Veg Korma (Instant Pot + Stovetop)
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Indian veg Korma is a comforting dish made with tender mixed vegetables in a creamy, rich, and flavorful yogurt sauce. It’s a classic mild curry recipe that’s surprisingly easy to prepare in an Instant Pot or on the stovetop!
I grew up eating South Indian food for the most part, but several North-Indian dishes have long had a place in my heart. Like this egg curry recipe, we often made North Indian-style vegetable korma at home when we had friends and family from out of town visiting.
It’s the kind of comfort food that makes everyone from anywhere want to get together and dig in! That also makes it a popular menu item in Indian restaurants worldwide.
Korma vs. Kurma
Veg Korma is a North-Indian curry where a medley of steamed vegetables is simmered in a creamy, mildly spiced sauce made with cashews and yogurt. It’s similar to kurma, a South-Indian curry dish but there are a few differences.
Kurma (the south-Indian curry) has a creamy coconut milk base. It also includes a variety of mixed veggies, but what makes this dish distinct is the use of tomatoes along with fresh coconut, roasted chana dal, and poppy seeds. There is also no dairy in traditional veg kurma, so it is naturally a vegan recipe.
Both dishes are rich and saucy. But korma is milder while kurma is a bolder curry.
Korma – origin story
Korma – pronounced core-mah – is a classic Indian comfort food dish. The name is a Hindi word that means “braise,” which refers to the cooking method used to make the recipe: Tender veggies are simmered in a rich yogurt sauce with tempered aromatics, so there is great flavor throughout!
The first records of the meal being made date back to the 16th century in what is now referred to as Northern India. It was a delicacy then and served mainly for special occasions. Today it isn’t considered quite so “fancy” as it is easy to make with a handy blender and Instant Pot – but it’s nonetheless an impressive and satisfying recipe.
Alternate names include qorma, and kurma, khorma.
Reasons to love this recipe
So while there are a lot of complex flavors here, the recipe is very simple and straightforward. There is even some prep that can be done ahead of time!
You can make it just as easily in the Instant Pot as you can on the stovetop! With either method, it is ready to serve with rice or Indian flatbreads in under an hour.
- Mild – The dish is flavorful but not very spicy. So it’s kid-friendly and great for anyone sensitive to heat.
- Customizable – Swap ingredients with your favorite mixed vegetables. It’s a good way to use leftover veggies in the pantry
- Vegan – With a few simple swaps the recipe can be made dairy-free and entirely plant-based.
- Instant Pot or Stovetop – Make the dish using whichever method you like. Either way, it’s a straightforward recipe that is ready to enjoy in under one hour!
Here’s what you need to make the recipe
- A medley of colorful vegetables includes potatoes, green beans, green peas, carrots, and cauliflower florets.
- For the gravy, you’ll need oil, onions, Indian or Thai green chillies, ginger, garlic, and unsalted cashew nuts.
For the yogurt base:
- Yogurt – Whole milk yogurt is the best.
- Spice powders such as coriander powder, cumin powder, garam masala
- Salt and sugar
- Oil – any neutral oil works for this recipe. Feel free to swap oil with ghee for a richer taste.
- Whole spices: Whole cloves, cardamom, cinnamon stick, bay leaf, and black peppercorns
- Paneer cubes (optional) – You can skip them, but I love to include cubes of homemade paneer.
There are three tools you need to make this mixed vegetable korma recipe:
- Instant Pot or any electric pressure cooker
- Blender or food processor
Variations to try
This veg korma recipe can be made in many different ways – as a side dish served with rotis / naan or as a runny gravy over rice. Here are a few variations to try –
- To make South Indian veggie kurma – Follow the recipe below but add 1 cup of finely chopped tomatoes after the onions have turned translucent, and cook until the tomatoes have softened. Puree it with the onions along with a tablespoon of roasted chana dal, 1 teaspoon of white poppy seeds, 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder and 1/2 cup of shredded coconut.
- For a vegan version, skip yogurt and replace it with coconut milk.
- For a richer taste, cook with ghee instead of oil.
- To make this curry even more fragrant, add saffron. Soak a pinch of saffron in 2 tablespoons of warm water for about 10 minutes. Add the saffron water to the curry after the veggies have simmered in the sauce.
- The curry thickens as it cools down. If cooking this dish a day in advance, do not discard the reserved water used to cook the veggies. You can use it to dilute the curry.
- Mughlai style korma – Add a tiny drop of kewra essence and serve the dish with a dash of heavy cream.
- Mix up the chopped veggies – you don’t have to stick to the veggies mentioned in the recipe card. You can use any leftover veggies lying in your refrigerator for this delicious gravy.
How to prep ahead
Wash and cut the veggies up to a day or so ahead of time. Store them together in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.
The gravy is also easy to make ahead of time. Whisk the yogurt, spices, and sugar together in a container with a lid. Keep in the fridge for up to two days.
Refrigerator: Leftovers will keep well for 2-3 days. Cool the veg korma at room temperature before transferring it to an air-tight container
Freezer: Because of the creamy gravy, I do not recommend freezing.
Reheat: Reheat in the microwave or over stovetop until heated through.
Serve it with
This creamy vegetable korma recipe goes really well with aromatic Basmati rice and flatbread. Here are a few other Indian recipes that you can pair it with
- Ghee rice – While this lightly spiced-up side dish is typically made for special occasions (entertaining, weddings, etc.), it is easy enough to make every night of the week. This simple ghee rice recipe pairs really well with kormas, dals, and curries.
