If you have never had korma curry before then it needs to be on your list, because this stuff is in my top 5 and I have eaten almost everything! Seriously though, korma is one of those curries that some don’t consider a curry because it doesn’t burn your face off when you eat it.
I disagree with that rhetoric, because I passionately believe that food should taste good and make you happy. Korma is not only a curry, its one of the best! With this korma paste you will have the power to make the ultimate korma curry!
What is Korma Curry?
For all the people that don’t know what korma curry is, this section is for you. Korma is a braised dish in which meat or vegetables are stewed in a spiced yogurt or cream. This dish originated in India and has many different versions that are specific to particular regions and cultures.
The most common version of korma is known as “the beginners curry” due to its mild heat intensity. This is typically a braised chicken or vegetable dish that is stewed in a “white” (it’s more of a yellowish orange) gravy. This dish is commonly made vegan but utilizing vegetables instead of meat and using plant based dairy products instead of animal products.
This is the most common of the korma curry renditions. Although it is most prevalent, it is not the only rendition. You can find kormas that are very spicy and stewed with all kinds of ingredients.
What is Korma Paste or Yellow Curry Paste?
Yellow curry paste is not exclusively Indian, there is a Thai curry paste as well. This yellow curry paste is not to be confused with its Thai counterpart. This yellow curry paste is Indian of origin, most commonly used in Korma curries.
Korma paste uses distinctive flavors rather than brute force heat. You will get intense flavors of ginger, coriander, garlic, and garam masala. While subtle notes of fennel, cumin and coconut come through at the end.
Korma yellow curry paste is used as the predominant flavor source in korma curry. This paste alone, will decide how the rest of your dish turns out. Whether your curry falls short or is exactly right, mostly depends on your ratio of korma paste to liquid base.
So, what is korma paste? Korma paste is a yellow curry paste that is used to flavor and thicken korma curry. These pastes usually contain nuts, spices, onions, garlic, and tomato puree. This paste is extremely popular in western countries because it is seen as the doorway to the world of curry.
How to Make Korma Paste
This yellow curry paste is remarkably simple to make and it only requires a few steps. First things first, you need to toast your spices. Do so in a sauté pan over medium heat with a touch of oil. Once they are toasted, cool the spices down and transfer to a food processor.
Next, you throw the remaining ingredients in the food processor and blend until smooth. This may take a minute of two, so you can really grind up all the spices. This is traditionally done with a mortar and pestle. No body has time for that! Once the paste is your desired consistency, your done! Its as simple as that!
How to Store Korma Paste
I have found that storing this Indian yellow curry paste in glass containers maximizes the shelf life. It also saves the integrity of your plastic containers by not staining them yellow. Use a glass jar to store your korma paste and make sure it is airtight.
Korma paste is prone to oxidation. The best way to seal in the flavor and freshness of your yellow curry paste is to place in it a glass jar and then smooth out the top so it is flat. Then you can use plastic wrap to create a seal over the top of the paste but be sure there are no air bubbles underneath the wrap.
Another option is to cover the top of the paste with olive oil. I have found that this is the best way to maximize freshness and shelf life. This method creates a better seal than plastic wrap anyways.
How to Use Korma Paste
This Indian yellow curry paste has two primary uses. Most simply use korma paste as a marinade or they use it as a flavoring agent for curries. Like I said, those are the most common reasons. I try to stand out from the rest of the herd, so I’m going to show you some nontraditional uses for yellow curry paste.
Vegan Compound Butter
Vegan butter is delicious as it is but think about this. Soften your vegan butter and then whip your leftover korma paste into it. Now you have a delicious butter that you can use to make virtually anything taste awesome!
The world is your vegan oyster with this one. You can mount the butter into sauces, toss your vegetables with it, whip it into corn bread, or basically anything you want to!
You know how some people put hot sauce in their buttermilk batters for fried chicken and such? Take your breading’s to the next level by using yellow curry paste instead. Add some different flavors to your fried provisions and really shock your friends and family.
Instead of simply using this paste to flavor curries, why not use it in other sauces as well? Mix this korma paste with some Vegan Mayonnaise and put in on a sandwich or use it as a dipping sauce!
You could also mix this paste into a pasta sauce! All it needs is a base and you could have a flavorful sauce in minutes. You could use your favorite nondairy milk or cream, canned tomatoes, or even olive oil for a pasta salad! You truly have a lot of options with sauces, and the best thing is most of them are quick and easy to make.
