Dhaniwal Korma Kashmiri ( Home made )

With rice as its staple Kashmiri cuisine has seen its evolution over time. The history of Kashmir’s traditional cuisine, Wazwan, dates back to the last years of the 14th century when the Mongol ruler Timur invaded India in 1348 during the reign of Nasiruddin Muhammad of the Tughlaq dynasty.
The cooking style of Kashmiri Pandits who liked the extensive use of turmeric, curd and mustard oil with a deliberate neglect to garlic, onions and tomatoes got influenced by the Turkish, Persian and Afghan cuisine with the arrival of warrior Timur.

Once the Muslims arrived in Kashmir, they got mesmerized by the beauty of this paradise on earth. Kashmir is naturally gifted with the most fragrant and flavoring spices like saffron, Kashmiri red chillies, cockscomb, zirish, etc. Muslims gave an entirely new face to Kashmiri cuisine by bringing those rich spices into use. Muslims introduced saffron, dry fruits, Kashmiri red chillies, butter and clarified butter, and garlic and tomatoes to Kashmiri cuisine. Like Turkish, Persian and Afghan cuisine lamb became a relished food in the new Kashmiri cuisine.

Seven dishes are a must for these occasions – Rista, Rogan Josh, Tabak Maaz, Daniwal Korma, Aab Gosht, Marchwangan Korma and Gushtaba. The meal ends with “Kehwah”, an exclusive and fragrant variety of green tea.

The word ‘dhaniwal’ refers to coriander in the local Kashmiri language. However, unlike other korma dishes that have a rich creamy, nut-paste & yogurt based gravy, Dhaniwal korma is an exception. It is a light and mellow yogurt based curry that has been infused with the aromatic flavours of cloves and cardamoms.

1 kilo lamb meat, cut in pieces (leg of lamb)
2½ litre water
½ cup desi ghee (clarified butter) – I used 3 tbsp
80 mls onion puree (2 large onions would yield the approx amount)
1 tsp garlic paste (I used 2 tsp)
4 cloves
8 green cardamoms
¼ tsp saffron strands
Salt to taste
1 cup cooked yogurt (recipe give below)
½ tsp turmeric
1½ tsp coriander powder
¼ tsp black pepper powder
3 tbsp chopped cilantro (hara dhaniya)
For the cooked yogurt:
Whisk 2 cups yogurt until very smooth.
Add ½ cup water and whisk again to blend it well.
Pour this mixture into a round thick bottom pan and put it on high heat.
Stir constantly till the mixture comes to a boil.
Then reduce the heat to low, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is reduced to half its original quantity.

For the Korma
Boil the 2½ litre water in a deep pan and add meat. Bring the water to a boil and blanch for 2-3 minutes. Remove scum from the surface of the boiling water. Drain the water and cool the meat. Keep aside.

Put the meat in a pan and add pure ghee, onion puree, garlic, cloves, green cardamoms, salt, saffron, cooked yogurt, turmeric and coriander powder.
Mix well and cook till the ghee separates from the mixture. Add just enough water so that when the lamb meat is tender very little water remains (It took me approx 2½ cups of water to cook the meat) and the gravy is medium thick in consistency.
Remove from heat and sprinkle and stir in the black pepper.
Garnish with chopped coriander and serve hot with rice


Note: The amount of water and cooking time will vary and depend on the quality of meat.
Note: I added two chopped green chillies coz I wanted a little more heat in the korma.
Note: As for the amount of cooked yogurt, I prefer 3/4 (scant) cup since one whole cup made the curry too tangy for my family’s palate.
Note: I also add half a quill of cinnamon and one large bay leaf for a more aromatic korma.

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