Winter is almost over, but we still get lovely fresh vegetables to make this dish. My mother never made vegetable kuruma, but I always remembered the kuruma we enjoyed when visiting relatives. I tried to reproduce what I had eaten before, but I made the mistake of trying to make it like a meat kuruma which was not well received in the family. I eventually figured out the magic technique – do not use curds, mint, strongly flavoured vegetables like knol-khol (kohlrabi), or strongly pigmented vegetables like beetroot.
It’s a popular prejudice against working women that they deprive their families of vegetables in their food because the pre-preparation takes a long time. I created this recipe to make the process simpler and quicker than the traditional kuruma – a pressure cooker is the only utensil used for the entire cooking process; the tempering, frying the masala, and cooking of the vegetables take place in the cooker; because of this the cooking and dishwashing time are shortened; it is served directly from the pressure cooker; and most importantly, because the pressure cooking time is very short (only about 5 minutes), most of the nutrients are not destroyed.
The potatoes, carrots, beans, peas, and cauliflower all provide very little energy and protein, but together provide a whopping amount of carotenoids and a good amount of vitamin C and a fair amount of fibre. The energy in this dish comes from the ghee and oil and the coconut used, which is insignificant considering the serving size.
- 1 small Cauliflower
- ½ C shelled Green Peas
- 2 large Carrots
- ¼ kg French Beans
- 2 large Potatoes
- 1 medium Onion, diced
- 4 Green Chillies, stalks removed
- 1 T Ginger-Garlic Paste
- 3-4 pieces Cinnamon
- 6 Cloves
- 8 Cardamoms
- 1 T Ghee (Clarified Butter)
- 2 T Vegetable Oil
- ½ Lime, juiced
- 2 tsp Salt, or to taste
- ½ C Coconut scrapings
- ½ C Coriander Leaves
- 1 tsp Sombu (Aniseed)
- Leave the cauliflower florets in salted water for five minutes to remove dirt and worms. Clean, rinse, and drain.
- String the beans. Cut into 3cm pieces.
- Pare the potatoes. Chop into 3cm cubes.
- Pare the carrots and cut into long strips.
- Heat the oil and ghee in a medium pressure cooker.
- Add the whole spices. When the cloves begin to swell, add the onion and fry till translucent.
- Add the green chillies and stir twice.
- Add the ginger-garlic paste with 2 tablespoons of water, and stir till a fragrant aroma arises.
- Add the ground masala and stir for a minute.
- Add all the vegetables and 2 cups of water. Stir.
- Pressure cook for 5 minutes.
- Add lime juice before serving with Poori, chappati, Coconut Milk Rice, and Potato Pulav.
- The green peas will change colour when pressure cooked. You can boil some separately and add later to improve the appearance.
- Do not slit the chillies and do not fry the chillies for a long time also. If you do, the seeds will escape into the kuruma, making it spicy hot. Remove the chillies before serving to reduce heat.
- If you do not like ground coconut, add half a cup of thick coconut milk. You can add ground coriander leaves and sombu powder separately.
- Always keep homemade ginger-garlic paste in your refrigerator. Equal amounts of ginger and garlic ground in a mixie or blender without adding water will keep in the refrigerator for almost 10 days.
- Do not pressure cook for more than 5 minutes. If you do, the kuruma will be mushy.