For Day 2 of BM# 24 from Indian House Restaurant menu, I chose to make the famous Navratan Kurma. To be honest, Navratan kurma is not something I would order at a restaurant because of a dreadful experience I had with this dish in the past. I don’t even remember how long ago this happened, but when I think about Navratan kurma, all I can think of is this really sweet curry with wimpy vegetables and ton of oil floating on top. What really got me was the sweetness that didn’t really wasn’t supposed to be there, so for years I avoided ordering it in the restaurants. I think I was too emotionally moved to even try at home.
So when I saw it on the menu, I thought may be I can make peace with this delicious dish. I found the recipe in 660 Curries where Raghavan Iyer made the dish without the infamous pineapple, but added subtle sweetness in the form of raisins in the gravy. That little bit of raisins in the gravy don’t make the dish overly sweet, but makes you go “What’s in there that gives that sweetness!!!!!!”
Navratna means 9 jewels, so this curry has 9 different vegetables cooked in a tangy, sweet gravy. I used frozen mixed vegetables that had 5 veggies (green peas, corn, green beans, carrot, lima beans), potatoes, cauliflower, green pepper and paneer. Original recipe had potatoes, carrot, green pepper, cauliflower, green peas, green beans, yard long beans, bottle gourd and paneer.
I served the curry with my mom’s famous soft and fluffy pulkas, but any Indian bread would taste fantastic with the curry.
Make the Gravy: Heat 2tsp oil in a saute pan. Add the cloves, cardamom pods, onions, cashews and raisins; cook on medium heat until onions turn translucent. Add the ginger-garlic paste and cook until onions start to brown. Next add the crushed tomatoes, red chili powder, turmeric, garam masala and cook for 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and when the mixture is cool enough to handle, grind into a smooth paste.
Prep the Veggies & Paneer: Microwave or boil the potato and mixed vegetables. Saute paneer in 1tsp oil until golden brown.
Prepare Curry: Rinse and wipe the same pan, heat 1tbsp oil and green/ red pepper, cauliflower and cook until tender. Add the cooked veggies and cook for another minute.
Add the onion masala paste and 1cup of water; bring the mixture to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes.
Finally add the paneer cubes, garam masala and salt. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and serve with rotis or rice.