Navratan Korma

Cauliflower, eggplant and green bean korma

(For those who prefer a milder dish)

Serves 4 to 6

Generous half cup cashews

11/2tbs garlic and ginger paste

scant 1 cup water

4tbs ghee, vegetable oil or peanut oil

1 large onion, chopped

5 green cardammon pods, bruised

1 cinnamon stick, broken in half

1/4tsp ground turmeric

generous 1 cup heavy cream

140g new potatoes, scrubbed and chopped into 1cm pieces

140g cauliflower florets

1/2tsp garam masala

140g eggplant, chopped into 2.5cm lengths

140g green beans, chopped into 2.5cm lengths

Salt and pepper

Chopped fresh mint or dhania to garnish

Heat a large, flameproof casserole or skillet with a tight-fitting lid over a high heat. Add the cashews and stir them until they start to brown, then immediately turn them out of the casserole.

Put the nuts in a spice grinder with the garlic and ginger paste, and 1tbs of the water and process to a coarse paste.

Melt half the ghee in the casserole over medium-high heat. Add the onion and saute for about five minutes, until golden brown.

Add the nut paste and stir for five minutes. Stir in the cardammon pods, cinnamon stick and turmeric.

Add the cream and remaining water, and bring to a boil, stirring. Reduce the heat to the lowest level, cover the casserole and simmer for five minutes.

Add the potatoes, cauliflower and garam masala and simmer, covered, for five minutes.

Stir in the eggplant and green beans and continue simmering for five minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender.

Check the sauce occasionally to make sure it isn’t sticking and stir in a little water if necessary.

Taste and add seasoning, if necessary. Sprinkle with the mint or dhania and serve.

* From the Curry Bible by Mridula Baljekar.

Navratan Korma (Nine Jewels Vegetable Curry)

Serves 4

For the sauce:

6tbs sunflower oil

4 large onions, grated and squeezed to remove juice

1tsp ginger paste

1tsp garlic paste

1/2tsp turmeric powder

1tsp chilli powder

1tsp cumin powder

1tsp coriander powder

1tsp garam masala powder

300g tomatoes, chopped

1/2tsp sugar

1/2tsp salt

6tbs double cream

Then:

6tbs carrots, diced

4tbs peas

6tbs potatoes, peeled and diced

6tbs French beans, finely chopped

4tbs flaked almonds

2tbs sultanas

2tbs pistachio nuts, chopped

2tsp glace cherries, chopped

2tbs walnuts, roughly chopped

2tsp coriander leaves, chopped

Heat the oil and add the onions. Fry until golden and add the ginger and garlic pastes. Fry for a minute and add all the powder spices. Stir well.

Stir in the tomatoes and cook until they are pulpy. Add the salt and sugar. Take off the heat and stir in the cream.

In the meantime, simmer all the vegetables until they are cooked, but crisp. Add the vegetables, nuts and fruit to the sauce. Heat gently then serve with a sprinkling of coriander.

Creamy Dumpling Curry

Serves 4

300ml yoghurt

8tbs gram flour

1/2tsp green chilli, finely chopped

1/2tsp turmeric powder

2tsp sugar

Salt

4tbs sunflower oil

2tsp cumin seeds

10 black peppercorns

6 cloves

For the dumplings:

150g gram flour

pinch of bicarb of soda

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1/2tsp cumin seeds

1/2tsp fenugreek seeds

2tsp dried fenugreek leaves

Salt

Sunflower oil for deep frying

For the garnish:

2tbs coriander leaves, chopped

2tbs ghee

1/2tsp chilli powder

Beat the yoghurt with the gram flour, green chilli, turmeric, sugar and salt.

Heat the oil in a heavy pan and add the cumin, peppercorns and cloves.

Give the yoghurt mixture a good stir, ensuring there are no lumps, and add to the pan. Reduce the heat and cook until the consistency resembles that of thick batter and the raw flour aroma is replaced with a fragrant one. Take off the heat.

To make the dumplings, make a thick batter of all the ingredients except the oil, adding water if necessary.

Heat the oil in a heavy pan. When it starts smoking lower the heat and drop in two to three tsps of the batter at a time. Fry until golden, drain and dip into a bowl of water to soften a bit. Remove immediately, squeeze out the water and add to the yoghurt curry. Make all the dumplings in this manner.

To garnish, sprinkle over the coriander leaves. Heat the ghee in a small pan and add the chilli powder. Take off the heat at once and pour over the curry. Do not stir. Serve hot.

Limboo Bhath (Lemon rice)

Serves 4

4tbs sunflower oil

2tsp split gram lentils

10 curry leaves

1tsp cumin seeds

1tsp black mustard seeds

large pinch asafoetida

1tsp green chillies, chopped

1tsp turmeric powder

300g basmati rice, washed and drained

Salt

1tsp citric acid

600 ml hot water

4tbs fresh coconut, grated

Heat the oil in a pan and add the lentils, curry leaves, cumin, mustard and asafoetida. Fry until the seeds pop.

Add the chillies, turmeric and rice and fry until the rice is glossy.

Add salt, citric acid and hot water and bring to boil. Lower the heat, partially cover the pan and simmer until the rice is fluffy and dry.

Serve hot garnished with coconut shavings.

Puli Shaadam (Tamarind rice)

Serves 4

300g ambemohar or any Indian rice

600ml hot water

5tbs sunflower oil

1/2tsp fenugreek seeds

large pinch of asafoetida

4 dried red chillies, de-seeded and crumbled

1tsp coriander seeds

1tsp split black lentils

1tsp split gram lentils

2tsp tamarind pulp, diluted in a little water

Salt

1tsp black mustard seeds

2tbs cashew nuts

10 curry leaves

Boil the rice in water and cook until dry and fluffy.

Heat half the oil in a pan and fry the fenugreek, asafoetida, chillies, coriander seeds and lentils. When the lentils turn gold, grind coarsely in the blender.

Put the tamarind and salt in a pan and add the ground mixture. Cook until the tamarind is thick and the paste is well blended.

Mix the rice and the tamarind paste.

Heat the remaining oil and fry the mustard seeds. When they pop, add the cashew nuts and curry leaves. Fry for a minute and pour over the rice. Serve hot.

* From The Indian Pantry by Monisha Bharadwaj. - The Mercury