I love the Chettinad style of cooking with whole spices, coconuts and such. The flavours are bold and loud, the ingredients are in your face and every bite makes you feel vibrant and reminds you that you are eating this meal and loving it. While the general agreement is that Chettinad cooking is best done with meat, I tend to think that this vegetable kurma is a fairly good vegetarian version. While I won’t claim this is a Chettinad style vegetable curry recipe, I do think it’s largely inspired from that cuisine.
I love serving this kurma with spongy uttappam but chapatis or rotis are really the perfect and classic pairing. You can adjust the ingredients in all sorts of manners – from picking a different mix of vegetables to adding as little or as much spices and coconut as you’d like. You can even choose to heat up the spices in oil instead of grinding it with the coconut as I have done. I have tried both versions and they both create a fine kurma.
VEGETABLE KURMA RECIPE
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
2-3 green chillies
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
3 cups mixed chopped vegetables (I used carrots, beans, potatoes, and tomatoes)
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp yogurt (optional)
2 tsp coriander powder / malli podi
1/2 tsp cumin / jeera
1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
1/4 tsp fennel seeds
A few curry leaves
1 tbsp oil
2 tsp ghee
Salt to taste
2″ cinnamon stick
2 cardamom pods
5-6 cashew nuts
2 green chillies
1/4 cup grated coconut
Add the ingredients under the list “to grind” into a small mixie jar or spice grinder.
Grind to a smooth paste with water. I added about 1/2 cup water while grinding but this depends on the size of your grinder and how smooth you want the paste to be. Set aside.
Heat oil and ghee in a pan and add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and fennel. Fry for a minute or until the mustard seeds start popping.
Add the sliced onions, curry leaves, and green chillies. Saute until the onions turn a light brown.
Add the ginger garlic paste along with the coriander powder and sauté again until fragrant – another minute or so.
Now add the chopped vegetables and coconut paste. Top up with about 1 cup water and the milk for the vegetables to get cooked properly.
Add some turmeric and simmer until the vegetables are cooked yet hold their shape.
You can cook down the vegetables to your preferred consistency. Add yogurt at this stage, if using.
Finally add salt and remove from fire. Serve vegetable kurma hot with chapatis, rotis, nan, parotta, or even pulao.
Note: this recipe was updated with new and step by step pictures on 21st March, 2015.