Spicy Vegetable Korma with Chana Dal in a Cashew Coconut Tomato Sauce

Visit the Indian Food Glossary for information on the ingredients in this recipe
Regular readers will know that I like to experiment with various types of Indian cooking. I use different spice mixtures and ingredients, and also enjoy trying dishes from various regions of India. This vegetable korma is a fusion of Northern and Southern cooking styles. Starting with a South Indian dish in mind based on the idea of coconut blended with cumin, I then shifted to ingredients common to North Indian dishes and so made the paste with cashews, garam masala, coriander and chilies along with the coconut. The dish ended up tempered South Indian style.

I wanted a legume component, so chana dal got incorporated into the korma, and I added some hot dried red chilies because I wanted more heat. This is one of the tastiest kormas I have ever made and a fine way to get your vegetables on the table.

Serve with rice for a healthy and balanced vegetarian meal.

Spicy Vegetable Korma with Chana Dal in a Cashew Coconut Tomato Sauce

2/3 cup of chana dal (or yellow split peas), soaked for at least three hours
2 tablespoons of ghee, or a mixture of butter and oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, finely chopped
2 1/4 cups of water
1 large potato, diced
1 large carrot, diced
2/3 cup of peas (fresh or frozen)
1 teaspoon of turmeric
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne
1 1/2 teaspoons of sea salt
handful of dry curry leaves (optional)

For the paste:

1/2 cup of dried coconut
1/4 cup of cashews
1 teaspoon of coriander seeds
1 teaspoons of cumin seeds
3 - 4 whole dried red chilies
2 green chilies, seeded and chopped
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped

For the tadka:

1 teaspoon of black mustard seeds
2 teapoons of urad dal, rinsed
pinch or two of asafoetida
2 - 3 whole dried red chilies

Begin by making the paste. Soak the coconut in 1/2 cup of hot water for 10 - 15 minutes. Drain. Soak the cashews in some warm water for 10 - 15 minutes. Drain. Dry roast the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and dried red chili over medium heat for a few minutes. Transfer the coconut, cashews and roasted seeds to a food processor or blender along with the ginger and green chilies. Process until you have a fairly smooth paste. Add a bit of water if desired.

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. When hot, toss in the onion and stir and fry until it is translucent. Add the tomatoes to the pot and cook for another 5 minutes or until they thicken up and have a sauce-like consistency. Now drain the chana dal and add to the pot along with 2 1/4 cups of water. Simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the chana dal is just tender. Add the carrots, potato and peas (if fresh), turmeric and cayenne. Continue to simmer until the vegetables are tender. You can add more water to achieve your desired consistency.

Now add the ground paste to the pot and the sea salt. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook for another 10 - 15 minutes. If you are using frozen peas, add them, and the curry leaves, to the pan near the end of the cooking time.

To prepare the tadka, heat a few teaspoons of oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. When hot, toss in the mustard seeds, urad dal, dried red chilies and the asafoetida. Stir and fry until the mustard seeds begin to pop and the urad dal turns a reddish colour. Immediately pour into the vegetable pot, stir and cover and let sit for 5 minutes to allow the flavours to blend.

Serves 6.

If you like this recipe, you might also enjoy:
Curried Indian Vegetable Soup
Chopped Cabbage with a Crumbly Chana Dal Sauce
Scalloped Potatoes with Coconut Milk and Mushrooms


Parita said...

Thats delicious vegetable korma..love the cashew, tomato and coconut gravy..

Suparna said...

Hi Lisa,
That's a gorgeous looking dish :D
wonderful thought of incorporating chana dal in the korma.... It's a rarity to see coconut and cashew combination ....I can imagine the richness in flavour and aroma of this combined with the spiced masala paste ...hmmmm cooking the veggies n chana dal in this sauce oooooo...lisa my mouth's watering now I better book mark it leave ...lol :)

Núria said...

Hi Lisa!
I never cooked Indian and never went to an Indian restaurant... A virgin in this area :D. But love to see and learn about spices! Great pics!

Want to dive into an Omelet sea?

Parita said...

Hi Lisa..got something very special for you on my blog..pls do visit dear :)

Indhu said...

yummy korma... and I love the addition of chana dhal... make it much healthier :)

Thanks for trying out this dish!

Laavanya said...

That sounds delicious and i've always appreciated the bite and nuttiness from channa dhal :)

Pooja said...

Wow yummy korma! Love the addition of dal with veggies..awesome!

eatme_delicious said...

I've never made anything like this before! It looks and sounds so delicious.

Happy cook said...

I love kurma, adding the channa is new to me, but really clever.
This looks really yummy delicous.
I can just imagine eating them with rice or acooping up with roties.

Ramya Vijaykumar said...

Channa dhal with the korma mmm thats new and sounds interesting!!! looks great and definitely healthy too!!!

Ricki said...

This does sound delicious! I'm sure I'd love it--the coconut, the spice--sounds great.

Helene said...

I love the meals that you cook. This is a delicious korma.

Lisa said...

Thanks for the encouragement!

DEESHA said...

love the addition of cashew & coconut. makes it rich

rekhas kitchen said...

hummm interesting mix vegetables with channa dal and coconut flavor looks like a very aromatic kurma yum yum will give a try nice pic.

nath said...

as usuall delish and healthy ;)

christine said...

Hi Lisa,
Just discovered your site, and feel sure I'll be visiting often!
This looks lovely, and sounds tasty. I invariably make a dahl of some sort when I make an Indian inspired meal, but have never combined it like this. I love to get new ideas. Thank you :-)

Gattina said...

Great try Lisa, and it looks splendid! your creation just combines the best of both worlds!

Anirtak said...

With the coconut rice I made this Korma and it went down very well at my dinner party! Although I left out a couple of chilli's as my New Zealand palate can't cope with too much spice! Cheers.

Amy I. said...

Hello! Just wanted to let you know that a friend and I made this tonight and it was absolutely wonderful. Our first journey into Indian cooking, and certainly not our last! Many thanks!!

Monty said...

This recipe is a masterstroke!! Thank you so much!!