This vegan Vegetable Korma is made with easy to find ingredients and uses simple step-by-step directions.
I’m a little obsessed with Indian food. When I go more than a week or so without eating it, I start craving it and can’t think about anything else. Last summer in Italy, I was surrounded by fresh homemade pasta.. But after 8 days, all I wanted was curry. Ridiculous? Maybe. But my brain and belly didn’t care.
Roast or Fry Your Spices!
As much as I love to gobble up Indian food on a regular basis, eating out constantly isn’t in my budget, and pre-made jarred or boxed Indian curries never leave me satisfied. The flavors aren’t as intense, and often aren’t even correct. Indian food from a jar makes me sad. That said, I did what I always do, cook it myself! Easy right? Not so much. At first it was a little overwhelming to learn about new spices and ingredients. Also, I always felt like the food I made wasn’t quite right, but I didn’t know what was missing! It always (sadly) tasted like the jarred curry. It was like there was a secret to making Indian food that I couldn’t figure out. Turns out– there is. To bring out extra flavor in a lot of Indian dishes, you have to dry roast or quickly pan fry the spices before you cook them. That’s it. Don’t skip that step– it’s important.
Gathering Ingredients for vegetable korma
This recipe is for Vegetable Korma– a creamy sweet Indian dish that I usually serve with rice. It can be prepared as mild or as hot as you prefer– it all depends on what kind of peppers you use and how many. If you haven’t tried many Indian dishes, this is a good one to start with. The spices in this recipe are sold at most grocery stores, but if you can find a Middle Eastern or Indian grocery store (or a Jungle Jim’s), the spices will be much cheaper and in bulk. If you don’t have whole spices, go ahead and use the ground versions, but don’t skip the roasting.
Making the korma takes about 30-40 minutes start to finish, and goes faster once you’ve done it a few times. It can also be made the day before and reheated- this curry benefits from letting the flavors sit for a while.
Please note that coconut milk (used in a lot of my recipes as a cow’s milk substitute) is sold in both cans and cartons. Coconut milk sold in refrigerated cartons tends to be a little thinner than canned coconut milk, and in general has more preservatives added than the canned kind. Coconut milk is different from the solid coconut cream, which has a much thicker, more solid consistency, and is a nice substitute for whipping cream. If you accidentally bought cream instead of milk, you can just add a little water. I like Trader Joe’s canned coconut milk and cream. To learn more about coconut milk vs. coconut cream, check out this article at The Kitchn.
Note: If you use whole spices you’ll need a way to grind them up. You can use a spice grinder if you have one, or you can use a coffee grinder or small food processor. To clean out the spice flavors from your coffee grinder / food processor, you can blend uncooked rice after the spices and it should absorb a lot of the scent and oils. If you’re going to use it to grind spices on a regular basis, however, you may want a grinder dedicated to spices. I use a coffee grinder that we no longer use for grinding coffee beans
Love Indian food? Want more? Try these recipes:
Masala spice mix:
- (ground spice measurements are approximate)
- 1-4 dry green or red dried chilies of any variety. (I typically use chilies de arbol for less heat, and japones for more heat).
- 2 TB coriander seeds (or 2 TB ground coriander)
- 1 TB fennel seeds (If you don't have, add an extra clove)
- 1 inch cinnamon stick (or 1/2 TB ground cinnamon)
- 2-3 cloves (1/2 tsp ground cloves)
- 1 green cardamon (or 1/2 ts cardamon powder)
- 1 tsp poppy seeds (skip if you don't have)
- 5-10 cashews
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut
- 3-4 garlic cloves, chopped or minced
- 3/4 inch ginger, chopped (substitute 1 TB ginger powder if you don't have)
- 1/2 cup water for grinding
- *veggies can be substituted for whatever you have on hand (ex- lima beans, peas etc), but I find this tastes best when broccoli and cauliflower are included
- 1-2 TB coconut oil or ghee (clarified butter)
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 15 oz can fire roasted tomatoes OR 1 tomato, diced
- 1 cup cauliflower florets
- 1 cup brocolli florets
- 1 cup green beans
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- ~1/2 cup milk OR coconut milk
- ~1/2 cup heavy whipping cream OR 1/2 cup full fat coconut milk OR 2-3 TB coconut cream
- ~1 tsp salt (to taste, but don't omit)
- 1 TB sugar (or more to taste- when using coconut milk and cream I usually omit sugar)
- cilantro leaves (optional)
- Basmati or Jasmine Rice to serve
- 2 Bay leaves
Prepare the rice according to package directions. Add 2 bay leaves with the rice while it's cooking, and then discard them when it's finished.
While rice is cooking, put all ingredients for the masala spice mix on a small non-stick pan on very low heat to dry roast (about 5 minutes, or until the spices become fragrant).
Heat oil or ghee in a large pan or wok until oil begins to shimmer. Add diced onions and saute 4-5 minutes. While onions are cooking, grind the spices that have been dry roasting. Add spice mixture to the onions. Add the tomatoes, and cook about 5 minutes. Add veggies and cover the pan to allow them to cook through.
Meanwhile, put all ingredients for the garlic paste, including water, in a blender or food processor. Add the paste to the pan with onions, tomatoes etc. Add turmeric, milk, and cream. If the curry seems too dull, add more turmeric to brighten it.
Season to taste with the salt and sugar. If it's too spicy for you, add more cream. If it isn't hot enough, add a few drops of hot sauce (don't try to add more spices to change the flavor at this point unless you want to wait on those to dry roast).
Top with cilantro (optional). Serve with rice.
Recipe adapted from: Veg Recipes of India