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tomato kurma in a black bowl on a table.

Tomato Kurma

Tomato Kurma - a tomato-based tangy and mildly spiced curry that goes well with idli, dosa, chapati, parotta, idiyappam. This simple and easy south Indian style kurma get ready in under 30 minutes.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian, South Indian
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 4


1 cup = 250ml ; 1 tablespoon = 15ml

  • 1.5 tablespoon Oil
  • ½ teaspoon Cumin
  • 1 cup (133 gms) Onion 1 large, chopped
  • 1.5 cup (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

To Grind

  • 2 tablespoon Desiccated Coconut
  • 1 teaspoon Poppy seeds
  • ½ inch Ginger peeled
  • 2 cloves Garlic peeled
  • 5-6 Cashews
  • 2 Cloves
  • ½ inch Cassia
  • 1 Cardamom
  • 3-4 tablespoon 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.



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 teaspoon 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. 
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