Navratan Korma: Fireworks inside and out!
Around here, fireworks have been popping, for Bonfire Night (which really ought to be known as "Bonfire Week") as well as for the Indian festival of Diwali—the festival of lights. Diwali signifies the renewal of life at the end of harvest season.
What better excuse to eat Indian food? I used to make it often, since my oldest daughter reveres certain dishes as god-like. (She worships at India Palace in Albuquerque, whenever she can.)
Navratan Korma is usually too rich for my simple tastes (and not usually vegan), but why not celebrate? "Navratan" means nine jewels, and is typically made with nine different ingredients. I didn't bother to count, I just used what I had, which is the beauty of the dish. Out of peas? Don't worry, throw in a few extra green beans.
The result was rich and exciting, a perfect accompaniment to the sound of fireworks. I served the korma with basmati rice and red lentil dal. (If you ask nicely, I'll give you that recipe too.)
Later, as I walked down the street to the fireworks celebration in town, I definitely felt renewed. No wonder my daughter calls Navratan Korma "god".
Vegan Navratan Korma
3 tablespoons non-hydrogenated canola
1/3 cup nuts (cashews, almonds, peanuts, are all good.)
1 onion, minced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ginger, minced
1 8-ounce can tomato sauce
1 teaspoon red pepper
1 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 cup vegetable stock or water, plus more as needed
1 cup potatoes, chopped in 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 cup carrots, chopped
1/2 cup bell pepper, any color, chopped
1/2 cup green beans, cut in 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup green peas
1/2 cup soy cream
2 tablespoons soy yoghurt
salt to taste
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in large saute pan or dutch oven. Add nuts, saute a minute or two, being careful not to burn them. Remove from heat and set aside.
In the same pan, heat 2 tablespoons oil. Add onions and cook until soft, then add ginger and garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add tomato sauce and spices—cayenne, turmeric, coriander, and garam masala. Heat through, and add stock or water. Add potatoes, and let cook 10 minutes or so. Then add raisins, carrots, bell pepper, and green beans. Cook another 10 minutes or until potatoes are soft. Add water as necessary to keep mixture from sticking to pan.
Add peas, and cook a few more minutes. Then add soy cream and stir. Just prior to serving, add yoghurt and salt as needed.
Serve with basmati rice.
Notes on ingredients: Garam masala is a spice blend that is available in most specialty markets, health food stores, and many well-stocked supermarkets. Soy cream and soy yoghurt are also available at the same locations. If you prefer, you may parboil potatoes in water 10 minutes prior to adding to pan, as they may take a long time to cook otherwise. Try covering the dish; that may speed cooking also.