Creamy Coconut Vegetable Korma Recipe

By Abi and Sadhbh of The Sustainable Food Story

At The Sustainable Food Story, we hate food waste and we love vegetables. This often means we take home odds and ends and handfuls of random vegetables after catering jobs, or Sadhbh might have ends of spice jars from teaching cooking class. This time of year, we are inundated with marrows (ballooning courgettes from the farm Abi manages). Of course, there are an infinite number of dishes that can be made with these, but this week we were inspired to make a creamy coconut korma. 


We recently had our college friend, Jamee, from Ohio, visit us in London. She found herself innately drawn to Indian restaurants when we were choosing where to eat out. She was seeking an authentic British Indian curry - a meal she misses from our student days in Scotland. While studying at St. Andrews, we used to get the occasional korma, as a post-paper-hand-in treat, from Maisha, the South Asian restaurant down a quaint cobbled street near the library. In London, we relived the experience by visiting Dishoom and eateries on the iconic Drummond street. We were reminded why curry is the United Kingdom’s favorite meal, and often referred to as the “adopted national dish” of the United Kingdom. 

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Eating out always inspires us to try a new recipe or make a dish we haven’t made in a while. Although korma can be made with ghee, yogurt or cream, these ingredients aren’t necessary for the signature indulgent creaminess. Using ground nuts, some red lentils and coconut cream bring a texture and richness that perfectly complements the crunchy vegetables and sweet, mild spices. 


Korma has its origins in Mughlai cuisine, from the Indo-Persian culture of the Mughal Empire, and is a staple in the average United Kingdom household or curry house.



Contains nuts, but they can be omitted. Vegan and gluten-free

Serves 4

Take 10 mins to prep, 30 mins to cook 


  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or sunflower/vegetable oil

  • 1-2 onions, chopped

  • 2-inch piece of peeled, grated ginger

  • 6 peeled, grated garlic cloves

  • Medium chili, diced finely, if desired

  • 4-6 new potatoes, chopped into bite size pieces, or 2 chopped medium potatoes

  • 4 cups mixed chopped seasonal vegetables - a mixture of a couple of the following works well: carrot, sweet potato or squash cut into batons, cauliflower or broccoli florets, French beans, mange tout, sliced fried mushrooms, courgettes, peppers, fresh or frozen corn or peas. 

  • 1 cup red lentils

  • Optional can of tomato paste, or a tin of tomatoes

  • 1 tbsp curry powder

  • 1 tbsp garam masala

  • Extra 1-2 tsp of cumin, coriander, turmeric and ground cardamom, depending on how much you like to really taste the spices

  • 1–2 tsp sea salt

  • 1/2 tsp each: ground cloves, fennel, fenugreek and chili flakes

  • 1 can of either coconut milk, condensed coconut cream or pack of creamed coconut

  • 1/2 cup ground almonds or ground cashews

  • Optional handful of raisins or sultanas

  • 1 tbsp lemon juice or tamarind if you prefer

  • 60g-90g rice per person, so 240g-360g for this recipe for 4


  1. In a medium sized pot, heat oil over a medium heat. 

  2. Sauté onions for 5-10 minutes, before adding garlic, ginger, chili if desired, mushrooms and spices and cooking for a further 2 minutes. Adding the mushrooms at this stage gives them a change to shrink and get some browning on the surface, to add to their umami effect in the dish. 

  3. Add chopped carrots and/or squash and/or sweet potatoes, and potatoes, red lentils and 3-4 cups of water. Bring up to a boil, and allow to simmer for 10 minutes in order to soften root vegetables. 

  4. Add the rest of the vegetables (if using mange tout, green beans, frozen peas or spinach, add 1 minute before ready to serve), and add more water if it’s getting too dry and pan is getting sticky. 

  5. Add tomato paste and stir well before adding coconut milk, ground nuts, lemon juice and another cup or 2 of water. 

  6. Simmer for a few more minutes to allow the nuts to soften into the mixture. 

  7. Serve with brown rice or quinoa, or a grain of your choice, or accompanied by naan bread or chapatis. Top with fresh cilantro/coriander leaves.