This isn’t to far out of the realm of possibility. If you think about it, making a korma curry is much like making a soup. Curries tend to be a bit thicker, but the general concept is still the same. Gather your favorite vegetables with a little vegetable stock then use your yellow curry paste to bring the soup alive with flavor!
A tablespoon of this paste into your starches and your set! Use this in your potatoes to add a little flair to your family dinner. Don’t rule out rice either, your can add a bit of yellow curry paste to your boring white rice to compliment your main components of a dish.
Don’t just stop at potatoes and rice. You can use it on cous cous, oats, rye, barley, beans and even bread.
Korma Paste Tricks and Tips
Toast Your Spices
Toasting your spices whole, before your grind them is a great way to unlock their hidden potential. You get an extra boost of flavor just for simply toasting the spices for a few minutes in a pan or in the oven. Toast them dry in a pan over low heat on the stove or in the oven.
Be careful when toasting your spices, whichever method you choose. Spices go from perfectly toasted to burnt in a matter of seconds, so its best to watch them while toasting.
Soak the Nuts
When you grind things into a paste, they need to give the least amount of resistance possible. This way your paste doesn’t end up grainy. The best way to avoid having a grainy korma paste is soaking the almonds or cashews (the most common nuts).
At least 8 minutes on the soak before grinding. If you forgot to soak them, you can always blanch them quickly in boiling water for 2-3 minutes.
Balancing the spices in the paste is so important for making a good paste. This takes time and requires a lot of tasting, and by the end of it you will probably be sick of yellow curry paste. The end result, however, is a beautiful delicate korma paste that is tailormade to your needs.
How you store your foods determines its freshness in the future. Even more so with korma paste. If you don’t store yellow curry paste properly then it could go bad in 24 hours. If stored correctly, it will last 5 to 7 days.
Store korma paste in a glass jar or vessel with an airtight seal. You want to place the paste in the jar and smooth it out on top and make sure it is touching the sides of the jar. You don’t want little air bubbles. Give the jar a few taps on the counter to get those air bubbles to come out.
Most of the time you won’t have enough paste to fill the jar completely. This is ok. To create a seal over the top of the paste, cover it with a thin layer of your preferred cooking oil.
1 sauté pan or baking tray
1 food processor
1 rubber spatula
1 glass jar
Yield: ½ Cup
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 Minutes
1 Cup White Onion, small diced
6 Clove Garlic
1 Inch Ginger, peeled
5 Small Kashmiri Chiles, dried
2 Tbsp Green Cardamom, Toasted
2 Tbsp Coriander seed, toasted
1 tsp Fennel seed, toasted
2 tsp Cumin seed, toasted
2 tsp Garam Masala
2 tsp Turmeric, ground
2 Tbsp Cashews, soaked (5-8 minutes)
1 Tbsp Tomato Puree
2 Tbsp Desiccated Coconut
1. If you haven’t toasted your spices (Coriander seed, fennel seed, garam masala and cumin seed) Now is the time to do so. You can toast on the stove in a pan over low heat until fragrant. Once toasted, take off the heat and cool down completely.
2. After the spices are cooled, combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth. This will take a few minutes.
3. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3-5 days.
Korma Paste FAQs
How come everybody’s korma paste looks different?
Korma paste defies the traditional recipe. This means that korma curries are different everywhere you go. You may find a korma that is dairy based, and you may find a korma that is tomatoes based. Korma is what you make it. I like this about korma because your can make your own rendition of it.
What are some good korma paste brands?
I haven’t bought much curry paste; I usually make it because its so simple. From what I have gathered though, Pataks Korma paste seems to be the most popular.
Where can I find Kashmiri chilis?
The Walmart by my house sells them, but they tend to change from store to store. You can also get them of amazon, they are dried so that is fine. You could also look for local international grocery stores, they carry them.
What is desiccated coconut? Do I have to use it?
Desiccated coconut is the flesh from a coconut that has been shredded and dried. They try to get the most moisture out as possible. If you can’t find this product you can use shredded coconut and toast it in the oven to remove the moisture.
Can you Freeze Korma Paste?
Yes, you can! I have found the best way to freeze Korma Paste is by portioning it in ice cube trays and then freezing it. Once frozen you can transfer to a freezer bag.
Check out my Vegan Korma Recipe!! Use your paste the right way!!