Navratan Korma

About seven years ago, I signed up for a local cooking class focusing on vegetarian East Indian cuisine. It was an 8 week course where I learned all about spices, different legumes and curries galore. Each class we made an appetizer or soup, a bread (chapatis, naan, roti etc), a main dish, a salad and a dessert. In twelve weeks, I amassed a fantastic collection of tried-and true-recipes from our teacher Rani Rehal. Each week, after all of the food was prepared, the students would sit together and eat all of the menu items. It was DELICIOUS! After I finished the class, I was completely hooked on East Indian cuisine and decided I would start making a lot of my favourite Indian take-out items at home.  At the end of the course, the teacher sold these adorable little spice kits to get us started with East Indian cooking at home. It was all the inspiration I needed! I cooked up a ton of curries and kormas over a few months. This navratan korma came out as my very favourite of all the recipes I tried. It…is….yummy!

Korma is a dish originating from Central Asia and is generally considered to be a stew with a base of cream, coconut milk, yogurt and/or nut paste (cashew paste in particular). My cooking teacher, Rani, showed the class a easy way to put together a savoury, flavourful korma in about 45 minutes. (You cannot rush a good curry!) The first (and most important) key is to brown the onions to allow them to develop as much flavour as possible. The second key is a good blend of spices. This recipe hits the mark with a delicious mixture of spice. There’s a great balance of sweet, spicy, savoury and earthy. Navratan Korma is classically a vegetarian dish, but can easily be made vegan with coconut milk. Navratan translates to “nine gems” – where the combination of nine vegetables, fruits and/or nuts are the “gems”. Don’t be afraid of the long list of ingredients. This recipe is well worth the time and effort. You could easily mix all of the spices in advance and triple the quantity, so you are set for your next batch. I guarantee after you try this, you’ll want to make a lot more :)

Hope you are all having a wonderful week! xo
Ingredients
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons of canola oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 teaspoon of fresh grated ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1 heaping teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of vegetable stock
  • 3 cups of mixed frozen veggies (peas, carrots, corn, green beans etc)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of cauliflower florets
  • 3/4 cup of cashews
  • 1/2 cup of golden raisins 
  • 1 and 1/2 cups of paneer (or extra-firm tofu; cubed)
  • 1/3 cup of cream or 1 can of coconut milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garam masala
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup of chopped fresh cilantro or parsley (for garnish)

Note: feel free to add diced peppers, zucchini, eggplant etc to the korma. If you don’t have raisins, feel free to use pineapple tidbits. They are equally delicious in this korma.


Method

1. Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once hot, add oil.

2. Add onions and sauté them until a nice, golden brown (about 15 to 20 minutes). Once onions have browned, add the garlic and ginger. Sauté for a minute and then add the cinnamon, cumin, cardamom, turmeric and cayenne. Toast the spices for a minute and then add the tomato paste. 

3. Slowly whisk in the vegetable stock and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and add the cauliflower florets and frozen vegetable mixture. Allow the vegetables to cook for about 15 minutes and soften. Season the dish with salt and pepper.

4. Add the cashews, raisins and paneer cheese. Slowly stir in the cream or coconut milk. Heat through. Note: if the paneer is frozen, make sure to thaw it before adding it to the korma. I normally place the bag of frozen paneer in warm water for 15 minutes before adding it to the korma. Works like a charm!

5. Add the garam masala right before taking the korma off the heat.

Serve the korma with a cilantro or parsley garnish. Serve with basmati rice and/or garlic naan.

Yield: serves 6

Source: inspired by Rani Rehal (cooking instructor) in Winnipeg

Comments

  1. says

    wow, what a wonderful experience you had taking that class! i am very envious of you! this korma looks perfect and i am making it this weekend for sure!

  2. says

    These korma sound so good! At my house, we’re definitely on the learn-to-cook-Indian-food train right now–so I definitely want to give this a try. :)

    • says

      This is a great recipe to start with, as even though the recipe list is a bit long, it’s quite easy! And it sooooo yummy. I cannot make it too much, as I have a tendency to over-indulge on Indian food. *hehe*

    • says

      I like this recipe, as even through there are a lot of ingredients, it’s pretty easy and straight forward. A lot of kormas require the spices be toasted and then ground. In this one, you use pre-ground spices and it still tastes amazing!

  3. says

    This sounds amazing! I the blend of sweet, spicy and savory in Indian cuisine. We’ll have to try this! The cooking class sounds like a blast.

    • says

      The class was so much fun! I learned so much. I loved the format where we learned how to make soups, salads, appetizers, main courses and desserts. Now I can throw a full Indian dinner party :)

  4. says

    My husband was just telling me that I don’t cook enough Indian food, so I think I have the perfect recipe to make for him now. :) I love korma, but I’m embarrassed to admit that usually I just buy the pre-made sauce in a jar, toss in some cauliflower & chickpeas and call it a day!

    • says

      Pre-made sauce is good too! I always follow Jamie Oliver recipes and he often uses a pre-made curry paste or sauce. If Jamie can do it….we can certainly do it too! *hehe*

  5. says

    I’m so glad you posted this recipe – Navratan Korma is one of my favourite Indian dishes, but I haven’t managed to find the perfect recipe to make it at home yet. I love how it’s mild and creamy and full of so many different ingredients! I remember trying one in India that had pineapple in it and I loved the mixture of fruit and veggies

    • says

      The pineapple is really nice in this dish! The sweetness against the heat is delicious! I love that this is so creamy without being too heave too. Adding cashews to anything makes it better immediately. *hehe*

  6. Anonymous says

    Courtney, I’d love to try this as a vegan dish. Is it right to use a full can of coconut milk, though? That’s a lot more than 1/3 cup (the amount of liquid if using cream). I’ve never had korma before so am not sure how it should look.

    • says

      Navratan is a very creamy dish, so a full can should be just fine. I’ve used a full can of coconut milk in other curries and it worked great. I personally find coconut milk very rich, so I always add half a can first then test out the curry. I’ll then add more coconut milk to taste. Hope you enjoy this! Let me know how it turns out. :)

  7. Tricia S. says

    Came across this recipe about a month ago and finally made it today. I wish I hadn’t waited so long! This super tasty. It was pretty easy to put together and can’t wait to try the leftovers tomorrow. The golden raisins and cashews were perfect. Thank you so much!

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