Korma Sauce

Korma Sauce

Serves 4

This famous traditional Indian sauce is used on vegetables, beef, chicken and pork. You can also make this sauce early in the day and heat it up before serving.

Preparation: We recommend you do all the chopping in advance, putting the results in small dishes. Cooking times are brief, so you shouldn’t be chopping while things cook. We’ve broken the ingredients up into “Bowls” to help out with that.

The coriander bowl (and the cashews) is optional for added flavor. If you omit it, you may want to use more chilies in the main sauce.

Warning, Chilies:  The ingredients call for 6 “chilies” or more, up to 6 each in the main sauce and in the coriander bowl. We used a total of 4 jalapenos, which gave a moderately tangy flavor. Different chilies give different flavors, so start with a minimum and add more as you prefer. Remove chili seeds and ribs before adding.

Bowl 1 (Curry)

½ tsp cumin seeds

2 or 3 whole peppercorns

16 fresh curry leaves (if dried, use 48 leaves)

2 sticks cinnamon

3 whole cloves

4 cardamom pods, slightly bruised (use the side of your Chef’s knife)


Bowl 2 (Onion)

1 medium onion, finely chopped


Bowl 3 (Ginger)

2 inches/5cm fresh ginger, grated

1 large clove of garlic, cut up


Bowl 4 (Coriander) Optional

40g/about 2 cups (packed) cilantro leaves (fresh coriander).

1 tbsp chopped fresh mint

4 cloves garlic, chopped

juice of 1 lime

1 tbsp sugar

2 to 6 green chilies, halved and seeds removed

½ tsp salt

1-2 tbsp water

1 tbsp ground cashew nuts


Bowl 5 (Tomatoes)

¼ tsp turmeric

2 plum tomatoes, chopped


2 tbsp olive oil

2/3 cup coconut milk

Bowls 1-3 and 5: Prepare ingredients as indicated, place in the suggested bowl and set aside.

Bowl 4 (Coriander): Place all ingredients in food processor and process until smooth, adding water as necessary to make it a little runny. Set aside until making the sauce.

Making the sauce

  1. Heat the oil in a sauce pan. Add Bowl 1 (cumin seeds, black peppercorns, curry leaves, cinnamon stick, cloves and cardamom pods) and cook for about 2 minutes over medium heat until seeds begin to pop.
  2. Stir in Bowl 2 (onion) and cook for about 10 minutes until golden and soft.
  3. Add Bowl 3 (ginger and garlic) and cook for about 2 minutes.
  4. Optionally, stir in Bowl 4 (ground cashew nuts, chilies, and coriander mixture) and cook for 2 minutes.
  5. Add Bowl 5 (turmeric and chopped tomatoes). Bring to a boil (there may not be much liquid, add some water or broth if necessary) and simmer for 10 minutes, or until the tomatoes are soft.
  6. Remove and discard the cinnamon sticks and transfer to a food processor. Process until smooth.
  7. Return to the pan and add the coconut milk. Simmer for 10 minutes.

The sauce is now done. You can serve it immediately, spooning over meat or vegetables, or reserve it until later, heating it up before serving.


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