I made this recipe with Spoons when I visited him in Brooklyn last fall, and liked it enough that I emailed myself the recipe. Finally last week I got around to making it myself. It’s from Madhur Jaffrey’s cookbook “From Curries to Kebabs: Recipes from the Indian Spice Trail.”
- 2 Tbs. raw, chopped cashews
- 3 med tomatoes, about 12 ounces, chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh, grated coconut
- 1 tsp. salt
- 3-4 bird’s eye or other green chilies, chopped
- 1/2 tsp. garam masala
- 4 Tbs. chopped cilantro
- 1 Tbs. oil
- 1/2 tsp. brown mustard seeds
- 1 tsp. chana dal or yellow split peas
- 10 curry leaves
- 1 cup carrots, cut into 3/4 inch dice
- 1 cup peas
- 1 cup 3/4-inch cauliflower florets
- 1 cup green beans, cut into 3/4-inch lengths
- 1 Tbs. plain yogurt
- Soak cashews in hot water for 1 hour.
- Put tomatoes, coconut, salt, chilies, garam masala, and cashews into a blender. Blend to a smooth paste. Add cilantro and blend for one second–you should see flecks of green.
- Pour the oil into a medium, lidded pan and set over med heat. When the oil is hot add the mustard seeds and chana dal. When the seeds pop and dal reddens, a matter of seconds, put in the curry leaves, carrots, peas, cauliflower, and beans. Stir once and add 1 cup of water. Boil, cover, reduce to low, simmer for 3 minutes or until the veggies are tender-crisp.
- 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 off heat.
I doubled the recipe, and used my large 6-quart dutch oven. I soaked my cashews in tap water in the fridge overnight. They were plenty soft. I didn’t have fresh coconut so used dried, unsweetened coconut, but I didn’t have a full cup–maybe 2/3 of a cup? I did use fresh tomatoes for the sauce. I couldn’t find bird’s eye chilies so I used some jalapenos with seeds and some very long bright red chilies that I don’t know the name of. I was out of chana dal so used urad dal. I didn’t have any curry leaves. I didn’t measure my vegetables carefully–I might have had more than 2 cups of each. I might have used more cashews and spices and coriander as well.
My biggest problem was that I couldn’t get the vegetables to cook. My carrots and cauliflower in particular were just rock hard after boiling for 3 minutes. I cooked them a bit longer and then added the sauce, but after 2 minutes of simmering they still weren’t at all done. I had to simmer the vegetables in the sauce for quite a long time. In the end the dish tasted very good–the sauce is quite rich and satisfying, and there’s a lot of it. The mix of vegetables with their different colors and textures is also pleasing.
Another note: I had tried to make some homemade paneer for another recipe (from one liter of whole milk), but it didn’t really seem to have the same texture as restaurant paneer, plus I didn’t have enough time to make a second recipe, so I just threw the paneer in the curry at the end. Or what I thought was the end. It turned out I had to simmer the korma for a long time after I added the paneer, and so it just feel apart and helped thicken the sauce. I think one liter of whole milk is about equivalent to 3.5 Tablespoons of butter, plus the extra sweetness from the lactose. No wonder it was tasty!
Other than the problem getting the veggies to soften, I really liked this recipe. I want to try making it again without the paneer and see how the sauce is without the additional richness and sweetness from the cheese.
Update August 2011: I made this again and this time the veggies cooked in the stated amount of time, although the carrots took quite a bit longer than the other veggies. I really need to cut the carrots quite thinly. Derek didn’t like it as much this time, but I still thought it was quite tasty. I doubled the recipe and served it for dinner for five people, along with raita, rice, and chana dal. Almost everything was eaten!