Side Dishes for Rotis/Dosas/ Naan.

Saravana Bhavan Vegetable Kurma. ( Vegetables in spicy coconut fennel gravy)


Vegetable Kurma is a popular accompaniment for Chappathi , Parotta, Aappam and Phulkas. Generally, a kurma is a coconut based stew, with vegetables and whole spices. The very first time I ever had kurma was when my mom made it for us one day to go with rotis. I was floored by the aroma of fennel in a gravy, as it was the first time that she had ground up fennel and coconuts to use as a base for the steamed veggies. I was hooked. After marriage, TH loved parotta and kurma and his favorite was the version available at Saravana Bhavan. I was working in Chennai at that time and during lunch, there was the usual talk about recipes, and swapping notes on making them. One of my colleagues, was unarguably the expert in making this particular kurma. She was kind enough to share this with me and I remember scribbling it behind a payment counterfoil and had assumed to have kept it safely…It was too safe that I could never recollect where I had kept it before trying it even once. Many years later, after many moves, and many more homes, I found this counterfoil. safely stuck to the inner pocket of my diary! I made certain modifications referring to this page, and tried this out over the weekend. The aroma of hot kurma and parottas at home, really reminded me of Saravanaa Bhavan, back home in Madras!



1 Carrot Diced in to cubes.

1 Cup Beans diced in to 1 inch long pieces.

1 Cup Cauliflower Florettes.

1/2 Cup Peas.

1 Onion Diced FIne.

1 Tomato Diced.

1 Tsp Freshly Grated GInger.

1 Tsp Freshly Grated Garlic.

2 Tsp Dhania Powder/ Corriander Powder.

3/4 – 1 Tsp Red Chilli Powder.

1/4 Tsp Turmeric Powder.

1/4 Tsp Garam Masala Powder.

2 Tsp Lemon Juice.

Salt to taste.


2 Bay Leaves.

2 Mace Pieces.

Handful Curry Leaves.

2 Tbsp Mint Leaves. ( If using dried mint limit to 1 Tbsp).

Grind to a Smooth Paste:

1/2 Cup Coconut Grated.

8-10 Cashew

1 tsp Poppy Seeds/ Khus Khus.

1 Tbsp Fennel Seeds/ Somph.

2 Green Chillies.

3 Tsp Pottu Kadalai/ Chutney Dhal.

1 Inch Cinnamon Piece broken in to pieces.

1 Tsp Cardamom Powder or 2 Cardamom Pods.


  • Half cook the diced veggies in water, adding a spoon of salt. Drain the veggies and save the water.
  • Grind all the ingredients under ” Grind to a Smooth Paste” , adding little water. The paste should be completely pulsed and smooth.
  • In a wide mouthed kadai or wok, add about 2-3 tbsp oil and pop in the seasonings – Bay Leaf, Mace, Mint, Curry Leaves and allow to saute in the oil. The aroma of the mint getting fried is unmistakably fresh and inviting.
  • Add the diced onions, ginger paste, garlic paste and allow to saute well.
  • When its well done, add the chopped tomatoes and saute for a couple minutes. After a few minutes add the ground paste.
  • Now add the dry powders – Red Chilli Powder, Dhania Powder, Turmeric Powder, and Garam Masala and mix in well.
  • Keep stirring the kadai,  until they are well done and  there is no raw smell from the spice powders.
  • Add the lemon juice and keep stirring.
  • At this point, care should be taken to make sure that the gravy does not burn or stick to the bottom of the kadai. Keep the flame on medium and contuinue sturring until yuou see the oil slightly leaving the sides if the gravy.
  • Add the half cooked veggies, as well as the water in which the veggies were cooked.
  • Adjust the water content, depending on the consistency of the kurma thats desired.
  • We dont prefer it to be too thick, or too runny.
  • Garnish with finely chopped corriander leaves and serve it piping hot with Hot Parottas/ Garlic Naan!





27 thoughts on “Saravana Bhavan Vegetable Kurma. ( Vegetables in spicy coconut fennel gravy)

  1. I will always try out different recipes, when it has the tag name of any restaurant 😀 Too much fascination! Loved this one and pictures are drool worthy.

  2. I remember having this at your place once and it was delicious!! Been wanting to ask you for this recipe for a long time now and here it is finally!!! Yaay:-D

  3. @ Sindhiya,

    Thanks for all the lovely comments Sindhiya. Do try the kurma and let me know if you liked it!


  4. Hi Shobha, I tried your Saravana Bhavan Kurma recipe and it came out great. Thanks for the recipe!

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