A rich and creamy dish, Navratan Korma gets its name from nine ingredients/jewels (nav=nine and ratan=jewels) which are cooked together in a super creamy sauce.
The base of this curry is made with cashews, poppy seeds and is finished with cream to make it decadent.
I am not 100% sure but from what I have read, Navratan Korma was named after the nine courtiers in King Akbar’s court.
Nav means nine and ratan means jewels, so each of the nine ingredients represented the courtiers in the king’s courtroom.
It is traditionally recommend to use 9 key ingredients in the recipe which are usually a mix of vegetables, fruits and nuts.
The combination of fruits, nuts, cream makes this a sweet curry. It has this sweet creamy taste and is not spicy at all.
So, if you prefer creamy sweet curries then this one is for you!
The base for navratan korma is made with onion, ginger, garlic, cashews and poppy seeds. Some people also add almonds and melon seeds to the base. Since, I only had cashews and poppy seeds that’s what I used.
In fact, it will also work with cashews only. So if you don’t have poppy seeds, don’t worry about it. Skip and make the recipe with cashews only.
Like I mentioned before, the recipe calls for 9 ingredients and so, here are the 9 ingredients that I have used in the recipe-
As you can see, I have used a mix of veggies, nuts and fruits here.
If you don’t have any of these, they can be easily replaced.
For example, you can add paneer and pepper here (red pepper will be nice especially).
For nuts you can use walnuts or almonds in place of cashews.
Apple is also often used in navratan korma.
I do love the pineapple here and I would recommend not replacing that though. It is also one of the fruits which you will mostly find in all navratan korma recipes irrespective of how they are made.
This Navratan Korma Recipe
✔ is rich and creamy.
✔ makes a special dish for special occasions.
✔ pairs well with naan, tandoori roti or rice.
✔ flavored with cardamom, saffron.
Now, this is a rich curry and loaded with calories too. So, I make it for special occasions like when I have invited some guests over dinner or for our Diwali or Holi lunch.
What I mean to say is that it is not one of those recipes which I would make on a weekly basis.
I have fond memories of eating Navratan Korma with my mom and dad in several restaurants in and around Delhi. This dish is prepared differently in different parts of the country.
Some people add tomatoes to it, some add no onion and only cashews. So, there’s no right or wrong way of making it.
I am sharing a way in which I make it and like it. I do not use tomatoes here, the curry gets it’s slight yellow color from the saffron that is used in the recipe.
Here’s how I make it and hope you guys like it.
1- To a large kadai or pan add chopped onion, ginger, garlic, green chili, 15-20 cashews, poppy seeds along with 3 cups (24 oz) water.
Boil on medium heat for 15 to 20 minutes. Let it cool and blend to a smooth paste.
2- Chop all the veggies and remember to chop them small. Chop the potatoes around 1/2 inch pieces and cauliflower into small florets. These way they will cook quickly when boiled in water.
3- Meanwhile fill a pan with water and let it come to a boil. Once it starts to boil, add potato, cauliflower, carrot, beans and peas. Boil on medium heat for 10 minutes.
4- After 10 minutes, the veggies will be fork tender, you do not want them mushy or be over-cooked. Drain them using a colander and set aside.
5- Meanwhile once the onions, cashews, ginger, garlic have boiled for 15 to 20 minutes, turn off the heat.
6- Let it cool down a bit and then transfer the entire mixture to a blender.
7- Blend to a smooth paste and set it aside.
8- In a kadai/wok, heat 1 tablespoon oil and 1 tablespoon ghee on medium heat. Add bay leaf, cloves and cardamom. Let the spices sizzle.
9- And then add the pureed onion cashew paste to it.
10- Cook the paste on low-medium heat for 5 minutes.
11- After the paste has cooked for 5 minutes, add the coriander powder, cumin and red chili powder.
12- Stir and cook for 3 more minutes and then add the salt.
13- Add the sugar.
14- And water and continue to cook for 3 more minutes on low heat.
15- Stir in the veggies. Mix and cook for 1 minute.
16- Then add the cream and mix. Cook the veggies on low heat for 3 to 4 minutes.
17- Meanwhile heat 1/2 teaspoon ghee in a small pan and add golden raisins and 6-7 cashews to it and fry until the raisins plump up, set it aside.
18- Also, heat 1 tablespoon milk and then add a pinch of crushed saffron strands to it. Remove pan from heat and set aside.
19- Add the pomegranate, the fried cashews and raisins and mix.
20- Also add the prepared saffron milk.
21 & 22- Mix everything together and cook for 2 more minutes. Sprinkle cardamom powder.
23- Also sprinkle some garam masala on top and then turn off the heat.
24- Let the curry cool down a bit, for 6 to 7 minutes and then add the pineapple pieces.
Serve Navratan Korma warm with naan or tandoori roti.