kasa-kasa (white poppy seeds) with me, all thanks to amma who had sent a bunch of whole spices with VJ last December. I actually have all kinds of whole spices in my spice shelf now. All of them call out to me to experiment and cook with them more often. I hope the coming 3 weeks help me find recipes using some/all of them.

Tastes best with plain ghee rice cooked with whole spices. But rotis are an equally good substitute too, especially when you are trying to lose those extra pounds.

Carrots - 4
Green beans/string beans/french beans - 200 gm
Green peas - 1/2 cup
Bell pepper (only green) - 1
Potatoes - 2 to 3, medium sized
Ghee/oil - 1tbsp
Onion (chopped/ground into a paste) - 1, medium sized (optional)
Jeera (cumin seeds) - 1 tsp
Bay leaf - 1
Cinnamon - 1 inch piece
Black peppercorns (whole) - a few
Cloves - 4
Green cardomom (whole) - 1 or 2

For masala 1:
Kasa-kasa (white poppy seeds) - 1/2 tsp
Cashews (whole) - 5 nos
Milk - 1 tbsp

For masala 2:

Perunjeeragam (Fennel seeds) - 1 tsp
Coconut (shredded) - 4 tbsp
Green chillies - 6
Ginger - 2 inch piece
Garlic - 4 cloves
Pottu kadalai (fried bengal gram) - 2 tbsp
Mint and/or coriander leaves - 1 tbsp (optional)

1. Dry roast the kasa-kasa (poppy seeds) until you can smell its aroma. Warm the milk in a little katori and add the kasa-kasa (poppy seeds) to it along with the cashews. Let it soak for at least a couple of hours.
2. In the meantime, wash all the vegetable, peel and chop them into chunky pieces. You can also chop them smaller, totally upto you.
3. If you are using an onion, finely chop it. Or alternatively, you can also grind it into a fine paste. Making a paste is recommended as against chopping it.
4. Take the oil/ghee in a thick vessel and splutter jeera in it. Then add all the whole masalas and fry until you can smell their aroma. Now add the vegetables, sprinkle some water and add salt just for the vegetables. Cover and cook on low until all vegetables are done.
4. Take the coconut, pottu kadalai (fried bengal gram), perunjeeragam (fennel), ginger, green chillies and the mint/coriander (if applicable). Make a fine paste out of it using as much water as needed. This is masala 2.
5. Once the kasa-kasa (poppy seeds) and cashews are well soaked, grind them into a fine paste using milk as needed. This is masala 1.
6. Check the vegetables if they are completely cooked. Now add masala 2 and mix well. Add water as needed depending upon desired thickness of gravy. Cook for a couple of minutes. Now add masala 1, mix well and cover and cook on low for a couple of minutes or until first boil. DO NOT and I repeat DO NOT over boil the gravy at this stage. It will curdle and spoil it all. Check for salt and other seasonings.

Amma dearest...leave a comment if you have a concern with this recipe.

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