This recipe is adapted from The 30-Minute Vegetarian Indian Cookbook, by Mridula Baljekar. I would like to put in a plug for this book. I absolutely love Indian food, but the long preparation time most dishes require isn’t compatible with my busy schedule. Baljekar simplifies traditional recipes to the point where I can make them every week. For this, the author deserves a medal!
This is wonderful with fresh warm chapaties for scooping. (Silverware isn’t used in most parts of India. Instead, you scoop with your right hand.) I serve it as an accompaniment to a meat dish, but you could give it top billing in a vegan meal.
¼ C or less ghee or unsalted butter
4 green cardamom pods, slightly crushed
½ tsp. black cumin (shahi jeera)
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp. grated fresh ginger*
1 Tbsp. minced garlic*
2 tsp. ground coriander
½ tsp. chili powder sliced
¼ tsp. turmeric
1 small dark orange sweet potato, peeled & cut in 1-inch pieces
1¼ C very thickly sliced carrots
1 C water
1 C cauliflower pieces
1 C snapped green beans
¼ C cashew pieces
1 C milk (use substitute for vegans)
1 small bell pepper, cut in chunks
1 med. yellow squash, thickly
1 med. zucchini, thickly sliced
¼ C shelled peas (frozen is fine)
1 tsp. salt, to taste
In a good-sixed saucepan, melt the ghee or butter over medium heat. Add the cardamom and cumin, and stir for a few seconds to release the fragrance. Add the onion and stir-fry for a few minutes, then add the ginger and garlic. Cook until the onions have softened but don’t let them turn brown.
Add the remaining spices; stir and cook for another minute. Pour in the water. Now add the veggies according to how long it takes them to cook.
Start with the sweet potato and carrots. Let them simmer for 5 minutes, then add the cauliflower and green beans. Cook 5 more minutes.
While they’re simmering, put the cashews and milk in a blender and process until they’re smooth.
Now add the pepper and squashes, along with the nut milk. Cook 5 minutes. Add peas. Cook the peas until they’re tender (if fresh) or warmed through (if frozen). That takes about 3 – 5 minutes.
Add salt, stir and serve.
Navratan Korma traditionally has nine different vegetables, nuts and/or fruits. Choices include winter squash, potatoes, almonds, whole cashews, raisins, and diced dried apricots, along with the ingredients listed above.
* Make sure you use fresh ginger, not dried and powdered. An easy way to store both ginger and garlic for Indian (and other Asian) cooking is to peel both, cut the ginger into small pieces, and then run equal amounts of each together through the food processor, producing a paste. Stored in the refrigerator, it keeps a very long time. (My jar is approaching the one-year mark with no signs of mold or other problems.)