Tomato Kurma - a tomato-based tangy and mildly spiced curry that goes well with south Indian breakfast dishes and paratha. This simple and easy south Indian style kurma gets ready in under 30 minutes. It is a vegan and gluten-free dish.
The quick and easy tomato kurma generally called thakkali kurma makes a great accompaniment for dosa, appe, idli, parotta, appam and idiyappam. This is a stress-free option when you don't have any veggies at home or when you are in no mood to make an elaborate meal for midweek dinner.
Cashews, coconut and poppyseed paste act as a thickening agent and give` a lightly creamy texture to the south Indian tomato curry. As this curry is not so spicy kids are sure to eat their meals without any fuss.
Tomato Kurma Recipe Variations and Substitutions
Coconut cream: To get an extra creamy texture, add a spoonful of cream at the end just before you turn off the heat. For the vegan version, you can add coconut cream or coconut milk.
However, ensure to add just enough to get a thick and creamy texture. Too much cream or coconut milk makes the curry mild and masks the true flavours and aroma of the kurma. If you intend to use coconut milk or coconut cream then reduce desiccated coconut or skip it as too much coconut tends to overpower the gravy with coconut flavour.
Tomato puree: Swap chopped tomatoes with tomato puree. Kurma made with tomato puree will have a lovely smooth texture and it is visually appealing, especially for kids.
Green chillies: Add a couple of green chillies for extra hot kurma. Either grind it along with coconut and other spices or saute it in oil just before onions.
Nuts: You can swap almonds or melon seeds for cashews. However, the texture and taste may be slightly different with melon seeds.
Coconut: Desiccated coconut could be substituted with freshly grated coconut.
Vegetables: This recipe needs basic vegetables that are essential to make most of the Indian curry base - onion, tomato, ginger, garlic, coriander. I've used fresh ginger, garlic and ripe tomatoes. You can use tomato puree and pre-made ginger-garlic paste instead of fresh ones.
Liquids: Like other Indian curries, it needs oil to cook. Sufficient water to get the right consistency of the gravy and a little water to help the grinding process.
Whole Spices: I've used basic pantry spices cassia, cloves, green cardamom, and cumin. Poppy seeds, cashews, and desiccated coconut are used as a thickening agent and to give a fabulous creamy texture to the gravy.
Dry Spices: I've used turmeric powder, chilli powder and coriander powder.
Find the quantities and a short video in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
Grind cashews, desiccated coconut, poppy seeds, cloves, cardamom, cassia, ginger and garlic with little water until smooth.
n a deep-bottomed pan, cook finely chopped onions with cumin.
Add coconut cashew masala paste, dry spices, salt, saute and cook until the raw aroma of masala vanishes and oil starts to separate from the masala.
Now add tomatoes and cook until it starts to soften.
Add water, close the pan with a lid and cook until kurma reaches your desired consistency.
Once the kurma is well cooked, take the lid off the pan. Mix in chopped coriander leaves.
Serve delicious tomato kurma with idli, dosa or parotta.
Add a small pinch of sugar if you feel the tomatoes are too tart, sugar balances the tartness of the curry.
Adjust spices as per your preferred taste.
Use fully ripe juicy tomatoes.
Ensure to keep the heat low when cooking ground masala to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. If moisture from the masala evaporates completely then add a splash of water and continue to cook stirring regularly.
You can use the pre-made ginger-garlic paste instead of grinding fresh ginger and garlic. Cook ginger-garlic paste along with onions.
Whole spices cassia, cloves and cardamom can be sauteed in oil along with cumin instead of grinding.
Curry leaves make a great addition. I couldn't use it as I didn't have it when I shot this recipe video. Generally, I use curry leaves for most of the South Indian style dishes.
I've used a Kashmiri chilli powder that is not so hot but gives a vibrant deep colour to the dish. The curry is not so spicy but just enough for my family. You can add half of Kashmiri chilli powder and half the regular hot variety chilli powder to balance the spice levels and colour of the dish.
If you intend to use tinned tomatoes or tomato puree, ensure to check the ingredients label on the pack as most canned products contain salt. Be aware to use less salt if the tin contain added salt.
Tomato kurma keeps good for 3-4 days in the fridge if stored in an airtight container.
This kurma is the best side dish to serve with south Indian breakfast dishes such as idli, dosa, appam, idiyappam, poori and appe.
On busy weekdays serve it with flavoured pulao dishes such as peas pulao, vegetable pulao and methi pulao along with a bowl of chilled cucumber raita.
It is a perfect dish to pair with curd rice or saffron rice.
Serve it with parotta, chapati, roti or any flatbread.
This versatile tomato korma pairs well with plain rice too and makes a great lunch box option.
More side dish recipes
Bombay Chutney: a vegan, gluten-free side dish made with gram flour.
KnolKhol Curry: a delicious curry made with a tomato-based sauce that makes a delicious accompaniment with roti, paratha or as a side dish with rice.
Drumstick Leaves Curry: This moringa leaves recipe is a typical south Indian style dry curry made with few ingredients and without any oil.
Plain Salna: a delicious street-side dish from Tamil Nadu made with onion, tomato and few basic pantry staples.
📖 Recipe Card
1 Cup = 250ml ; 1 Tablespoon = 15ml ; 1 Teaspoon = 5ml
- 1.5 Tablespoons Oil
- ½ Teaspoon Cumin
- 1 cup (or)133 gms Onion 1 large, chopped
- 1.5 cup (or) 272 gms Tomatoes 2 large, finely chopped
- ¼ Teaspoon Turmeric
- 1.5 Teaspoon Chilli powder
- ½ Teaspoon Coriander powder
- as required Salt
- handful Coriander finely chopped
- 1 cup Water
- 2 Tablespoon Desiccated Coconut
- 1 Teaspoon Poppy seeds
- ½ inch Ginger peeled
- 2 cloves Garlic peeled
- 5-6 Cashews
- 2 Cloves
- ½ inch Cassia / Dalchini
- 1 Green Cardamom
- 3-4 Tablespoon Water adjust to help the grinding process
- In a blender, add desiccated coconut, poppy seeds, garlic, ginger, cloves, cardamom, cassia, cashews, water and grind it to a smooth paste and keep it aside.2 Tablespoon Desiccated Coconut, 1 Teaspoon Poppy seeds, ½ inch Ginger, 2 cloves Garlic, 2 Cloves, ½ inch Cassia / Dalchini, 1 Green Cardamom, 3-4 Tablespoon Water, 5-6 Cashews
- In a kadai or deep skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.1.5 Tablespoons Oil
- Once the oil is hot, add cumin and let it sizzle for a few seconds.½ Teaspoon Cumin
- Now add onion, saute and cook for 3 minutes or until onion turn soft and translucent.1 cup (or)133 gms Onion
- Reduce the heat slightly and add the coconut-cashew paste, turmeric, red chilli powder, coriander powder, salt. Saute well and cook for 2-3 minutes just until the raw aroma of the masala vanishes.¼ Teaspoon Turmeric, 1.5 Teaspoon Chilli powder, ½ Teaspoon Coriander powder, as required Salt
- add tomatoes, increase the heat slightly and cook until tomatoes start to soften.1.5 cup (or) 272 gms Tomatoes
- Add water and close the kadai with a lid and simmer for 5-8 minutes or until kurma reaches your desired consistency.1 cup Water
- Take the lid off the kadai, mix in coriander.handful Coriander
- Enjoy piping hot tomato kurma with idli, dosa or chapati.
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