What is Korai?

Understanding Spices

Have you ever had a Korai curry? It’s a classic Indian dish, served up in Indian restaurants around the world. Or how about a karahi? A kadai, or a kadhi? They’re all delicious and that’s because they are all the same dish. One dish, with many varying names. A little confusing, we know. But what is korai? Where does it come from and how is it made?

In many ways, this is a dish very similar to Balti. Both contain stir fried meat and vegetables and both get their name directly from the kitchen utensil in which they’re cooked. In a classic Korai, you’d expect to find either chicken or lamb sizzling away with onions, capsicum, garlic, tomatoes and lots of spice that give it a real kick.

All of this is cooked up in a karahi – the classic thick, deep and circular cooking pot found throughout the Indian subcontinent. It looks a little like a wok but has the steeper sides and two handles on the sides – very much like the Balti dish. Interestingly, despite its similarity, many Indian restaurants had this dish on their menu for a long time before the rise of balti cooking throughout the UK. It’s a true hallmark of Indian cuisine.

You’ll find that it’s most notable throughout North Indian and Pakistani cuisine. Of course, there are a few variations here. The Pakistani version does not include the use of capiscum or onions, whereas the North Indian version does so. Naturally, because it is a style of cooking rather than one set dish or traditional recipe, that variation is also seen throughout different restaurants. Some will give you the choice between medium or hot (depending on how many green chillies you use) and others will have swapped a few ingredients in and out.

There’s a lot of variation at play here partly because it’s such an easy dish to make, not taking any longer than 30 to 50 minutes. Essentially, all you need to do is heat up some oil in your karahi, then fry pieces of chicken, lamb or goat (your choice) with some salt, black pepper and chopped garlic. Next, you’ll add something like ginger, red chili powder, cumins, coriander, ground turmeric and garam masala, stir frying for 4-5 minutes. Lastly, add in some chopped tomatoes, onions and green chillies and serve up with some delicious naan bread, roti or rice. It’s really that simple!

If you are looking to make this then we’ve got a special garam masala spice mix just for you. We’ve combined organic cardamom, organic cinnamon, organic cumin, organic cloves, organic nutmeg and organic black pepper that creates this well rounded mix of hot, peppery flavours with a sweet edge. It’s perfect for a korai curry! Or a karahi…perhaps a kadai. Or a kadhi?

Interested in learning about the origins and history of other famous Indian dishes? You can check out our blog posts right here!

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