Green Mung Korma

Payaru Kurma – a South Indian style kurma

Kurma is a very versatile curry that is highly popular all throughout India and just like most curries, varies in taste and addition of ingredients based on the regions. A south Indian version invariably has coconut paste or coconut milk whereas a north Indian version can use either cream or yogurt. The addition of fennel seeds is also quite indigenous to the south, if I am right. A northern version may use soaked cashews whereas in the south we use roasted gram dal/ pottukadalai. They act as a thickening agent and bring the curry together beautifully !

Every region in Tamil Nadu has a kurma recipe, some use tomatoes, some don’t, some use whole garam masala while others make a paste of them along with freshly grated coconut, the variations are, like always, aplenty. Meat is mostly the main component for a kurma but for a culture that consists of many vegetarians it was inevitable that we come up with vegetarian versions!

We ate it with wheat rotis and bell pepper-potato stir fry.

There are many kurma recipes that use whole beans and legumes and are paired with a main dish that is heavy on carbs. Guess it’s a balancing act and also many such legumes are grown in the southern states, which is also a reason why they ended up in the kurma. My aunt makes a Navadhanya kurma (9 bean kurma) to go along with parottas. I haven’t eaten hers in 2 decades but I can still recollect how fragrant and rich her version is! She also makes a mean parotta!

This kurma is inspired by her 9 Bean kurma and my mother’s tomato kurma. You can add as many varieties of beans as you can digest in this recipe. This time I have used just sprouted green mung beans. A powerhouse ingredient that blends well with the flavors. The addition of paneer to this was inspired by another recipe from Spice India Online – I have made that one a couple of times and it was a hit at home.

Recipe : Green Mung Korma

Prep Time for beans : Soak beans overnight;
(Sprout time 10 hours,if needed)
Kurma prep time : 20 minutes
Cook Time : 30 minutes
Ease Level : 😃Spice Level : 🌶🌶
Serves: 4 to 6Tamil Cuisine/Curry

Ingredients :

Check Notes for variations.

  1. Dry Green Mung bean – 1/2 cup
  2. Finely chopped onion – 1/2 cup
  3. Puréed tomato – 3/4 cup
  4. Turmeric powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  5. Cumin seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
  6. Water – as needed
  7. Salt to taste
  8. Ginger paste – 1 teaspoon
  9. Garlic paste – 1 teaspoon
  10. Coconut oil as needed
  11. Cubed Paneer – 1 cup (use tofu for an entirely vegan version)
  12. Powdered jaggery – 1/2 teaspoon (optional)

To make a paste :

  1. Dry/Fresh coconut – 1 tablespoon
  2. Fennel seeds – 1/4 teaspoon
  3. Roasted gram dal – 1 tablespoon
  4. Green chili – 2 (or to taste)
  5. White poppy seeds – 1/2 teaspoon

Soak all these in warm water for 5 minutes.

How to :

Prep the mung beans:
  1. If using dry whole green mung beans, wash them thoroughly and soak them overnight or for at least 8 hours, ideally.
  2. Once they are rehydrated, drain all the water, rinse again well and drain completely.
  3. If choosing to sprout them, add them to a very lightly damp cotton cloth/ cheese cloth, tie them up and place them in a bowl. Place that bowl in a warm place/inside the Instant Pot/inside the turned-off oven for another 8 hours and let them sprout. It takes longer for them sprout in the winters.
  4. Once they are ready, cook them until soft. I placed them in the inner vessel of the Instant Pot, added water just enough for the beans to get immersed in and pressure cooked them on High for 4 minutes.
  5. Prep the curry/kurma base while the beans are cooking.
For the curry/kurma :
  • Heat a saucepan on medium high, add a tablespoon of coconut oil, once oil is hot add the cumin seeds. Let them toast for a few seconds.
  • Next add the onions, a pinch of salt and let them cook until they start to sweat and turn a little translucent.
  • Add the ginger and garlic paste, saite for a few seconds.
  • Then add the tomato puree, turmeric powder and mix well.
  • Cover the pan with a lid and let it cook on medium heat for at least 5 minutes or until the raw smell of the tomatoes and onions is gone.
  • Add 1/4 cup of water if you feel the base to be very thick so as to avoid burning. The consistency of your kurma is completely up to you, thick or soupy.
  • Make a paste of the ingredients listed above under the paste list. Once the onion-tomato base has simmered enough, add this paste and mix well. Let simmer for 2 minutes, covered.
  • Next add in the cooked mung dal and check for salt. Add the powdered jaggery if using.
  • Finally toss in the paneer and simmer for another minute or 2.
  • Remove from heat and serve with roti, rice, quinoa, naan, etc.,.
In Pictures :

Notes :

  • Use any beans/lentils of choice instead of green mung.
  • Sprouted mung beans are easily available in Indian grocery stores if you do not have time to sprout at home.
  • Fry up some green cardamom, cloves, bay leaf along with the cumin seeds if you want an extra oomph in the kurma. Mine is a kid friendly version hence I haven’t.
  • Add fried tofu instead of paneer for a vegan version.
  • Add a splash of coconut milk in place of grated coconut.

As always, make it your own and enjoy! Thank you for stopping by!

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