Saturday, February 21, 2009

Cashew-Coconut Korma--Healthy Indian Food

I took the best cooking class last weekend through the Kapiolani Community College Culinary Arts Program, an Indian food class with a healthy vegetarian twist. Our instructor, Chef Alyssa Moreau, is a private chef who works with clients who are trying to eat better and change their diet, generally for health reasons. She took some typical Indian favorites, Samosas, Palak Paneer and my favorite, this delicious Cashew-Coconut Korma and made them healthier. Her korma, uses a base of coconut milk and cashew "milk" for a creamy, flavorful sauce and you absolutely won't miss the dairy or cream.

Cashew-Coconut Korma
Chef Alyssa Moreau

1 cup water
1 cup coconut milk (lite is fine)
1/3 cup cashews
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
2 tsp fresh garlic, minced
2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp (rounded), cardamon
1/2 tsp salt

1 Tbsp oil (or ghee if preferred)
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 tsp garlic, minced
1/2 cup green beans, in 1" slices
1/2 cup carrots, in 1/4" slices
1/2 cup Yukon gold potatoes, in 1" cubes
1/2 cup cauliflower florets in 1 1/2" slices
1/2 cup tomato chunks (optional)

1/2 tsp garam masala
2 Tbsp cilantro, minced

Blend the water, cashews, coconut milk and spices until smooth and creamy (about 1 minute or so), strain through a fine mesh strainer into a bowl; set aside.

Heat oil in saucepan and cook onions until soft. Add in garlic, the rest of the vegetables and sauce. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until vegetables are cooked through. (If it gets too thick, add in 1/4 cup water). Stir in garam masala and garnish with cilantro.

Options: Add 1 can garbanzo beans or some baked, seasoned tofu for some extra protein.

Notes/Results: The combination of flavors and spices is a winner. It's a nice, mild, creamy curry and I am already craving it again. It goes together easily, although our veggies took closer to 30 minutes to get cooked through, and I did need to add the extra water to keep it the right consistency. Have plenty of rice and or flat bread available for the delicious sauce. This recipe is a keeper for me. Kormas are usually a milder, less spicy curry but you can add some cayenne pepper or chilis if you want more "heat". You can also change out the veggies to whatever you like or have on hand. If you really want the meat, you could add some lean chicken to it, but it doesn't need it at all. I'm going to add the chickpeas the next time I make it, which will be soon!


  1. Mmmm, my daugher would love this for vegan night! Gotta stock up on some cashews - they are so yummy.

  2. This looks wonderful! I am addicted to using homemade cashew "milk" in recipes.

  3. what a great class and recipe! love cashews, wonder if they sell cashew milk around here...

  4. Natashya--Cashews are great and they work really well for this.

    Alisa--I made cheese once with cashew milk and pine nuts but I think I need to start doing it more.

    Kat--If you can find the raw cashews, you just throw them in the blender with the water and coconut milk and you have it!

  5. food processor? otherwise I'll have to get me a blender :( thanks for the instructions!!

  6. Kat--yep, food processor works fine too--that's actually what we used in class. I usually just use my blender because it sits on my counter and my processor is in the cupboard. (limited counter space!)

  7. Looks great - what a super class. I have a soup for you too.

  8. Oh, I want to take a cooking class! The flavors in this sound perfect, love the combinations.

  9. This looks absolutely great. I so rarely use nuts in my cooking because they are expensive but I have to keep reminding myself that if I just get a big bag, they will pay for themselves in the end. Coconut-infused savory meals are the best, thanks for the recipe.

  10. Love Indian Food this looks great can't wait.

  11. What an amazing sounding dish! I love it :) Isn't it funny how once you have curry after not having it for a while you are craving it for days? I'm going to have to try this one, yum! Chickpeas sound like a great addition.

  12. This looks really good, and I fall quickly in line behind the enthusiasm over "cashew milk." I'm glad you had a good experience at Kapiolani; I'm planning to enroll for the first time in a couple half-day cooking classes there. Thanks for sharing this!

  13. This is wonderful. I'm fasting for Lent, no meat, eggs, dairy so I will make this dish, for sure.


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