Navaratna Kurma (Lite)

Navaratna means nine jewels and this dish is supposed to contain a mix of 9 fruits, vegetables and fried nuts- one of the classic dishes in Indian cuisine. In true Mughlai cuisine fashion, cream and/or cashew nut paste is added to form the gravy. I have seen quite a few variations in the 9 items used by different restaurants. I guess there is no right or wrong in using any vegetables or fruits in this dish. I bring to you the version of this dish recipe that normally gets made in my kitchen, which my family adores.

Why Navaratna kurma(Lite) ?

Typically this is a calorie rich food with cream, butter/ghee, cashews, paneer etc. I wanted to make a healthy version of this dish and it is ‘lite’ version. Its lite as :

1) No cream – used milk instead

2) No paneer – used tofu instead

3) No butter/ghee – used olive oil instead

4) Cashews – substituted with almonds.

5) Avoid potatoes

There is no great difference in terms of taste, definitely worth a try for a healthy version. I have described the recipe below more in keeping inline with the original recipe, though substitute the above things to make it lite. Bon Appetit ! 🙂 Ingredients

Vegetables- any – about 2-3 cups – diced to bite size pieces. (potatoes, carrots, green peas, french beans, cauliflower, bell peppers, cabbage, bottle gourd, cluster beans- anything that works)

Tofu  or paneer – 150 gms – chopped bite sized.

Tomatoes – 2 medium sized or 3 small – blanced and pureed.

Onions – 2 big – chopped.

Ginger – about 1.5 inches long- chopped roughly

Garlic – 4-5 cloves- chopped roughly

Green chillies- 3nos.

Cloves- 5-6

Cinnamon- 2-3 one inch pieces

Bayleaf- 1 Cardamom- 2 pods

Fennel seeds- 1tsp

Milk – 1 cup (use 2% for a rich gravy or fat-free for a thinner gravy)

Coconut milk – 2tbsp (optional).

Cashew nuts or almonds – a handful + 1tbsp

Poppy seeds – 1tsp

Raisins- a handful

Fruits – 1 to 1.5 cups (pineapple, apple, grapes etc)- diced to bite size pieces.

Coriander leaves for decoration

Salt- as per taste

Olive oil- 3-4tbsp

Spice powders

Turmeric Powder – 1tsp

Red chilli powder – 1tsp (adjust this according to the amount of green chillies you are using while grinding- you can omit this if needed.)

Dhania-jeera powder- 1tsp.

Garam Masala Powder – 1tsp ( I use Tandoori Chicken masala powder of the Everest brand -this is a veg.powder, which works better than garam masala powder for me.)


Boil tomatoes till tender. Allow them to cool. Then peel off the tomato skin to make puree. Readymade tomato puree can also be used.

Grind the poppy seeds and the cashew or almonds to a smooth consistency(not chunky) using just enough water and keep aside. If using almonds, soak them in hot water for about 10-15 mins before grinding. This helps to make them soft and you can even peel off the skin if you wish.

Take 1 tbsp oil and slightly fry the dry fruits for about 1 min on medium heat. First fry cashews and keep aside, then raisins -keep aside. Then add the tofu cubes and lighly shallow fry them and keep aside. (if you have already dried fried the tofu, this step is not needed. If using paneer, then you need to do this step.) To the same oil, add the onions and fry till they wilt. Add the chopped ginger, garlic and 1tbsp of cashews pieces to this and roast them well till cooked. Cool this mixture and grind it well to a paste add as little water as possible. 

Heat oil and add the cloves,cinnamon sticks, bayleaf, cardamom and then fennel seeds. Once the aromas oozes out, add the ground onion mixture and saute till the raw smell goes off. Then add the tomato puree and saute for 2 minutes. Add all the spice powders to the tomato mixture and saute well till the raw smell goes away and all the spices are well blended. Add the vegetables now (in the order of which takes longest time to cook to the fastest cooking vegetables) and cook covered till the vegetables are cooked 80%.  Be careful while cooking the vegetables for you have to make sure that the gravy doesn’t stick to the pan/pot. Stir occasionally. Add the ground cashew/almond-poppy seed paste.

Add tofu pieces(or paneer) to the gravy along with coconut milk, if using. Add milk and all the fruits along with the roasted cashews and raisins. Cook on simmer for about 5 minutes. Do not boil or over cook once the coconut milk or cream/milk is added. Reduce the gas to simmer. Serve hot garnished with coriander leaves.

I forgot to take a snap of the dish when I was about to serve this at a potluck party. I managed to get a snap before it got finished off with my mobile though ! 😉

Tips To get a very rich original moghalai navaratna kurma : 1) Add malai or heavy cream instead of milk. Traditionally malai is used. 2 Use ghee instead of olive oil. This enhances the taste many fold 🙂 3) Use paneer instead of tofu. 4) Deep fry the paneer or bake them instead of shallow fry. 5) While serving, add 2 tsp of cream for that irresistible taste.


2 responses to “Navaratna Kurma (Lite)

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