The korma-style curry is my ultimate favorite. It’s sweet, mildly spicy, creamy…and just tastes so exotic. One taste, and I was hooked!
I’ve tried many different recipes–all of which weren’t quite right–and have 34 versions saved in my bookmarks… in a folder titled “I will Conquer Korma.” True story.
This curry has driven me insane trying to replicate the texture and flavor I order at my local Indian restaurant.
One time, when I was first learning to cook Indian food, a recipe called for 1 cup of both cashews and pistachios. I shelled all the pistachios, blended everything together with a can of coconut milk and some spices…and had to throw the whole thing away. It was disgusting…not even Piyush would eat it. That was it. I was positive Korma was something I could only get at the restaurant…
I’ve come a long way since then, and have learned how to cook by taste rather than by recipe. I decided it was about time to have another go at making the perfect korma at home. I grabbed a note-pad and the take-out menu from my local restaurant (you can figure a lot out just by the descriptions of the dishes) and got started…
Less than 45 minutes after I started chopping vegetables…I had the perfect Korma. Finally!
If you are new to Indian cuisine or would like to introduce your family and children to the exotic flavors of a good curry…this might be the perfect recipe to begin with.
Korma–a very old style of curry which can be traced back to the Mughal invasions of India and Pakistan in the early 16th century–is meant to be mild (in most cases…there are exceptions) and is flavored with a combination of nuts and coconut milk. In some instances they may also have yogurt (the older recipes especially) and be cooked dum-style for a long time over a low heat.
While that’s good and everything…I want the kind the restaurant makes! …and I don’t want to spend all day cooking. So, I thawed some curry base, and got to work!
My version of Korma is very similar to Navratan Korma, served at most Indian restaurants. Typically, navratan korma is made with a combination of 9 different vegetables-and usually contains paneer and nuts. It’s a beautiful yellow color- which comes from the usage of ground turmeric.
Vegetarian Navratan Korma Curry
(makes six 1c. servings @ approximately 290 calories per cup)
This delicious Korma is an excellent introduction to Indian cuisine. It can also be made vegan: simply replace the ghee with oil and do not add half & half to finish the curry.
A true Navratan Korma should include 9 different veggies (Navratan means “nine gems” in Hindi) but feel free to add whatever vegetables you would like! Aim for about 4 or 5 cups of mixed vegetables.
- 1/2 tbsp. ghee (substitute with oil if making vegan)
- 1/2 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 tsp. turmeric- divided
- chili powder, to taste (Korma is supposed to be a mild dish)
- 2 tsp. garam masala
- 1 tbsp. cumin powder
- 1 medium potato- diced into 1/2 inch chunks
- 1/2 c. carrots- sliced
- 1/2 c. broccoli
- 1 c. cauliflower
- 1 c. green beans
- 1 c. mushrooms
- 1/2 c. paneer- diced (substitute tofu or chickpeas if making vegan)
- 1 tbsp fenugreek leaves (fresh or dried)
- 1/2 c. cashew nuts- plus more for garnish
- 1 c. coconut milk
- 3 c. curry base (Recipe Here)
- 2 heaping tbsp. Coconut (preferably unsweetened)
- 1 c. water–added 1/2 c. at a time
- salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- 2 tbsp. half & half- to finish (leave this out if making vegan)
- small handful golden raisins- to garnish
- coriander (cilantro) leaves- chopped- to garnish
- Prepare all vegetables, thaw your curry base, get the blender ready and get ready to make some korma!
- In a large pan, heat 1/2 tbsp of oil and 1/2 tbsp ghee (if using) over med-high heat. Once the oil gets hot, add 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder, a little chili powder, 2 tsp. garam masala, and 1 tbsp cumin powder. Stir everything together until it begins to make a paste and the spices are cooked. Add the fenugreek leaves.
- Add the potatoes. Stir-fry until the potatoes begin to get a little brown—they don’t need to cook all the way through, yet.
- Add all other vegetables and paneer (I usually add them straight from the freezer!) and stir-fry for about 3 minutes. Add about 1 tsp. salt. Turn off the heat.
- Meanwhile—grab your blender. Toss in 1/2 cup cashew nuts, 2 tbsp coconut and 1/2 c. water. Blend until everything looks nice and smooth.
- To the blender, add 1 c. coconut milk, 3c. curry base and 1 tsp. turmeric powder. Blend until your gravy looks chunk-free and delicious! Taste it…if you feel it needs more coconut flavor, add a little more coconut and blend again.
- Pour the gravy into the pan with the vegetables. Add 1/2 c. water into the empty blender and swish it around to loosen up whatever gravy was left behind. Dump this in the pan too. Turn the heat to about medium and let the curry simmer until the vegetables are cooked. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Once the vegetables are cooked–tender, but not mushy–toss in 2 tbsp. chopped cashew nuts and a small handful of golden raisins. Finish with 2 tbsp. half and half (if using)-stir to combine. Garnish with chopped coriander.
- Serve with rice or rotis…and enjoy!
- Make sure you pay special attention to the curry once the gravy is added back to the vegetables. It may start to thicken up–which can cause it to burn. Stir often and add a little water, as needed.
This is an extremely easy curry to make (I can finally say that!), and I hope you’ll be inspired to try it!