Navratan Korma

Navratan Kuruma or Korma is an Indian dish It is Ganesh Chaturthi today, the birthday of India’s beloved elephant-headed god, Ganesha or Ganapati, and the Indian blogosphere has been abuzz with greetings and photographs of the festival.I haven’t celebrated Ganesh Chaturthi for years, because neither Desi nor I are big on religious rituals. But when this festival rolls around each year I cannot help but miss those wonderful days of my childhood in Bombay when my cousins and I would wake up early in the morning, filled with anticipation for the five fun-filled days that lay ahead of us.There was that raucous trip to the idol-maker with my father and uncles to pick up the clay Ganesha idol, beautifully formed and painted in garish but still pretty colors. On the walk back to my uncle’s home, where the idol would sit in a decorated niche for the next five days, we would shout ourselves hoarse screaming “Ganapati Bappa Moraya,” (Salutations to Ganesha) in an effort to out-cry every other group carrying their own little idol to their own home.

It was a time to meet relatives, those you met regularly and those you only saw once a year when they came to pay their respects to the deity. It was a time to get together with girlfriends and make the rounds of every home in the neighborhood that had their own Ganesha idol, simply so we could eat the prasad (a sweet offering for the deity) that was distributed to guests. It was a time of eating some of the most wonderful food made by the women in the family who would all get together in the tiny kitchen at my uncle’s home and turn out the most amazing dishes.

On the evening of the fifth day, the idol would be carried to the sea, where it would be immersed. It was a poignant time for us kids, although I can imagine now that the adults were perhaps more than just a little relieved after the busy five days.

All this reminiscing made me want to cook up some wonderful Indian sweet today, but unfortunately I just didn’t have the time. So instead I am going to share another dish that I made for last night’s dinner and which, to me, is special enough: Navratan Korma.

The word “korma” works like magic on Desi who for some reason will eat anything with this suffix. But he is more than a little partial to Navratan Korma which incorporates spices and vegetables with the sweetness of fruits and nuts, and is quite delicious. It is also typically rather rich because it uses a good amount of cream.

I replaced the cream with a ground paste of cashewnuts, which is a much healthier substitution and which goes perfectly with the fruits and spices. In fact, even in my pre-vegan days, I’d often use cashewnut paste or pistachio paste as a substitute for cream in meat and vegetable dishes.

I used vegetables I had on hand, including sweet potatoes, potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini, and carrots, but peas, beans and peppers would also be great here. I also added some soy yogurt, which I love, to the recipe, and I think it really enhances the taste.

So here it is, my Navratan Korma. Enjoy! And a Happy Ganesh Chaturthi to all.
Navratan Kurma

Navratan Korma
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Navratan Korma is a delicious mixed vegetable curry that's finished with some smooth cashew cream.
Author:
Recipe type: Side
Cuisine: Indian
Serves: 6-8
Ingredients
  • 3 cups mixed vegetables, chopped in a fine dice, and then cooked or microwaved until tender. (I used a mix of potatoes, sweet potatoes, zucchini and carrots and nuked them with about ½ cup of water for around 8 minutes in a microwave-safe bowl covered loosely with a ceramic dish.)
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 tbsp grated ginger
  • ½ cup soy yogurt
  • 2 pineapple rings, chopped (I used canned)
  • ½ cup cashew nuts, soaked in about 1 cup of water for about half an hour and then ground into a fairly smooth paste (I like a few bits of cashew in there but you could grind it very fine if you prefer).
  • ½ tsp
  • turmeric powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 3 tbsp coriander leaves, chopped
  • For the masala, powder in a spice grinder:
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds (saunf)
  • 1 tsp peppercorns
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 5 cloves
  • 1 tsp poppy seeds
  • 2 1-inch pieces of
  • cinnamon
  • 2-3 dry red chillies
  • Set aside.
Instructions
  1. In a saucepan, heat the canola oil. Add the onion and stir occasionally until brown spots appear.
  2. Add the ginger and garlic and stir another minute. Do not let them burn.
  3. Add the powdered spices and stir until coated with oil and lightly toasted, about a minute.
  4. Now add the tomatoes and turmeric and cook, stirring, until the tomatoes break down.
  5. Add the soy yogurt and let the paste cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add salt.
  6. Add the cooked vegetables and mix well.
  7. When the gravy comes to a boil, turn down the heat and simmer on a low flame for another five minutes for the flavors to incorporate.
  8. Add the pineapple rings and cashewnut paste and heat until just warmed through.
  9. Turn off the heat and garnish with coriander leaves.
  10. Enjoy!

***

I’ll leave you with a picture of Freddie after his appointment today with the cardiologist who sedates him every few months for an ultrasound of his sweet little heart which is functioning with a broken mitral valve. The old guy was completely out of it when Desi took this picture, in fact he still is as I write this, but he still looks awfully cute, doesn’t he?

(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

Comments

  1. says

    Oh my goodness- the korma looks wonderful! It is in my bookmarks for the next time I want to make something festive.
    Off topic: I really enjoyed the post with all of your fur-babies, each more adorable than the next!! I would so love to bring a kitty home but Dale would never speak to me again.
    Also, many thanks to you and your sis-in-law for the dosa recipe. The proportions are just perfect for our tastes and this is my new go-to dosa recipe. I use 1.5 cups brown rice and 0.5 cup white rice and follow the rest of the recipe to a T. Thanks!

  2. says

    everytime you post a pic of this fellow, my heart swells….he reminds me of my cross bred wire haired terrier Rishi whom i lost in 2002, he was grey….but otherwise looked just like this baby…i do not have any pics of rishi….so any that you post are so precious… thanks…

  3. says

    Your navratan kurma looks delicious,my cousin mentioned that she uses cashewnut paste too,I have yet to try it this way…your pics are tempting me to try this soon though…:) Freddie does look cute:)

  4. says

    poor li’l pooch. i hate this kurma in restaurants, love it when it’s served in people’s homes. gotta try your version i agree, cashew paste has a more nuanced flavour than cream.

  5. says

    Cham, Thanks!

    Destiny: Thanks. He’s been a little down for the last couple of days but he’s getting better slowly. Keep sending out those good thoughts! :)

    Notyet100, Pearlsofeast, Nirmala, Srikar’s Kitchen: Thanks, ladies!

    Nupur: So happy you tried out the dosa, and thanks for the brown rice proportions. I’ll be sure to try it out.
    Dale looks like such a big sweetheart: and you never know, he might just love having a little kitty sister around!

    Sireesha, Thanks!

    Arundati, Glad Freddie brought back some nice memories of your Rishi. He sure is a cutie-pie, isn’t he? I’ll be posting more pics soon, so stay tuned.

    Medha, Usha, Tom Divya, Bee: Thanks!

    Pixiepine: Thanks, and welcome!

    TS, Raaji: Thanks!

  6. Anonymous says

    My Lhasa apso, Tushti also has mitral valve disease and kidney problems. She is on Vetmedin, Lasix and Spiro. It is heartbreaking.

  7. says

    I’m thrilled to find your delicious vegan Indian recipes here! I work in an Indian restaurant and we specialize in dishes from Southern India– Dosas are great! (but soooo much cream!) Thank you for helping me continue my adoration for such amazing cuisine. Xoxo!

  8. Anonymous says

    He’s so adorable that I could stare at his pic for hours. He almost seems to break into a smile any moment.

  9. says

    Hi Vaishali, thanks for posting this recipe! I am at the moment making the dish and wondering should I grind the cashews with the soaking water or just the cashews?

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