Nov 4, 2012

Thickeners in kurma

As a child, I always preferred onion/cucumber raita with Biryani. But, of late, I have taken a liking to having kurma instead. The first few times I tried cooking Vegetable Kurma, I couldn't get the consistency right. It was always very watery. Adopting one of the following thickeners saved my day and my Kurma!
According to my mom, there are threee different ways to thicken up kurma:
Kurma / Stew Thickeners:
  1. Coconut milk:
The first expressed milk from half a coconut could be used as a thickener. When the stew starts to boil, add a little of the second expressed cocunut milk, and remove from heat.

2.  Ground nuts:
Soak half a cup of almonds / cashews/ peanuts in warm water for 30 minutes. Grind this in the smallest jar of your mixer until the paste is smoother than chutney. Add this paste to your stew and let boil for 5 minutes.

3. Vegetable mash:
Adding mashed vegetables to the stew adds an interesting dimension to the end product. I usually fish out a ladle of vegetables from the stew and pulse it in the mixer. Or, if you plan ahead, you could save a  few pieces of vegetables at the beginning and grind it raw in the mixer. Add this raw pulp to the pan in the beginning and let it saute and simmer for a while. this takes out the raw smell.

4. Poppy seeds:
This is the least preferred way in my mom's kitchen, as poppy seeds in your diet could make you lethargic and drowsy. If you prefer to use it, soak 2 tablespoons of poppy seeds in warm water for 30 minutes and grind it to a smooth paste. Adding a little salt helps get the desired smoothness.

5. Unconventional tip for a quick thickener:
If you have leftover cocunut or peanut chutney from the previous night, add this to your kurma. Ta da, an instant thickener without compromising taste. This is my mom's secret tip that has helped me in a stitch.

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