Navratan Korma: What Makes This Nawabi Veg Curry So Special

The world is moving towards vegetarianism and many chefs globally are actually viewing it as a welcome trend. For the longest time, India has been renowned for its vegetarian curries, pickles and condiments. And now that Indian cuisine is dominating the world, it is time to acknowledge how varied our curries are. Most of us like to make our curries from scratch; it is the combination of spices and herbs that decide whether it would be fiery or mellow. That’s right not all Indian curries are ‘so-spicy-my-brows-are-burning', ingredients like cream, cashews, and even coconut milk are also some of the usual suspects in many curries, making it palatable for even those with low spice tolerance. 

Use Of Coconut Milk In Asian Cooking

While the use of coconut milk is used extensively in Thai cooking, its use is limited in India. You would rarely find it in curries of North, but many South Indian preparations actually use coconut milk to offset the heat and strike the right balance of flavour. It brings about a lovely mild, sweetness to any preparation.

In this recipe of veg Navratan Korma, Chef Sumit Sethi of Crowne Plaza Today, Okhla New Delhi, flamboyantly uses coconut milk to give a South Asian edge to a dish that is primarily Awadhi.

Making Veg Navratan Korma 

Think of Awadhi food and most of us start picturing meaty kebabs, nihari, kormas, but the truth is that Awadhi Khansamas were equally well-versed with the local and seasonal vegetables. They liked to cook the same with loads of nuts, seeds and dry fruits. The vegetarian dish that is said to have been inspired by the ‘nine jewels’ or ‘Navratan’ of King Akbar’s court comprises many vegetables and nuts, known to be the ‘ratn’ or jewels of the dish. It is so easy to prepare, and can be an ideal addition to your celebratory or festive spreads.

All you need is to heat ghee in a pan, add chopped onions, sautee it for a while. Add vegetables of your choice such as beans, carrots, cauliflowers and peas, and sautee again. Throw in some black pepper powder, coriander powder and salt. The spices would be followed by nuts add foxnuts, almonds, cashew nuts, raisins and sautee well. Then add coconut milk and allow it to bubble, next use some cashew paste and water, add some cream, a bit of garam masala and serve hot with a garnish of pomegranate seeds.

You can watch the detailed recipe video here.