Rampuri Taar Korma is one of the best mutton korma recipes that I have come across. The waft of flavours of mutton and spices is something to die for. This traditional recipe of Rampuri Taar Korma sticks to the unique ingredients and technique. While many chefs use tomatoes for the recipe of Taar Korma, I don’t use it, as the flavour doesn’t come out that well when tomatoes are used. It then tastes like any regular tomato-puree-rich Indian mutton curry that we often come across.
Heard of Rampuri Cuisine?
The town in western Uttar Pradesh called Rampur is well-known for its superb Mughlai cuisine. Rampuri cuisine isn’t as famous as Awadhi cuisine, but it has delectable flavours. Rampuri food is believed to be influenced by the cuisines of Awadh, Hyderabad and Kashmir. Tehri, Mutton Halwa and Mirchi ka Halwa are a few dishes that are associated with Rampur. However, unlike Awadhi cuisine, Rampuri cuisine doesn’t use strong fragrances like Kewra or Ittar. Rampuri cuisine has Mughlai flavours, but is subtle, too! One such Rampuri dish is this beautiful Taar Korma, which is one of our favourite Indian mutton curries that we ever cooked.
Rampuri Taar Korma needs to be finished on Dum, with a few spices added towards the end of cooking, too, so that the flavours are maximised. In ‘Dum’ cooking, the pot is sealed with a dough and traditionally, hot coals are put over it. These days, we do “dum” on a gas stove in a sealed vessel. Yellow chilli powder is traditionally used in an authentic Rampuri Taar Korma, but if you don’t have access to this, then use the same amount of Kashmiri red chilli powder. Mutton stock is extremely important to give flavour and creamy texture to this Rampuri Taar Korma dish. Although the recipe of an authentic Rampuri Taar Korma is still a family secret, but this recipe will promise you a flavour very close to the real Mutton Taar Korma. We have been cooking this dish since a few times now, and every time it feels so special to eat this beautiful Rampuri dish! Although this korma has nut paste in the gravy, the flavour is very well-balanced due to the spices used in the right amounts. Try it yourself and you will know what I mean!
Why is the name “Taar” Korma?
Using ghee is also important for the recipe of Taar Korma, as the taar or threads in the gravy come from the fat from the mutton as well as from the ghee. Just make sure that the mutton should be with bones and with moderate fat (not lean). The goat should be young.
The potent, creamy, gelatinous mutton stock of the previous day that has been simmering away to get this texture, is the key to a good Taar Korma dish. This mutton stock can be easily made by separately boiling the “paya,” other bones and some mutton fat in salted water for about four hours. Alternately, pressure-cooking can also be done to speed up the process. But it is always recommended that you simmer the soup/stock after opening the lid for about 30 min to 1 h to get the thick stock. This stock can be made days in advance and kept in the fridge. When the Taar Korma is ready, it should be thick enough so that when you touch the gravy with the back of the spoon, the gravy gets stuck to it and rises like a string or “taar.” It is believed that in olden days, a part of this taar, once formed, was removed and added to the next day’s Taar Korma and the transfer of the taar from the previous day’s Korma to the next, was continued every day in the royal kitchens, while months and years would roll by!
Note: Don’t worry even if you don’t get the string consistency in the gravy. It will still taste like a good Taar Korma.
The Use of Nuts in Rampuri Taar Korma
Instead of fried foxnuts, we can use cashewnuts or a mixture of several nuts. But for this Rampuri Korma recipe, foxnuts and melon seeds are traditionally used rather than cashewnuts and almonds. This is done to make the gravy richer and creamier.
Rampuri Taar Korma | Mutton Korma Recipe
Ingredients for the Taar Korma Masala:
- 10 Green cardamoms
- 2 Black cardamoms
- 1 Inch Cinnamon
- ¼ tsp Mace
- 2 Star anise
- 5 Cloves
- 1 tsp Shahi Jeera
- 1 tbsp Desiccated coconut
- 10 Black peppercorns
- 2 Kashmiri red chillies
Ingredients for the Taar Korma gravy:
- 1 measuring cup Ghee (use best-quality ghee)
- 1.5 kg Mutton
- 2 tbsp Ginger-garlic paste
- 1 tbsp Yellow chilli powder (or Kashmiri red chilli powder)
- 2 Bay leaves
- ½ tsp Turmeric powder
- 1 tbsp Garam masala powder
- 6 tbsp Curd
- 5 tbsp Brown onion paste (golden-brown-fried onion paste)
- 4 tbsp Lightly fried foxnuts (Makhana)
- 2 tsp Char Magaz (melon seeds)
- 1 cup Milk
- Salt to taste
- 750 ml Slightly thick mutton stock (For this, I use a day-old thick homemade Paya soup made with some fat.)
- 2 tbsp Two pinches of saffron mixed in 4 tbsp lukewarm milk
- 2 tbsp Beresta (Golden-fried crisp onions) for garnishing
- 3 tbsp Dried rose petals (optional) for garnishing
- Marinate the mutton for 3 hours with 1 tbsp salt and the whole of the ginger-garlic paste.
- Make a paste of the makhana (lightly fried foxnuts) and melon seeds in ½ cup milk. Keep aside.
- Dry-roast all the ingredients of the Taar Korma masala till they release aroma. Grind this into a fine powder.
- In a deep Handi or a pan, heat ghee. When smoke comes out of it, then add bay leaves. Add the Rampuri yellow chilli powder (or Kashmiri red chilli powder) mixed with 2 tbsp water and sauté for a few seconds.
- Add the marinated mutton pieces, turmeric powder, 1.5 tsp salt and cook on a high flame for 15 min.
- Now, lower the flame to medium and introduce the freshly ground Taar Korma masala (keep 1 tsp masala aside), fried onion paste, the nut paste and whisked curd. Continue cooking for the next 15 min, sautéing from time to time.
- Add warm mutton stock (or warm water) and ½ cup milk, cover the vessel with a lid and cook on a slow flame for 40 min, till the mutton is quite well-cooked and tender. Add some warm water with the mutton stock, if needed. Finally, the meat should be fall-off-the-bone tender.
- For the final “dum,” open the lid and add the saffron-milk, garam masala and 1 tsp of the Taar Korma masala. Cook covered for just 5 min for the final dum.
- Transfer into a serving dish and garnish with the golden and crisp fried onions (beresta) and dried rose-petal powder.
- Serve hot with Naan, Sheermal or Roomali Roti.
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