Navratan Korma is the perfect dish to empty your fridge, freezer, and pantry! It’s a melting pot of ingredients you never thought would fit so well together.

But they do! Navratan Korma is delicious all around, one of our favorite curries to date, and excellent for a family dinner and meal prep.

Here, we simplify the original Indian recipe for you so you can make it in your kitchen with little effort.

Navratan korma with peas, cauliflower and tofu in a bowl

Dietary Note: this recipe is suitable for a vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free diet.

Don’t have time to read the full blog post? JUMP TO RECIPE HERE!

What is Navratan Korma?

Navratan korma on a white plate with a silver spoon

Navratan Korma is a thick, rich, creamy vegetable korma.

Make with your favorite veggies, aromatic spices, nutty cashews, and a choice of coconut milk, yogurt, or heavy cream, similar to our Tofu Tikka Masala or Vegan Butter Chicken.

The recipe will remind you of our creamy potato curry and tofu curry but with more vegetables.

Navratan means “nine gems” in Sanskrit, and this delicious dish uses nine vegetables to create a perfectly balanced symphony of colors, textures, and flavors.

That’s why we love making Navratan korma, especially when we want to empty our freezer and fridge.

Navratan korma with cauliflower and fresh cilantro

You can use your leftover veggies like frozen peas hiding at the back of your freezer, cauliflower florets lost in the bottom drawer of your fridge, wrinkly potatoes, and that halved bell pepper hiding behind the pickles jar.

Navratan Korma should be slightly sweet, so we add raisins for natural sweetness. Traditionally, cashews and almonds are also added.

Indian cooking is a beautiful tapestry of colors, flavors, and textures, and we adore it in all its oozy deliciousness.

However, 1) since we eat what we cook here daily, 2) we want you to succeed in the kitchen and 3) feel great after eating our recipes; we decided to keep our Navratan Korma as simple and healthy as possible without compromising taste and texture.

Navratan korma on a plate

Like in all our creamy and easy curries and other Indian vegetarian recipes, you won’t find ghee, butter, or paneer in the ingredients list.

We opt for heart-healthy olive or avocado oil for fat and firm tofu for the protein. They are both excellent in Indian cooking, although not traditional.

Also, we list some spices as optional because they are not pantry staples and can be hard to find.

Finally, we want you to have fun making this recipe, so feel free to improvise a little, and don’t worry if you are missing a vegetable or some spices.

The dish will still be a success because you made it!

Ingredients & Substitutions for Navratan Korma

ingredients for Navratan Korma

Quantities are in the recipe box at the bottom of the page.

Oil

We recommend a light olive oil or avocado oil.

Ghee or butter is more traditional in Indian cooking but rich in saturated fats, so we prefer to avoid them if we can.

Flavor Base (Masala)

A flavor base is a mixture of spices and other aromatic ingredients. For Navratan Korma, we recommend blending the flavor base to make the dish velvety smooth. You’ll need:

  • Onion: white or yellow onion.
  • Ginger: fresh, peeled.
  • Ground cumin
  • Turmeric powder
  • Ground coriander
  • Red pepper flakes: substitute a fresh green or red chili. Adjust the amount of chili based on your heat tolerance.

We don’t recommend adding garlic or tomato to Navratan Korma as the dish should have a milder, sweeter, less acidic, and less pungent taste. Sometimes, other spices, such as cloves, cardamoms, cumin seeds, and cinnamon, can be added to the spice blend, but we don’t do that here.

Vegetables

Feel free to swap and mix the vegetables based on what you have. You can use fresh or frozen vegetables. We use:

  • Potatoes: always use potatoes for Navratan Korma because they add creaminess to the gravy.
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower: substitute broccoli.
  • Red bell pepper: substitute any other color bell pepper.
  • Frozen peas: substitute green beans, snap peas, or edamame beans.

Coconut milk

We use coconut milk or light-coconut milk as a non-dairy alternative to yogurt or heavy cream. Coconut milk is used in southern Indian cooking, and it’s delicious in this recipe.

Substitute half plain yogurt and half cashew or heavy cream for coconut milk.

Protein Mix

  • Tofu: firm or extra firm. It is not traditional in Indian cooking but nonetheless excellent in this dish. Substitute paneer (an Indian cheese) for tofu for a more conventional Navratan Korma.
  • Cashews: substitute almonds for cashews or use both.
  • Raisins: for a hint of natural sweetness. Substitute 2 teaspoons of sugar and 1/2 cup of diced pineapple or mango for raisins, but stir them in at the end, shortly before serving the dish.
  • Garam masala: that’s an aromatic mix of spices. Substitute curry powder for garam masala.

Salt & Black Pepper

We recommend sea salt or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Serves well with

  • Fresh cilantro.
  • Lemon juice or pomegranate seeds.
  • Basmati rice, roti, chapati, or naan bread.

