March 27, 2007
Vegetable stew or kurma is an easy way to use up all the loose veggies languishing in your crisper and surreptitiously makes up the vegetable requirement in my family's meals. There are two kinds of vegetable stew. One that we make without any spice powders, getting its flavor from just green chilies, pepper and whole spices. That is off white in color and delicate in flavor best eaten straight off the flame with a spongy appam or puttu. Traditionally this is made with just potatoes and onions.
The other stew or ishtoo is a spicier version of the same, with an assortment of vegetables using coriander, turmeric and chili powders to give a depth of flavor and spice. My mother, being a purist would make the potato ishtoo over the vegetable stew, preferring the blend of coconut milk and potatoes to the myriad flavors of the vegetables. I prefer the spiciness to compliment the blandness of the puttu and to get vegetables in at one go. The choice of vegetables are usually potatoes, carrots, peas and beans, but you can also try with cauliflower, kovakka, ash gourd etc.
Now kurma is a similar in recipe to the stew except that I understand it uses ground coconut and not coconut milk. Being partial to the silken texture of the coconut milk and the vegetables suspended in it, this is my version of the kurma. Call it a veg stew or kurma, it goes well with any kind of flat bread.
You will need: For 4 servings
Onions- 1 small one
Green chilies – 4-6
Peas- 1/2 cup
Cauliflower-1/2 cup of florets
Carrots-1 whole one
Tomatoes-1 small plum one
Garlic – 2 cloves (1 tsp)
Ginger- 1/2 inch piece (1 tbsp)
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder- 1 1/2 tsp
Black Pepper Powder- 1/2 tsp
Whole spices: 1”long Cinnamon stick, 3 cloves, 2 cardamom
Coconut milk- 1 1/2 cup
Curry leaves- a small sprig
Salt to taste
1. Wash and cut the vegetables into even sized strips or cubes. Slice the onions and green chilies. Grind the ginger and garlic into a fine paste. Grind the coconut and extract the second and first milk or use the coconut milk powder and prepare 1 ½ cup of coconut milk.
2. Heat the oil in a large shallow pan, add the whole spices and curry leaves. Saute till the fragrance fills the air and then add onions and chilies.
3. Fry onions till just slightly transparent and immediately add the ground paste and fry it well. Keep stirring and add the spice powders and a tablespoon of water to avoid the spices from getting burnt. Cook this for a couple of minutes or so. The coriander has to be really cooked at this stage or gives a raw taste in the curry. Then add the potatoes, tomatoes and continue stirring. Add 1 cup of water (or the second milk of the coconut) and the rest of the vegetables and salt. Cover and cook till the vegetables are done. (10-12 minutes) Keep checking and add 1/2 cup more water if all the water has evaporated.
4. Add the thick coconut milk. Allow it to simmer (but not boil) just for a couple more minutes and then switch of the flame. Adjust salt and seasoning.
Serve hot with pathiri, appam, puttu or just paratha.
Related Links: Kerala Kitchen's Korma is the traditional version with ground coconut. Vegetable Korma
Shown here are Kallappams, which I started making following Annita's recipe and I am in love with them. Appams are what I grew up with but now kallappams are a hot favorite in my house.
Just follow Annita's recipe for Kallappam. It is too good and easy to make in larger quantities than appams.