Kurma (South Indian Mixed Vegetable Curry)

Madhur Jaffrey's simple and delicious recipe for a classic Indian vegetarian dish makes a flavourful Indian meal
By Madhur Jaffrey
Kurma (South Indian Mixed Vegetable Curry)
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 4
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes plus 1 hr soaking
  • Effort: easy



  • tbsp raw cashew nuts, chopped
  • 3 tomatoes, chopped
  • 60 g fresh coconut
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3-4 green bird's eye chillies, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp home-made garam masala, (see below)
  • 4 tbsp chopped coriander
  • 1 tbsp corn, peanut or olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp whole brown mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp chana dal or yellow split peas
  • 10 fresh curry leaves, (optional)
  • 125 g carrots, cut into 2cm dice
  • 115 g fresh podded peas or defrosted frozen peas
  • 115 g cauliflower, cut into florets roughly 2cm across
  • 115 g French beans, cut into 2cm lengths
  • 250 ml water
  • 1 tbsp natural yogurt
  • rice or rice noodles, to serve

For the garam masala:

  • 1 tbsp cardamom seeds
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp whole cloves
  • 1 tsp black cumin seeds
  • 1/3 of a nutmeg
  • cinnamon sticks, broken up


1. First make the garam masala. Place the cardamom, peppercorns, cloves, cumin seeds, nutmeg and cinnamon in a clean coffee grinder or spice grinder. Grind as finely as possible. Store in a tightly lidded jar, away from heat and sunlight. Use as required.

2. Cover the cashews in hot water and soak for 1 hour. Drain.

3. Put the tomatoes, coconut, salt, chillies, garam masala and cashews into a blender. Blend until you have a smooth paste. Add the chopped coriander and blend for a second only. You should still see flecks of green.

4. Pour the oil into a medium, lidded pan and set over a medium heat. When the oil is hot, put in the mustard seeds and chana dal. As soon as the mustard seeds begin to pop and the dal reddens, a matter of seconds, put in the curry leaves, carrots, peas, cauliflower and beans. Stir once and add the water.

5. Bring to the boil, cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 3 minutes or until the vegetables are just tender, yet retain a crispness.

6. Stir in the paste from the blender and return to a simmer. Simmer gently, uncovered, for 2 minutes, stirring now and then. Fold in the yogurt and turn off the heat.

7. Serve with rice or rice noodles.

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