Creamy and fragrant, a Vegetable Korma is the stuff memorable meals are made of. This mixed vegetable curry is deceptively decadent and secretly healthy, packed as it is with veggies like carrots, peas, potatoes, tomatoes and bell peppers, all in a silky sauce of coconut, ginger, garlic, cumin and turmeric. A vegan, soy-free, gluten-free and nut-free recipe.
We all have a favorite food that can transform any old ordinary day into one that’s quite special. For me, it’s this vegetable korma, a creamy, silky mixed veg curry that’s as delicious and it’s nutritious.
If you like Indian food, you’ve no doubt heard of a korma or a kurma. The words are sometimes used interchangeably, but a korma is a north Indian curry often made with meats like chicken or with vegetables, whereas a kurma is a south Indian curry usually made with veggies. There are some commonalities — both are spicy, and both are creamy. But whereas in the north the base of the sauce would be creamy with yogurt or cream, in the south, it’s creamy with coconut.
There is also a more complex and festive version of this recipe, Navratan Korma, made in the north with veggies and nuts and dry fruits.
If you aren’t confused already, I am going to confuse a little more because my korma uses coconut (I wanted to keep it nut-free), so it’s probably more of a kurma, but it also uses some spices that are common to both versions.
I first posted this korma recipe for you in 2013, and since then I’ve made a few small tweaks to make it simpler and quicker. I’ve also updated the post with new pictures and clarified the steps below.
So let’s dive in and learn how to make an exquisite vegetable korma at home. It’s a curry you’ll be making again and again.
Ingredients for Vegetable Korma
- Vegetables. Lots of ’em. I used about eight cups of chopped veggies, including carrots, potatoes, bell peppers, green peas and green beans. You can change this up. Sweet potatoes are great here, so are zucchinis and mushrooms and cauliflower.
- Onions: To create an aromatic base for the korma sauce and also to thicken it.
- Ginger: For more aromatic flavor.
- Garlic: Again, for the aroma, flavor and because it’s garlic and no curry would taste the same without it. 😉
- Tomatoes, pureed. You can use canned. Tomatoes, along with the onions, thicken the sauce, and they contribute sweet, tangy notes to the dish, as well as color.
- Cayenne pepper or any red chili powder. Always use pepper to your taste, more or less as you prefer. I usually include a very moderate amount because that’s how we eat, but if you’re used to spicier food you can always add more heat.
- Turmeric: For color and healthfulness.
- Coriander Powder: Coriander adds lemony freshness.
- Cumin Powder: For earthy, warm tones to the dish.
- Garam masala: (this is actually optional. I sometimes make the curry without it and it tastes wonderful. The garam masala adds more spice and depth and a slightly different flavor, so try it both ways)
- Coconut milk: Coconut milk ties all of the ingredients together and creates that amazing, silky mouth feel.
- Poppy seeds: For more creaminess in the curry, and nutty flavor.
- Curry leaves: Curry leaves are intensely aromatic and quite indispensable in south Indian cooking. They are magical in any dish but especially in korma.
- Mustard seeds: Mustard seeds disperse through the oil, infusing it with their flavor and, in turn, flavoring the curry.
- Coconut oil: Coconut oil is perfect in korma, with the south Indian flavors and the coconut milk, so use it if possible. Another vegetable oil would work too.
- 2 medium carrots (cut into ¼-inch rounds or semi-circles, or dice)
- 1 cup green beans (cut into ½-inch pieces)
- 2 yellow or red potatoes, (cut into ½-inch dice)
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
- 2 teaspoon coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 large onion (finely chopped)
- 1 tablespoon ginger (crushed into a paste or grated)
- 4 large cloves garlic (crushed into a paste or minced)
- 2 medium tomatoes (pureed. Or use 1 cup canned pureed tomato)
- 1 teaspoon cayenne (use less if you prefer)
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- 1 tablespoon coriander powder
- 2 teaspoon cumin powder
- 1 cup green peas (I use frozen but fresh is fine)
- 1 large bell pepper (cut into a ½-inch dice)
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- 2 teaspoon garam masala (optional)
- Salt to taste
- Place the beans, carrots and potatoes in a microwave-safe bowl, add ¼ cup water, and microwave on high for seven minutes or until the potatoes are cooked but not mushy.
- Place the coconut milk and poppy seeds in a blender and blend until you have a smooth paste. Add a little bit of water if needed.
- Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a large saucepan or pot. Add the mustard seeds and when they pop, add one chopped onion and saute until it starts to turn translucent. Add crushed or minced garlic (four cloves) and crushed or grated ginger (1 tablespoon) and continue to saute another 30 seconds.
- Add 1 cup of tomato puree with ½ teaspoon of cayenne or any red chile powder, 1 tablespoon of coriander powder, 2 teaspoon cumin powder, ½ teaspoon turmeric, and the garam masala powder, if using. Stir well, cover, and let the tomatoes and onions cook about 10 minutes.
- Add the chopped bell peppers, green peas, and the cooked veggies. If the curry is too thick, add some water to thin it out to your liking. A korma is not too watery. You should have some sauce, but not enough to cover the veggies.
- Mix well and let the curry come to a boil. Turn down the heat, cover, and let it cook another five minutes.
- Stir in the blended coconut-poppy-seed paste and the garam masala, if using, and season with salt. Heat through but turn off the stove before the coconut milk boils.
- In a small saucepan or skillet, prepare the tempering. Heat the remaining 1 teaspoon oil. Add 1 teaspoon cumin seeds and when they turn a couple of shades darker, add the curry leaves and stir-fry for a minute longer.
- Turn off the heat and pour the tempering over the korma. Serve.
- Stir in ½ cup vegan yogurt at the end of cooking for a slight tang and more complexity to your korma sauce.
- Garnish with coriander or fresh green mint leaves or even chopped scallions for even more freshness.
Calories: 124kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Potassium: 363mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 3780IU | Vitamin C: 42.7mg | Calcium: 56mg | Iron: 2.3mg