- Cumin or jeera rice – One whiff of this aromatic, fluffy basmati rice tempered with cumin seeds is enough to get your taste buds tingling.
- Rotis – a whole wheat unleavened bread that is perfect for curries.
- Naan – for a restaurant-style experience, pair it with this recipe for homemade naan bread.
- Parathas – This Indian flatbread with crispy, flaky layers goes really well with most curries including this korma recipe.
Frequently asked questions
It is considered a mild dish and is not spicy. Chilies give the dish a hint of spice, but the bit of sugar and yogurt cool and balance the heat. The flavor, therefore, tends to lean a bit of the sweet side.
This creamy sauce is a delicious combination of pureed onion-cashew gravy and a spiced yogurt blend. Aromatics are tempered in hot oil before combining with the yogurt, so every spoonful is super flavorful.
Browse tons of lentil and bean recipes such as Rajma, Chole, Chowli and a variety of dal recipes that have been simplified so that you can make delicious meals in no time.
Vegetable Korma (Instant Pot + Stovetop)
- 1 medium sized potato diced
- ½ cup green beans
- ½ cup green peas
- ½ cup chopped carrots
- ½ cup chopped cauliflower florets
- 2 cups water
For the gravy
- 2 tablespoons oil (avocado or peanut)
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 1-2 Indian or Thai green chilies (Bird's eye)
- 1- inch ginger grated
- 4 cloves garlic minced
- ¼ cup unsalted cashews
- ½ cup water
- 1 cup yogurt
- 1 teaspoon coriander powder
- ½ teaspoon cumin powder
- ½ teaspoon garam masala
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar optional
- 1 tablespoon oil (avocado or peanut)
- 2 whole cloves
- 1 green cardamom slightly crushed
- 1 black cardamom optional
- 1- inch piece cinnamon stick
- 1 bay leaf
- 3-4 black peppercorns
- 1 cup paneer cubes optional
- Add 2 cups of water to the steel insert of the Instant Pot. Place a trivet over it.
- Add the potatoes, beans, peas, carrots and cauliflower in a steamer basket. Place the steamer basket over the trivet.
- Close the lid and set the vent to sealing position.
- Pressure cook on high for 5 minutes.
- When the cooking cycle is complete, wait for 5 minutes and then release pressure by moving the vent to the venting position.
- Carefully remove the steamer basket and set it aside. Discard the water.
- Give the steel insert a quick rinse and wipe it dry. Put the insert back into the Instant Pot.
Make the gravy
- Press the Saute function in the Instant Pot and set it to “medium” . When the display reads “Hot”, add oil.
- Once the oil heats up, add onions, ginger, garlic, chopped chilies, and cashews.
- Fry the onions till they are translucent and soft (~6-8 minutes). Note: Don't brown the onions – it will impact the color of the gravy.
- Press the cancel button and turn off the Instant Pot.
- Let this mixture cool for at least 5 minutes.
- Once it has cooled down, grind them to a fine puree using 1/2 cup water.
- Whisk yogurt with coriander, cumin powder, garam masala, salt, and sugar. Set it aside.
- Press the Saute function in the Instant Pot and set it to “medium” . When the display reads “Hot”, add oil.
- Once the oil heats up, add cloves, green cardamom, black cardamom, cinnamon stick, bay leaf and peppercorns.
- Fry the spices for about 10-15 seconds, and then add the yogurt with the ground onion-cashew paste. Mix well. Cook for about 6-8 minutes on low heat until the curry starts to bubble.
- Add the cooked vegetables along with paneer cubes and mix well.
- Let the vegetables simmer in the sauce for about 5-6 minutes. Note: If you are serving this dish with rice, you might want this gravy to be a little runny. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup water till the gravy is of desired consistency.
- Serve hot with naan, roti or steamed rice.
Heat a stir-fry pan over medium heat and add oil. Once the oil heats up, add onions, ginger, garlic, chopped chilies, and cashews.
Fry them till the onions are translucent and soft (~6-8 minutes). Note: Don’t brown the onions – it will impact the color of the gravy.
Take it off the heat and let this mixture cool for at least 5 minutes.
Once it has cooled down, grind them to a fine puree using 1/2 cup water.
- Boil water in a saucepan over medium heat. Add potatoes, beans, peas, and carrots to the boiling water. Let them cook for about 5 minutes. Add cauliflower florets and continue to cook for another 5 minutes or until the potatoes are tender.
- Remove the vegetables from the water and set them aside. Reserve the water for later.
Whisk yogurt with coriander, cumin powder, garam masala, salt, and sugar. Set it aside.
Add oil to the same stir fry pan kept over medium heat. Once it heats up, add cloves, green cardamom, black cardamom, cinnamon stick, and peppercorns.
Fry the spices for about 10-15 seconds, and then add the yogurt along with the ground onion-cashew paste. Mix well. Cook for about 6-8 minutes on medium-low heat until the curry starts to bubble.
Add the cooked vegetables and mix well. Let the vegetables simmer in the sauce for about 5-6 minutes. Note: If you are serving this dish with rice, you might want this gravy to be a little runny. Add the reserved liquid from cooking the vegetables to this dish, a few tablespoons at a time till the desired consistency is achieved.
Serve hot with naan, roti or steamed rice.
Disclaimer: Approximate nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and can vary depending on the exact ingredients/brands used. If you have health issues, please work with a registered dietician or nutritionist.