There was this particular little nook in the city of Chennai ( then Madras) where I grew up which boasted of some great restaurants. Not the fancy shmancy type mind you, but the small ones that bring out the flavors of the cuisine. One particular one had this dish as their signature one and it was always served with flaky layered flat breads aka paratha. Not just any paratha, but this was the malabar parotta, an erstwhile cousin of the lacchha kind , except it was made of APF or refined flour. Hot piping korma, served with flaky bread and a cup of steaming hot coffee. You would forget about the calories for once and indulge in this fare. This was so worth it on an occasion!
An awesome combination of mixed vegetables stewed in white gravy with perfect combination of spices. Do not be overwhelmed by the exhaustive list of spices. This is a quick prep one.
Prep time : 15 minutes Cook time : 20-25 minutes Serves : 4-6
- Carrot – 1/4 cup, diced
- Beans – 1/4 cup, 1 inch pieces
- Peas – 1/4 cup
- Cauliflower – 1/2 cup, small florets
- Potato – 1/ 4 cups, diced
- Bell pepper ( green/ colored) – 1/4 cup diced
- Salt – 1 tsp.
For the gravy/ Masala Paste:
- Fresh or frozen Grated Coconut – 1/4 cup
- Cashew/ Almonds – 6-8
- Khus Khus ( white poppy seeds) – 1 tsp
- Cinnamon – 1 inch piece
- Clove – 2
- Cardamom – 1 ( whole green)
- Fennel seeds – 1 tsp
- Green chilies – 4-6
- Ginger – 1/2 inch piece
- Garlic – 2 pods- (optional)
- Oil : 1 tsp.
- Oil : 1 Tbsp.
- Onion – 1 medium, chopped finely
- Bayleaf : 1
- Fresh Curry leaves : 4-6
- Cloves ( black) : 1
- Fine chopped cilantro : 2 Tbsp.
Preparation of the Gravy:
- In a wide saucepan ( with a lid, so it can be used later too) add in 1 tsp of oil.
- When it heats up add in the whole spices to begin with and roast for a minute or two, adding the ginger and chilies and garlic pods if using next, followed by the cashews to a get gentle brown hue, then the coconut and the poppy seeds.
- Remove set aside to cool.
- When cooled down blend it with a cup of water or so to get a nice smooth sauce or paste. The gravy yield should be nearly 1.5 cups to 2 cups.
Preparing the Korma
- In the same wide saucepan ( needs a lid) , add in 1 Tbsp of oil . When it heats up add in a clove, the bayleaf , fresh curry leaves. It should sizzle a bit. Add in the fine chopped onion and sauté till well cooked.
- Meanwhile microwave/ parboil or steam the veggies with a tsp of salt . Should take about 5-7 minutes in the microwave. The veggies are cooked till they are almost done. ( The final cooking would be done when it simmers in the gravy)
- Once cooked, add in these veggies to the sauce pan and stir for a minute or two along with the onions.
- Add in the prepared masala paste or gravy, cover the pan and let it boil or about 5 minutes or so. Lower the heat and simmer for another minute or two. Over cooking will impact the flavor and consistency of the dish. Would definitely recommend to do a salt and spice taste test at this point.
- Switch off the heat. Serve it hot garnished with fresh chopped cilantro.
I served this korma piping hot with Masala Avocado Paratha or flat breads and a simple Jeera rice.
Masala Avocado Paratha – Whole wheat flat bread, perfectly spiced.
Pan cooked Jeera Rice – Fragrant Basmati rice cooked with tadka of Cumin seeds in ghee or butter .
If you would like to make a richer version of this you can always add in some pan-fried cashews and a dash of cream to this preparation.