Kurma with Idli, a south indian delight!

Sundays are special lunch days at home and so I picked this south indian dish- Idli Kurma- which is my personal favorite, especially when mom cooks.

I find kurma to be a very versatile side dish. It is ideally a coconut-based gravy that is prepared with various combinations of vegetables. I simply classify it into two categories- North indian style which I pair with various indian breads- paratha(pan fried flat bread),  roti(flatbread)poori/puri(fried bread), and the South Indian style which goes well with Idli(steamed rice cake), Idiyappam(string hoppers), Appam(soft hoppers), etc.

This must be one of the most cliched things to say but I’m gonna say it anyways- “my mom makes the best kurma for idli” :). Each time I visit home(India) this dish is on my top 5 must-eats and I absolutely insist on my mom preparing it all by herself(I help clean up).

The first time I made this kurma I got the color wrong. The second time around it was the consistency. So I kept her up till midnight(god bless FaceTime) to get the recipe right once and for all. And it turned out just FAB 🙂

Here goes the recipe, straight from the horse’s mouth!


south indian Kurma recipe for IDLi

Prep Time: 30 minutes       Overall cooking time: 45 minutes

ingredients: Serves 2 (famished Souls)

For Coconut paste:
1/2 cup grated coconut, (fresh/frozen)
1 heaping Tsp poppy seeds, (khus khus)
5 pcs. cloves (laung)
1 big cinnamon stick (dalchini), broken into small pieces
4 pcs. cardamom (elaichi)
1 tsp fennel seeds (saunf)
3 green chilies
1 small piece ginger (adrak)
1/2 cup water

Vegetables to be steamed/boiled in water:
3 carrots, chopped roughly
10 – 12 beans, chopped roughly
3/4 cup peas
15 small cauliflower heads, separated
1 small potato, (I avoided the potato)

For the Saute:
2pcs. bayleaves
1 small onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, mashed
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
Boiled vegetables
1 small tomato, chopped roughly
4-5 drops lemon juice
3 TBSP ghee/oil (I’d say go for the ghee)
1 cup water
Salt to taste
Chopped cilantro for garnish

  • Start with the vegetables. Either steam or add to boiling water and strain once the vegetables get tender. Make sure not to over boil.
  • Grind all the ingredients mentioned under coconut paste to a smooth paste. Keep aside.
  • Heat ghee/oil in a deep bottom pan. Add the bay leaves and sautè onions till light pink.
  • Now add the turmeric powder, boiled vegetables, the coconut paste, and salt. Stir till everything is well incorporated.
  •  Add the water and let it come to a boil. You can add more water for thinner consistency.
  • Add the tomatoes and lemon drops just before taking the kurma off the stove.
  • Garnish with cilantro and serve hot with idli 🙂
Tips to remember
  1. The color of the kurma is important. If it’s too dark, that could be because of over cooking of the onion or too much turmeric powder
  2. 3 green chilies yields a moderately spicy kurma. If more than moderate is your thing then add a couple more green chilies.
  3. This kurma goes well with Dosa as well

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