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  • Navratan Korma

    YIELD: 10 CUPS / 2.4 L
    TOOLS: You’ll need a 6-quart / 6-L stockpot; a large bowl filled with ice water; a food processor; a small mixing bowl; a spice grinder or mortar and pestle; a heavy-bottomed, 6-quart / 6-L sauté pan; and a blender or an immersion blender.
    VEGANIZE IT! Substitute Baked Tofu or pan-fried tofu for the Paneer and omit the heavy cream. This dish gets plenty of creaminess from the cashews alone.

    Navratan means “nine jewels,” and in this creamy curry, it refers to the recipe’s various vegetables and dried fruit. This dish has roots in the imperial kitchens of the Mughal Empire, and is at once regal, decadent, and hearty.

    • 8 cups /1.2 kg fresh cauliflower florets, sliced carrots, green beans, sliced zucchini, cubed potato, red bell pepper; and frozen peas, corn, edamame
    • Water, to cover
    • 1 small yellow or red onion, chopped
    • 1 (2-inch / 5-cm) piece ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
    • 10 cloves garlic, peeled
    • 1 teaspoon cardamom seeds
    • 20 whole cloves
    • 3 tablespoons /45 mL ghee or vegetable oil
    • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
    • 1 cup / 140 g raw cashews, soaked overnight in water and drained*
    • 2 cups /470 mL water
    • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
    • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
    • 1 teaspoon Garam Masala
    • 1 teaspoon red chile powder or cayenne pepper
    • 1 tablespoon salt
    • ½ cup /80 g golden raisins or any dried fruit
    • 7 ounces /200 g Paneer, cubed and baked or pan-fried (will yield 2 cups / 470 mL)
    • ½ cup /120 mL half & half or heavy cream
    • Brown or white basmati rice, Roti, or Naan, for serving
    1. Cover the cauliflower, carrots, green beans, zucchini, and potato with the water in a 6-quart / 6-L stockpot over medium–high heat and bring to a boil. Cook at a steady boil for 4 minutes. Remove from the heat. If using bell peppers, add them in Step 10 to prevent overcooking.
    2. Immediately remove the vegetables from the water and transfer them to a large bowl filled with ice water. Set aside. The ice bath halts the cooking process, keeping the veggies al dente. You can skip Steps 1 and 2 and add the veggies directly to the curry, but I find that it helps to take the time to blanch them. Otherwise, you’ll have to cook them later, and if so, the curry will likely get too thick.
    3. In the bowl of a food processor, grind the onion, ginger, and garlic into a watery paste. Transfer to a small mixing bowl and set aside.
    4. Using a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle, grind the cardamom and cloves into a powder.
    5. In a heavy-bottomed, 6-quart / 6-L sauté pan over medium–high heat, warm the ghee. Add the cardamom–clove powder and cook for 40 seconds, until it sizzles. Be careful not to burn the powder.
    6. Add the paste from Step 3 to the sauté pan. Be careful, as it may splatter as it goes into the hot oil. Cook, stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan constantly, for 2 minutes, until slightly browned. I sometimes add 1 tablespoon of oil at this point to help pull the ingredients together.
    7. Reduce the heat to medium and add the tomatoes and cashews to the sauté pan. Simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally to avoid sticking, for 5 minutes. Add the 2 cups / 470 mL of water and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
    8. When finished cooking, transfer the mixture to a blender or use an immersion blender in the sauté pan and process on high for 1 to 2 minutes. This last step really pulls the curry together.
    9. Return the curry to the sauté pan before placing it over the heat. Keeping it off the heat will prevent splatter. Place the sauté pan over medium–low heat and add the turmeric, coriander, Garam Masala, red chile powder, and salt. Stir well. Add the blanched vegetables from Steps 1 and 2 and the raisins and stir again. Simmer, uncovered and stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
    10. Add the frozen vegetables and bell pepper to the sauté pan and cook for 3 minutes. If the sauce becomes too thick, add a tiny bit of water to loosen it up. Fold the Paneer and half & half into the mixture and cook for 1 minute. Remove from the heat.
    11. Transfer to a serving bowl and serve immediately over the brown or white basmati rice or with the Roti or Naan.

    *Cashews are always creamier if soaked overnight. No worries if you can’t, however. Just soak them in warm water while you prep the remainder of the ingredients.

Indian For Everyone by Anupy Singla. Copyright © 2014 Anupy Singla. Published by Agate Publishing. All rights reserved.

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