Vellai Kurma: Quick Supper Idea in Tamil Nadu
Image Credit: Image Courtesy: Kannamma Cooks

Growing up, I remember eating at numerous truck stops or at homes of family friends that seemed to favour a white, grainy, tangy side to eat with staple breakfast items like dosas and idlis. It featured regularly as one of the items on wedding breakfast menus and I would always look forward to dunking my idiyappams in the creamy sauce. More commonly found in the interiors of Tamil Nadu, this simple vegetable curry is testament to cooking with minimal ingredients for maximum flavour.

Vellai kurma is a refreshing break from the clutter of heavily spiced meat and vegetable curries, as opposed to what is mainly from the Chettinad region of South Indian cuisine. Served as an accompaniment to rich mutton or beef biryanis, appams and even clam pulaos, it has the depth from the flavours of whole spices and body from the liberal use of coconut and cashews. Here’s how you can make a portion for two at home:

Vellai Kurma



  1. ½ grated coconut
  2. 7-8 cashews
  3. 3 cloves garlic
  4. 3 green chillies
  5. 1 teaspoon saunf
  6. 1 cardamom
  7. 1.5 cups boiled vegetables (carrots, peas, potatoes, cauliflower)
  8. 2 tablespoons oil
  9. 8-10 curry leaves
  10. 1 medium onion, chopped
  11. 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  12. Juice of 1 lemon
  13. Salt to taste


  1. In a blender jar, grind the coconut, cashews, chillies, cardamom, garlic and saunf to a fine paste with some water. Set aside for later.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan and let the mustard seeds splutter. Throw in the curry leaves and once they begin to crackle, add in the chopped onions. Add a pinch of salt to stop the onions from browning and add the boiled vegetables and sauté everything together for about a minute. Add in the ground paste and mix well. Add water to thin the mixture and bring it to the desired consistency.
  3. Keep the pan on low heat and bring everything to a boil. Adjust seasoning to taste and add in the lemon juice once the pan has been taken off the heat. Eat warm with rice, dosa or idli.