White Veg Kurma ( Hotel Saravana Bhavan style. )

Restaurant style Veg korma is a dish which I prepare very rarely as it is quite rich with addition of coconut and cashew nuts but the taste is to die for and replicating it to a near restaurant style is something I aspire to do every time I set to make this.

Even thought the recipe calls for a generous use of coconut and cashews , I usually skimp on these somehow and yet manage to get the same taste.

As I reduce the richness of the gravy, it is possible to have a bigger helping of the dish unlike hotel types where we are not able to have more.

Iam giving below a recipe which I usually follow and there are a no. of variations of the same dish in many sites , but largely the ingredients remain the same. The use of coconut  quantity, cashews and cream  are left to ones own preferences . Some recipes even go further to enhance the taste by adding fresh cream!

You choose the options.

Now for the recipe.

Ingredients -A


To be ground into paste

½ cup Freshly  grated coconut , only the white parts.
4  Cashews
2 tsp Poppy seeds

2 tsp Split roasted gram dal /pottukadalai
3 small green chilis
2  Cloves
2  Cinnamon sticks
2  Cardamom pods or powder.
1 small piece of ginger and some pods of garlic
1 tsp fennel seeds or powder


3 or 4  small   Onions , chopped finely.
2  slit green chillis  ( optional as we are already grinding chillis with the other ingredients in A.
2 1/2 cups of finely diced or cubed vegetables like carrots, beans, green peas, knol khol .( Kohl rabis), bottle gourd., shredded cabbage and cauliflower florets.
2 tbsp fresh yogurt
 salt to taste
2  Bay leaves
2  Black stone flower  ( Called kalpaasi in Tamil ) this is optional.
¼ tsp Cumin seeds, 1 tsp fennel seeds for tempering.
sprigs of curry leaves for garnishing.
3 tsp Oil


Grind to a fine paste all ingredients given under A

Take a broad pan and with 3 tsp oil , first temper with cumin seeds, bay leaves and stone flower. and some fennel seeds.Saute  the onions till translucent then add the remaining vegetables and 1 cup of water.
Add all the vegetables and cook till tender with little water and salt. This should take around 8 minutes max.

When the vegetables are cooked , add the ground paste and the yogurt which should be whisked to remove the lumps. Let it simmer for a few minutes till the raw smell disappears.
Cook on a low flame as we don't want to curdle the gravy. By now the korma aroma will be felt everywhere.
Garnish with curry leaves and serve hot with chapatis, rotis, parottas, Idiappam or even with rice.

This is the typical recipe for a white korma. Most hotels serve both types , the red ones and the white .
For the red or colored korma you need to add the tomatoes, turmeric and red chilli powder and no need to add the green chillis, yogurt. They add garam masala powder.
Rest of the recipe is the same.

Some recipes also add milk, which I avoid as the korma is already rich and we do not like to have any further additions.

Try both versions.


For those who want to avoid coconut and cashews, you can use coconut milk powder , just a tsp or two is enough to bring the flavors like a fresh coconut, so no need to grind , just add all the ingredients in powder form. Add the coconut milk powder just before taking off from the gas and stir in skim milk powder with little rice flour to thicken.

You can even add skim milk with a tsp of rice flour to thicken the dish as you are not using coconut paste and the gravy may look little runny. 

These are my personal experiments to substitute and enjoy the korma with a reduced fat content.