This restaurant-standard vegan korma is anything but bland and boring. Packed with flavour but delicately spiced, showstopping enough to serve to guests.
Ah Korma, the curry for people who don't really like curry. The one that isn't too spicy. The bland one. Well perhaps that's the case in British curry houses, but the original korma was an expensive banquet dish, rich with cream, strewn with nuts and fruit, and deeply scented with exotic spices.
I'm as guilty as everyone else for my treatment of this noble dish - a creamy chickpea and kale vegan korma comes up every few weeks on our weekly meal plan, and I'm ashamed to say it is a cheat's 10-minute version made with a generous dollop of spice paste from a jar in the fridge and a tin of coconut milk.
But I've been thinking for a while about the times I've had a really excellent korma in a restaurant, and how I might be able to get somewhere close to those at home. Now autumn is in the air and the evenings are getting dark and cold, working on a flavour-packed and deeply spiced 'proper' korma seemed very appealing, and after a number of taste tests, tweaking the spice combinations, sauce thickness, cooking time and base vegetables, I think I've got it just how I want it!
What you will need for your Vegan Korma
The korma 'filling' of pulses and vegetables is really up to you. I used a mix of chickpeas, spinach, cauliflower and lentils with leftover pre-cooked potato from the kids dinner, but you could also use any combination of:
- Tinned chickpeas
- Tinned green or brown lentils
- If you like vegan meat substitutes, some vegan 'chicken' pieces would work well in this creamy sauce, (but do add some vegetables too, for balance).
- Butternut squash and/or sweet potato (pre-cook them until al-dente beforehand)
- Juicy chestnut mushrooms (halve and fry them separately or their juices will make the sauce too watery)
- Frozen peas
- Broccoli (pre-cook until al-dente)
- Peppers (if you have time, roast them in the oven for a lovely sweetness, or else just fry them first before adding to the sauce)
- Courgettes (slice thinly and fry or grill beforehand as they release a lot of liquid which will make the sauce watery - or see my Creamy Courgette Curry if you prefer!)
Garlic and ginger I've given the option of either fresh garlic and ginger, or ready-chopped from a jar or tube. If you have time the fresh stuff really does make a difference to the overall flavour, but if you're in a hurry you can 'cheat' if you need to!
Garam masala, turmeric and cinnamon The spices pack a punch but without being 'hot' - garam masala is a great blend which saves you having to buy seven or eight individual jars, turmeric deepens the colour and adds flavour, and cinnamon finishes it off with a sweet edge.
Coconut yoghurt The sauce is made from coconut yoghurt rather than coconut milk that I would usually use - giving it a bit of tang, but sweetened with blitzed cashew nuts which also make it rich. This really tastes like a restaurant dish rather than a simple supper.
Dairy-free cream This gives a final rich and creamy finish to the dish. I used soya cream but coconut cream would work just as well.
To make the cashew and spice paste you really do need some sort of mini chopper or blender. I use my mini chopper almost every day, for smoothies, sauces, soups and all sorts of quick chopping jobs in the kitchen. Mine is a Braun Multiquick* priced at just under £50 which is great value for money if you use it as much as I do, but you can get even cheaper ones too that will do a similar job.
If I'm making this in bulk to freeze I will make the spice paste and chop all the vegetables in my Magimix Food Processor* which is all-round brilliant and a great investment.
Reader Testimonials: Vegan Korma
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ "Finding it really hard to feed 2 vegan teenagers but this recipe was amazing! I had 3 empty plates and some compliments for my cooking which doesn’t happen very often…😂 Thank you Kate. It really was like having a proper takeaway!" Sue
For more quick and easy vegan recipes take a look at my latest book Vegan in 15.
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Vegan Korma with coconut yoghurt sauce
- 50 g cashew nuts
- 1 onion
- 2 tablespoon rapeseed or sunflower oil
- 2 teaspoon ginger purée / 2-3cm piece root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 teaspoon garlic purée / 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 3 teaspoon garam masala
- 2 teaspoon turmeric
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 250 ml coconut yoghurt
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 25 g sultanas
- 600 g vegetables and pulses (I used a mix of cooked cauliflower, chickpeas, lentils, spinach and cooked potato. See above for more ideas)
- 4 tablespoon dairy-free cream (I used soya cream)
- Pour 150ml warm water into a jug or bowl, and add the cashew nuts. Leave them soaking and set aside.
- Peel and slice the onion. Heat the oil in a large, lidded frying pan or casserole dish and cook the onion over a medium heat for 4-5 minutes until starting to soften.
- Prepare the garlic and ginger and add to the pan. Continue to cook on a gentle heat.
- Tip the cashews and their soaking water into a mini-chopper or blender, and add the garam masala, turmeric and cinnamon. Blitz to a smooth paste.
- Add the spice and cashew paste to the pan and cook over a gentle heat for 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Stir in the yoghurt, salt and sultanas, bring to a simmer and continue to cook for a further 4-5 minutes.
- Finally, add the vegetables / pulses and the dairy-free cream and cook for a further 4-5 minutes. Serve with rice and naan.