Posted by: Jonjon | July 19, 2009

Curry – Spicy Vegetable Korma with Chana Dal in a Cashew Coconut Tomato Sauce

Curry – Spicy Vegetable Korma with Chana Dal in a Cashew Coconut Tomato Sauce 7.5/10

July 19 2009

Spicy Vegetable Korma with Chana Dal in a Cashew Coconut Tomato Sauce

2/3 cup of chana dal (or yellow split peas), soaked for at least three hours
2 tablespoons of ghee, or a mixture of butter and oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tomatoes, finely chopped
2 1/4 cups of water
1 large potato, diced
1 large carrot, diced
2/3 cup of peas (fresh or frozen)
1 teaspoon of turmeric
1/4 teaspoon of cayenne
1 1/2 teaspoons of sea salt
handful of dry curry leaves (optional)

For the paste:

1/2 cup of dried coconut
1/4 cup of cashews
1 teaspoon of coriander seeds
1 teaspoons of cumin seeds
3 – 4 whole dried red chilies
2 green chilies, seeded and chopped
1 inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped

For the tadka:

1 teaspoon of black mustard seeds
2 teapoons of urad dal, rinsed
pinch or two of asafoetida
2 – 3 whole dried red chilies

Begin by making the paste. Soak the coconut in 1/2 cup of hot water for 10 – 15 minutes. Drain. Soak the cashews in some warm water for 10 – 15 minutes. Drain. Dry roast the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and dried red chili over medium heat for a few minutes. Transfer the coconut, cashews and roasted seeds to a food processor or blender along with the ginger and green chilies. Process until you have a fairly smooth paste. Add a bit of water if desired.

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. When hot, toss in the onion and stir and fry until it is translucent. Add the tomatoes to the pot and cook for another 5 minutes or until they thicken up and have a sauce-like consistency. Now drain the chana dal and add to the pot along with 2 1/4 cups of water. Simmer for about 10 minutes, or until the chana dal is just tender. Add the carrots, potato and peas (if fresh), turmeric and cayenne. Continue to simmer until the vegetables are tender. You can add more water to achieve your desired consistency.

Now add the ground paste to the pot and the sea salt. Reduce the heat to medium low and cook for another 10 – 15 minutes. If you are using frozen peas, add them, and the curry leaves, to the pan near the end of the cooking time.

To prepare the tadka, heat a few teaspoons of oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. When hot, toss in the mustard seeds, urad dal, dried red chilies and the asafoetida. Stir and fry until the mustard seeds begin to pop and the urad dal turns a reddish colour. Immediately pour into the vegetable pot, stir and cover and let sit for 5 minutes to allow the flavours to blend.

This took a while to make, but ended up being just alright. The sauce itself without the nut paste was like a slightly salty tumeric soup, almost like a light vegetable broth on its own. After adding in the nut paste, what it did was to absorb the liquid at the same time making the soup into a gravy by thickening it and making it gritty. I tried the tadka by itself. The urid dal really did redden as it cooked. It did not have any taste rather than an extreme hard shell and the bitterness from being charcoaled red, and the mustard seeds were fragrant by itself, and added one more layer of taste when mixed into the soup. I saw from some website that you can’t use ghee or butter when preparing the tadka because it will release hydrocarbons that is cancerous, so I just used canola oil.


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