Make South Indian style Veg Kurma at home with this easy step-by-step recipe!
Vegetables are cooked in a flavorful sauce made with coconut, cashews, white poppy seeds and a whole lot of spices!
This vegetable kurma tastes great with paratha, poori, dosa!
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I don’t remember mom ever making Veg Kurma. It was not something I grew up eating.
What we had was navratan korma (and I should share the recipe someday), which is more popular in Northern India and made differently than the south Indian kurma.
I tasted south Indian style veg kurma pretty late in life but it quickly became a favorite. We go to this restaurant nearby and always order their kurma with parotta (similar to paratha but very flaky and made with all purpose flour). It’s my favorite combo!
Today, I am sharing an easy version to make restaurant style veg kurma at home.
South Indian Veg Kurma
✓packed with vegetables
✓vegan and gluten-free
✓goes well with paratha, roti, rice
This recipe has a long list of ingredients, so let’s see what all goes in making it flavorful!
Coconut-Cashews-Poppy Seed paste: the dish gets its mildly sweet taste and creamy consistency from the use of this paste which is made with coconut, roasted chana dal, white poppy seeds (khus khus) and cashews.
You can use either fresh coconut or frozen shredded coconut works too.
Vegetables: potatoes, cauliflower, carrots, beans and green peas and typically used in this kurma and I have used the same here.
Remember to chop veggies into small cubes for this recipe. I chop the potatoes small (1/2 inch or less) and carrots (1/4 inch or less cubes) so that they all cook together and quickly.
Some versions of vegetable kurma also call for yogurt. It gives a slight tang to the dish.
I haven’t added it but if you want, you most definitely can add some yogurt to the recipe.
This recipe does require some prep work like chopping all the veggies, making the coconut paste and pureeing the tomatoes.
But once the prep is all done, it’s easy to put it all together.
Instant Pot Version
You can most definitely make this dish in an Instant Pot.
I would follow the same steps (on saute mode) until adding the veggies. Add the potatoes first (along with 1 cup water), then cover with pot with a glass lid and cook for 2-3 minutes.
Then stir in the remaining veggies along with remaining 1 cup water and cook on low pressure for 3 minutes with quick release.
Stir in the coconut-cashew-poppy seed paste and let the kurma simmer for few minutes on saute. Adjust the consistency at this point.
Remember to chop the veggies into large pieces (more than 1 inch) if using an Instant Pot so that they don’t turn into mush.
The Instant Pot version might need less water than the stove-top version so starts with 1.5 cups water and add more later.
1- To a blender add shredded coconut, poppy seeds, cashews and roasted chana dal (make sure to roast the chana dal beforehand). Add 1/4 cup water.
2- Grind everything together to a smooth paste. Set it aside.
3- Heat oil in a pan on medium heat. Once the oil it hot, add the whole spices- bay leaf, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and strand of mace.
Saute for few seconds until the spices are fragrant.
4- Add in the chopped onions and stir. Cook the onions for 3 minutes until soft and translucent.
5- Then add in the ginger-garlic paste and cook for another minute or so.
6- Stir in the tomato puree. Cover the pan and cook the tomatoes for around 5 minutes.
7- Then add the powdered spices- coriander powder, garam masala, turmeric powder, red chili powder. Also add the salt and mix.
Cook the spices for a minute.
8- Add in all the veggies and mix. Remember to chop veggies small so that they don’t take a lot of time to cook and also cook at the same time.
9- Add in 2 cups water.
10- Then cover the pan with a lid and cook for around 6 minutes.
11- Open the lid after 6 minutes and stir in the prepared coconut-cashew-poppy seed paste and mix. I also added remaining 1 cup of water at this point.
12- Cover and cook the veggies for another 3 or 4 minutes or until all the veggies are cooked.
Taste test and adjust the salt and spices at this point.
Garnish with cilantro and serve veg kurma with paratha, naan or rice!
This post has been updated from the recipe archives, first published in June 2017.
For the paste
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut fresh or frozen
- 2 teaspoons white poppy seeds also known as khus khus
- 10 cashews raw
- 1 tablespoon chana dal roasted
- 1/4 cup water
For the curry
- 2 tablespoons oil
- 1 bay leaf
- 3 cloves
- 4 whole green cardamom
- 1 strand mace
- 1 inch cinnamon stick
- 1 medium yellow onion chopped
- 2 teaspoons ginger-garlic paste
- 2 medium tomatoes pureed
- 2 teaspoons coriander powder
- 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
- 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
- 3/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
- 3 cups water 24 oz, divided
- 1/2 cup cubed carrots 1/4 inch in size
- 1/2 cup green beans chopped
- 1 cup cauliflower florets small sized florets
- 1 cup cubed potato small cubes, 1/2 inch or less
- 1/3 cup green peas I used frozen
- cilantro to garnish
- To a blender add shredded coconut, poppy seeds, cashews and roasted chana dal (make sure to roast the chana dal beforehand). Add 1/4 cup water.Grind everything together to a smooth paste. Set it aside.
- Heat oil in a pan on medium heat. Once the oil it hot, add the whole spices- bay leaf, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and strand of mace.Saute for few seconds until the spices are fragrant.
- Add in the chopped onions and stir. Cook the onions for 3 minutes until soft and translucent.
- Then add in the ginger-garlic paste and cook for another minute or so.
- Stir in the tomato puree. Cover the pan and cook the tomatoes for around 5 minutes.
- Then add the powdered spices- coriander powder, garam masala, turmeric powder, red chili powder. Also add the salt and mix.Cook the spices for a minute.
- Add in all the veggies and mix. Remember to chop veggies small so that they don't take a lot of time to cook and also cook at the same time.
- Add in 2 cups water. Then cover the pan with a lid and cook for around 6 minutes.
- Open the lid after 6 minutes and stir in the prepared coconut-cashew-poppy seed paste and mix. Veggies are almost cooked at this point. I also added an additional cup of water at this point.
- Cover and cook the veggies for another 3 or 4 minutes or until all the veggies are cooked.Taste test and adjust the salt and spices at this point.
- Garnish with cilantro and serve veg kurma with paratha, naan or rice!
Instant Pot Instructions
- Chop the veggies into big pieces (more than 1 inch).Press the saute button on the Instant Pot. Once it displays hot, add the oil and then follow all the steps until adding the powdered spices. Then add the potatoes first with 1 cup water, cover the pot with a glass lid and cook for 2-3 minutes. Then add the remaining veggies along with 1/2-1 cup more water. Low pressure 3 minutes with quick release. Open lid, press saute, stir in the cashew-coconut paste and stir. Let the kurma simmer for 2-3 minutes. If needed, add more water at this point.
- Adjust spices levels to taste. This kurma had enough heat for me but if you prefer spicy food, add more of the red chili powder.
- You can add a little yogurt to the curry if you prefer a tang in your kurma, I did not add any.
- If you don't have white poppy seeds, you may skip them.