Optional Ingredients

  • Asafoetida or Hing: a traditional Indian flavor and umami enhancer; hard to find in Western supermarkets but easy to find online. Asafoetida has a funky smell and intense taste; you only need a pinch in each recipe.
  • Dried Fenugreek Leaves or Kasuri Methi: a traditional Indian herb, also hard to find in Western supermarkets but easy to find online. It’s an aroma enhancer, used similarly to how Italians use dried oregano in their sauces.
Navratan korma with white rice, lemon and fresh cilantro

How to Make Navratan Korma

US cups + grams measurements in the recipe box at the bottom of the page.

Chop the vegetables

Peel and chop potatoes and carrots into small bite-size pieces.

Chop the bell pepper into small bite-size pieces.

Cut the cauliflower into small florets. Prep the frozen peas in a small bowl and keep them at room temperature so they thaw while you cook.

chopped vegetables in white bowls and green peas

Make the flavor base

To a blender, add coarsely chopped onion, peeled ginger, ground cumin, turmeric powder, ground coriander, and red pepper flakes.

onion, ginger, and spices in a blender

Blend into a paste.

blended spice mix in a blender with hand holding a spoon

Heat the olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the spice paste and sauté on medium-low heat for 5 full minutes, stirring often.

Add 2 to 4 tablespoons of water to prevent the paste from sticking to the pan.

yellow spice mix in a blue casserole with hand holding a wooden spoon

Simmer the vegetables

Add the diced potatoes, carrots, bell peppers, and cauliflower, and season with salt and black pepper.

chopped vegetables in a blue casserole

Stir for about a minute to combine the veggies with the spice mix.

chopped vegetables with turmeric and spices in a blue pot and hand holding a spoon

Add water and coconut milk, cover with the lid cracked open, and simmer on medium heat for about 20 minutes or until the vegetables are fork-tender.

Tip: It’s okay if the potatoes overcook slightly so the starch leaches into the sauce, making it extra creamy.

vegetables, coconut milk and a wooden spoon in a blue pot

Prep the protein mix

Do this while the Korma simmers. Drain your firm or extra firm tofu, pat it dry with kitchen towels and cut it into small bite-size dice.

chopped tofu cubes on a cutting board with a knife

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet (best if non-stick). Add diced tofu and salt, and sauté for 5 minutes, turning the tofu around often so that it browns on all sides.

Add cashews, raisins, garam masala, asafoetida (optional), and fenugreek leaves (optional), and cook for 2 more minutes or until the nuts are golden.

tofu, spices, and nuts in a blue skillet with a spatula

Finish the Navratan Korma

When the Korma is almost done and slightly thinner than you’d like, stir in the protein mix and the defrosted frozen peas.

Tip: Don’t let the gravy cook too much; it’ll get too thick once you add the protein. Also, remember that as coconut milk cools down, it thickens. If it gets too thick, add some boiling water.

fried tofu cubes added to a curry in a blue casserole

Finish cooking for a couple more minutes or until you reach your desired consistency, then taste and adjust for salt and spices.

Let the Navratan Korma sit for 3-5 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld.

tofu cubes, vegetables, and a wooden spoon stirring the mix

Serving Suggestions

Navratan Korma is a fulfilling main course as it contains plenty of vegetables, protein, and healthy fats (if you make it with olive oil and coconut milk – not ghee, butter, and cream).

We recommend topping it with fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lemon juice or a tablespoon of pomegranate seeds.

Navratan korma on a white plate with a silver spoon

Pair it with basmati rice, naan, roti, or chapati.

Navratan korma with cauliflower and fresh cilantro

Tip

Cook the flavor base well before adding the other ingredients

Ensure the flavor base is fully cooked so the dish won’t taste of raw onion. In our experience, you’ll need the onion and spice paste to cook for 5 full minutes.

Cut the veggies into small bite-size pieces of similar size

Small pieces allow for faster cooking.

Storage & Make Ahead

Make ahead: Navratan Korma is an excellent recipe for meal prep as it keeps well for days, and its flavor improves the next day.

Refrigerator: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Freezer: Let the Korma cool down completely, transfer it to a freezer-friendly container, and freeze it for up to 3 months.

Thaw & Reheat: Defrost in the fridge over several hours. Stored Korma will thicken up, so you must add a few tablespoons of water when you reheat it. Reheat in the microwave for 2 minutes or in a saucepan on the stovetop for 5 minutes.

