What is in a name? You say kurma and someone else says korma, you say kuzhambu and someone says gravy or soup or curry. This dish is popular and even with the precision of the naming of dishes in India, I have found versions of this recipe under several different names.
Never mind, it is dee-licious. We add a twist by using roasted tomatoes.
Kurma or Korma or Qurma? It appears that Kurma and Korma are just different transliterations of the Hindi word for this dish क़ोरमा. A kurma can be vegetarian or not, but of course here we stick to the vegetarian versions.
A kurma often has a base of cashews ground to a paste, which provide a milky basis almost like cream or yoghurt. Indeed almonds, cream or yoghurt can replace the cashews. It is a soupy dish, often referred to as a gravy in India, and can be used as an accompaniment to dosa, idli, chapati, idiyappam or rice. I also love it as a spicy soup, piled high with green coriander.
The flavour of a kurma is based on a mixture of spices, which can include ground coriander and cumin. In South India, coconut can be added. It will often include garlic, onions, green chillies and tomatoes. Traditionally, it would have been cooked in a pot set over a very low fire, with charcoal on the lid to provide all-round heat, and the vegetables are braised with water and the nut paste, yogurt or cream. A kurma can be mildly spiced or fiery. It can be a homely dish or a dish fit for a royal.
I have seen this dish called a kuzhambu – if you’d like a kuzhambu omit the cashews.
Thakkali/Tomato Kurma with Roasted Tomatoes | Roasted Tomato Kuzhambu
Adapted from: the delicious recipe at Aromatic Cooking – check it out!
Cuisine: From India
Prep time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 30 mins to roast the tomatoes and 15 to cook the kurma
Serves: 2-6 depending how you use it
3 large tomatoes or 6 smaller ones
4 cloves garlic
1 green chilli
1/4 tspn turmeric powder
1 tspn red chilli powder
2 tspn coriander powder
1 tspn black mustard seeds
salt to taste
ghee or oil
2 Tblspn grated coconut (desiccated or frozen is OK)
1 tspn black poppy seeds
1 tspn fennel seeds
chopped green coriander
Heat the oven to 200C.
Take the tomatoes and place in an oiled oven-proof dish. Add the cloves of garlic – no need to peel them. Drizzle some ghee or olive oil over the tomatoes and garlic, and place in the oven. Allow to roast for about 30 minutes until the tomatoes are cooked and slightly charred.
Meanwhile, finely grind the coconut, cashews, poppy seeds and fennel seeds in a grinder or food processor. Add water as necessary to make a paste.
Chop the onions and slit the chilli from the bottom to near the top without cutting the chilli in two.
When the tomatoes are cooked, remove them from the oven. Squeeze the cooked garlic out into a bowl and add the tomatoes. Mash them together well. You can mash, chop or even whiz the tomatoes quickly in a blender.
Heat some ghee or oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds. Allow them to pop, and add the onion, green chilli and curry leaves. Saute for a minute and add the turmeric, chilli powder and coriander powder. Mix thoroughly.
Add the tomatoes, salt and 1.5 cups water and simmer for 5 -10 minutes. Add the ground paste, mix and cook for another 5 minutes. Add more water if required.
Serve with the chopped green coriander.
I have been quite unconventional here, and roasted the tomatoes to accentuate their flavour. I am a lover of roasted garlic, and thus have roasted them too. The result is an extremely flavoursome dish.
You could also roast the green chilli with the tomatoes, and then add it whole to the dish when adding the tomatoes.