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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!
- 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 cashews which also make it rich. This really tastes like a restaurant dish rather than a simple supper.
- 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.
- The pulses and vegetables are really up to you. As a base, I recommend using the really handy frozen mix of chickpeas, spinach, cauliflower and lentils from Birds Eye (see more details below). I used it with some leftover pre-cooked potato from the kids dinner, but you could also use a combination of:
- Butternut squash and/or sweet potato (pre-cook them until al-dente beforehand)
- Juicy chestnut mushrooms (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)
I’m sometimes put off experimenting with new ways of making quick weeknight supper staples like korma, because time is just so stretched. Testing out new ingredients and trying new flavour combinations can take time and effort.
So I was thrilled to come across a range of ingredients recently that save the hassle of opening tins and draining pulses, peeling and chopping veg whilst tasting really good and cooking in four minutes or less. That’s a lot of tine and effort saved which can be concentrated on the rest of your dish instead.
What is this wonderful discovery? Birds Eye have brought out a range of frozen pulses which are perfect for curries, chillies, autumnal stews and casseroles, pasta bakes and all sorts of other speedy suppers. There are three varieties:
- Chickpea and Spinach Mix which I use in lots of curries and Indian-inspired dinners
- Italian Three Bean Mix which makes a stunning Tuscan bean soup
- Mexican Bean Mix which is perfect in a spicy chilli sauce, or in fajitas or burritos
What’s also great about these handy mixes is that freezing of the vegetables and pulses locks in goodness. And as pulses are a really good source of protein and fibre (as well as counting towards one of your five a day), that’s good news for vegans!
I’ve found these at Ocado, Asda and Tesco, and they are usually £2 per packet which I find feeds our greedy family of 4 easily.
Don’t forget to pin the recipe for later, or to share with friends → → → → →
You might like to take a look at my Vegan 20 Minute Meals Index for lots more delicious and speedy vegan meals!
Do send me pictures of your very own takeaway-style vegan korma on:
tagging me @thevegspace or using the hashtag #thevegspace to show me how you got on!
Vegan Korma: Equipment and Shopping List
You will need:
- Large, lidded frying pan or casserole
- Mini-chopper or blender
- Measuring jug
- garlic purée / garlic cloves
- ginger purée / fresh root ginger
- vegetables and/or pulses (eg. Birds Eye frozen Chickpea & Spinach Mix, or see above for more ideas)
- garam masala
- cashew nuts
- coconut yoghurt
- dairy-free cream
Takeaway-Style Vegan Korma
- 50 g cashew nuts
- 1 onion
- 2 tbsp rapeseed or sunflower oil
- 2 tsp ginger purée / 2-3cm piece root ginger, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 tsp garlic purée / 2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
- 3 tsp garam masala
- 2 tsp turmeric
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 250 ml coconut yoghurt
- 1 tsp salt
- 25 g sultanas
- 600 g vegetables and pulses (I used a 450g bag frozen Birds Eye Chickpea & Spinach mix with lentils and spinach, plus 150g cooked potato. See above for more ideas)
- 4 tbsp 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 then add 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.
There are plenty of quick and easy vegan recipes in my new book, ‘Vegan in 15‘*. Hop over to Amazon for a look. Thanks for your support!
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I’m linking this vegan korma recipe with some blogging challenges:
- Cook Once Eat Twice hosted by Searching for Spice
Disclosure: This vegan korma post was sponsored by Birds Eye, and I was paid to develop the recipe. All views are my own.