More Indian Recipes

More Tofu Recipes

Navratan korma with basmati rice and fresh cilantro
By: Nico Pallotta
5 from 3 votes
Navratan Korma is the perfect dish to empty your fridge, freezer, and pantry! It’s a melting pot of ingredients you never thought would fit so well together.
But they do! Navratan Korma is delicious all around, one of our favorite curries to date, and excellent for a family dinner and meal prep.
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian

Ingredients

FLAVOR BASE (MASALA)

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or avocado oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes or more to taste

VEGETABLES

  • 2 medium potatoes cut into ½ inch or 1.3 cm dice, 2 cups/300 grams
  • 2 medium carrots cut into ½ inch or 1.3 cm dice, 1 cup/130 grams
  • ½ red bell pepper cut into ½ inch or 1.3 cm dice, ¾ cup/100 grams
  • ½ small cauliflower cut into florets, 2 cups/200 grams
  • cup green peas frozen, 55 grams
  • 1 can coconut milk 14 ounces/400 grams + ½ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt + 2 twists black pepper

PROTEIN MIX

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 ounces firm tofu cut into ½ inch or 1.3 cm dice, 250 grams
  • 16 cashew nuts or 8 almonds + 8 cashews
  • 1 tablespoon golden raisins
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala substitute curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves (Kasuri Methi) + 1 pinch asafoetida (hing) both OPTIONAL

GARNISH

  • 1 sprinkle fresh cilantro chopped
  • 1 squeeze lemon juice or 1 tablespoon pomegranate seeds

Instructions 

MAKE THE FLAVOR BASE

  • To a blender, add 1 medium onion, 1 inch ginger, 1 teaspoon ground coriander, ½ teaspoon ground cumin, ½ teaspoon ground turmeric, and ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes.
    Blend well until a paste forms.
    blended spice mix in a blender with hand holding a spoon
  • Heat the 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven. Add the spice paste and sauté on medium heat for 5 minutes.
    Stir often and add 2 to 4 tablespoons of water if necessary to prevent the spice paste from sticking.
    yellow spice mix in a blue casserole with hand holding a wooden spoon

ADD THE VEGGIES

  • Add 2 medium potatoes, 2 medium carrots, ½ red bell pepper (all cut into ½ inch or 1.3 cm dice), and ½ small cauliflower (cut into small florets).
    Season with 1 teaspoon salt and 2 twists black pepper and stir to combine the veggies with the spice paste.
    chopped vegetables in a blue casserole
  • Add 1 can coconut milk, 1/2 cup water, cover partially with a lid, and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the veggies are fork-tender.
    chopped vegetables with turmeric and spices in a blue pot and hand holding a spoon

PREP THE PROTEIN MIX

  • In the meantime, pat dry 8 ounces firm tofu and cut it into ½ inch or 1.3 cm dice.
    chopped tofu cubes on a cutting board with a knife
  • Add the diced tofu to a non-stick pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil, season with 2 pinches of salt, and sauté for 5 minutes turning the cubes around often so that they brown on all sides.
    Add 16 cashew nuts, 1 tablespoon golden raisins, 1 teaspoon garam masala, and OPTIONALLY 1 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves and 1 pinch of asafoetida.
    Sauté 2 more minutes until the nuts are toasted.
    tofu, spices, and nuts in a blue skillet with a spatula
  • When the Korma is almost done and slightly thinner than you’d like, stir in the protein mix and ⅓ cup green peas.
    fried tofu cubes added to a curry in a blue casserole
  • Finish cooking for a couple more minutes or until you reach your desired consistency, then taste and adjust for salt and spices.
    Let the Navratan Korma sit for 3-5 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld.
    tofu cubes, vegetables, and a wooden spoon stirring the mix

MAKE IT A MEAL

  • Serve Navratan Korma with basmati rice, naan, or roti. Top each portion with 1 sprinkle fresh cilantro and 1 squeeze lemon juice or a small handful pomegranate seeds.
    Navratan korma with cauliflower, rice, and tofu cubes

Notes

Nutrition information is an estimate for 1 serving out of four with light coconut milk and without rice or bread.
STORAGE & MAKE AHEAD
Make ahead: Navratan Korma is an excellent recipe for meal prep as it keeps well for days, and its flavor improves the next day.
Refrigerator: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
Freezer: Let the Korma cool down completely, transfer it to a freezer-friendly container, and freeze it for up to 3 months.
Thaw & Reheat: Defrost in the fridge over several hours. Stored Korma will thicken up, so you must add a few tablespoons of water when you reheat it. Reheat in the microwave for 2 minutes or in a saucepan on the stovetop for 5 minutes.
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Nutrition

Calories: 393kcal, Carbohydrates: 36g, Protein: 13g, Fat: 23g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g, Monounsaturated Fat: 10g, Trans Fat: 0g, Cholesterol: 0mg, Potassium: 792mg, Dietary Fiber: 7g, Sugar: 9g, Vitamin A: 6377IU, Vitamin B6: 1mg, Vitamin C: 81mg, Vitamin E: 2mg, Vitamin K: 28µg, Calcium: 132mg, Folate: 75µg, Iron: 3mg, Manganese: 1mg, Magnesium: 62mg, Zinc: 1mg
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Nico and Louise in the kitchen

Hi! We are Nico & Louise

Welcome to The Plant-Based School, a food blog with easy, tasty, and wholesome recipes.

Our aim is to help you and your family eat more veggies through delicious recipes with simple ingredients.

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