Vegetable kurma is a rich and flavorful mixed vegetable gravy with a medium spice level – a favorite item at many Indian functions.
This is the first recipe I am posting. Vegetable kurma is one of my favorite Indian veg gravy dishes. You will find this item or a variation of this dish at almost every function in our community. It has a thick gravy with a medium spice level. However, you can adjust the level of spice and consistency of gravy according to your taste.
As you travel in India from one region to another, you will find subtle changes in level of spice and preparation of vegetable kurma. For example, my friends from Kerala make kurma masala with more coconut than the people from Maharashtra.
Recipe for Vegetable Kurma
Veg Kurma is a mixed vegetable entree. You make it with a blend of cauliflower, potatoes, green peas, french beans and carrots. There are two stages of preparation for this dish – preparing the kurma masala followed by preparing the gravy.
Ingredients for Kurma Masala
- 18 Cashews blanched
- 1 1/2 tbsp roasted chana dal (dalia)
- 5 tbsp desiccated coconut or coconut powder
- 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds (dhaniya)
- 1 1/2 tsp fennel seeds (saunf)
- 2 tsp poppy seeds (khas khas / khus khus)
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
- 3 cloves (lavang)
- 2 green cardamoms (elaichi)
- 5 black peppercorns (miri / kaali mirch)
- 2 green chillies chopped
- 0.5g or small piece of stone flower (dagad phool)
- 10g garlic or 3 medium cloves of garlic or 1.5 tsp chopped garlic
- 3/4 inch or 1.5 tsp ginger chopped or 4-5g ginger paste
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup water for grinding or as required
Preparing the kurma masala
- Soak 15 cashews in warm water for 30 mins. Drain and keep aside
- Dry roast desiccated coconut or coconut powder, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, cumin seeds and poppy seeds separately for 1-2 minutes.
- Add all ingredients mentioned above in a wet grinder jar along with the blanched cashews
- Add 1/3 to 1/2 cup water (as required) and grind the ingredients to a fine smooth paste. Keep this paste aside for later
Veggies for Veg Kurma
- 165-170g medium sized cauliflower florets
- 130g or 1 medium potato – diced
- 30g fresh green peas
- 30g or 8 french beans – chopped
- 115g or 1 medium size carrot – chopped
Note – I highly recommend using fresh and organic vegetables in place of frozen and pre-cut vegetables for optimum taste and nutrition value.
- 3 tbsp oil
- 1/3 tsp asafetida / hing
- 100 to 110g or 1 medium size onion – finely chopped
- 100g or 1 medium size tomato – finely chopped
- 8-9 curry leaves
- 1/3 tsp turmeric powder
- 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
- 2 tbsp fresh curd or yogurt (1/2 tsp lime juice for vegans)
- 1 3/4 cup water (for slightly thinner gravy, use 2 cups water)
- 1/4 cup cilantro (coriander) leaves – finely chopped
- 1 tsp salt or as per taste
Making the Veg Kurma
- Heat 3 tbsp oil in a saucepan or a pressure cooker. Add asafetida once the oil heats up.
- After 5 seconds, add curry leaves.
Let the curry leaves crackle a little
- Then add chopped onions and sauté till the onion turns translucent or light brown in color.
- Next add the chopped tomatoes
Sauté for 2 mins or till the tomatoes soften
- Add the grounded paste that we prepared earlier
Stir often for 4 to 5 minutes on a low to medium flame or till the masala in the pan starts to release oil around the edges. This indicates that the masala is properly sautéd.
- Now add 1/3 tsp turmeric powder and 1/2 tsp red chilli powder.
Sauté for a minute.
- Add 2 tbsp fresh curd / yogurt
For vegans, this step is optional. Curd / Yogurt enhances the flavor and adds tanginess. Vegans may substitute this with 1/2 tbsp lime juice (or fresh squeeze 1/2 lime)
- Mix the ingredients well and sauté for a minute.
- Add the chopped vegetables and sauté for 2 minutes.
- Add 1 3/4 cup water. For slightly thinner gravy you can add 2 cups of water. Stir well.
- Season with 1 tsp salt (or as per your taste)
- Cover the pan with a lid and cook for 15-20 mins on low to medium flame.
Check the gravy consistency after 15-20 mins. If the gravy is thin, simmer for few more minutes. If the gravy is too thick, you may add some water and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the cooking range when done.
- Add 1/4 cup chopped cilantro (coriander) leaves and stir. Your mixed veg kurma is ready to be served
Serve the kurma with puris or chapatis.
1. You can increase or decrease the spice level as per your taste
2. You can also prepare this dish in a kadhai (wok) instead of a pan or a cooker. Just cover the kadhai (wok) with a lid when cooking as instructed at Step 12.
3 . I always advice people to rinse, wash and disinfect the vegetables before cooking. One way I clean the vegetables is using a combination of 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp salt mixed with warm water in a vessel. Soak the vegetables in this mixture for 15 to 20 minutes. Strain the vegetables after that and rinse with plain water. This step thoroughly disinfects all the vegetables (especially recommended when using leafy veggies like spinach, kale etc.)
4. When using a pressure cooker, at step 12 – cook for up to 1 whistle or for 10 mins.