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 get ready in under 30 minutes.
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The quick and easy south Indian kurma generally called thakkali kurma makes a great accompaniment for dosa, appe, idli, parotta, 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 acts as a thickening agent and gives` a lightly creamy texture to the tomato curry. As this curry is not so spicy kids are sure to eat their meals without any fuss. This versatile curry pairs well with rice too and makes a great lunchbox option.
Tomato Kurma Recipe Variations
To get an extra creamy texture, add a spoon 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.
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.
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.
You can swap almonds or melon seeds for cashews. However, the texture and taste may be slightly different with melon seeds.
Watch how to make tomato kurma
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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, cardamom, cumin. Poppy seeds, cashews, desiccated coconut are used as a thickening agent and to give a fabulous creamy texture to the gravy.
Dry Spices: I’ve used turmeric, chilli powder and coriander powder.
Grind cashews, desiccated coconut, poppy seeds, cloves, cardamom, cassia, ginger and garlic with little water until smooth.
In a deep bottomed pan, cook 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 done, take the lid off the pan. Mix in coriander.
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 well ripe and juicy tomatoes.
Ensure to keep the heat low when cooking ground masala to prevent it from sticking at the bottom of the pan. If moisture from 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.
If you do not have coriander powder, grind 1.5 tsp coriander along with coconut and poppyseeds.
You can swap fresh coconut for desiccated coconut.
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 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 of the canned products contain salt it. Be aware to use less salt if at all the tins has an added salt.
More side-dish recipes
1 cup = 250ml ; 1 tbsp = 15ml
- 1.5 tbsp Oil
- 1/2 tsp Cumin
- 1 cup (133 gms) Onion 1 large, chopped
- 1.5 cup (272 gms) Tomatoes 2 large, finely chopped
- 1/4 tsp Turmeric
- 1.5 tsp Chilli powder
- 1/2 tsp Coriander powder
- as required Salt
- handful Coriander finely chopped
- 1 cup Water
- 2 tbsp Desiccated Coconut
- 1 tsp Poppy seeds
- 1/2 inch Ginger peeled
- 2 cloves Garlic peeled
- 5-6 Cashews
- 2 Cloves
- 1/2 inch Cassia
- 1 Cardamom
- 3-4 tbsp Water
- In a blender, add desiccated coconut, poppy seeds, garlic, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, cassia, cashews, water and grind it to a smooth paste and keep it aside.
- In a kadai or deep skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat.
- Once the oil is hot, add cumin and let it sizzle for a few seconds.
- Now add onion, saute and cook for 3 minutes or until onion turn soft and translucent.
- 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.
- add tomatoes, increase the heat slightly and cook until tomatoes start to soften.
- Close the kadai with a lid and simmer for 5-8 minutes or until kurma reaches your desired consistency.
- Take the lid off the kadai, mix in coriander.
- Enjoy piping hot tomato kurma with idli, dosa or chapati.
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Do let me know if you make this easy south Indian style tomato curry. I love to get feedback from readers.