Soak in hot water for 20 to 30 minutes. Later drain and set aside.
Rinse and soak cauliflower florets in hot water for 15 to 20 minutes. This step is optional and only to get rid of any insects or worms in the cauliflower. After blanching the cauliflower, drain them and set aside.
Rinse, peel and chop the rest of the vegetables.
Add the the ingredients mentioned under 'for kurma paste' in a in a blender or mixer-grinder.
Pour ½ cup water or as required and grind to a smooth fine paste. Set aside.
Heat oil in a 2-litre pressure cooker or a pan. Add the chopped onions.
Stir and sauté until the onions turn translucent or light golden. Add curry leaves and mix.
Next add the chopped tomatoes, turmeric powder and red chili powder. Stir and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes.
Add the ground kurma paste. Stir and mix well. Sauté stirring often for 6 to 7 minutes on a low to medium flame or until you see the oil releasing from the sides and the paste becoming glossy and thick.
Then add fresh curd (yogurt). If you want, you can skip yogurt too.
Mix the curd very well with the rest of the masala paste.
Add the chopped mix vegetables. Stir and sauté for 1 to 2 minutes.
Then add 1.25 cups water. For slightly thin gravy you can add 1.5 cups water. If cooking in a pan, then add 1.5 to 2 cups of water. Mix well.
Season with salt according to your taste preferences.
Making veg kurma
Pressure cook for 2 whistles or for 8 to 9 minutes.
When the pressure settles down on its own, open the lid. If you find the gravy to be thin, then you can simmer for some more minutes.
If the gravy looks thick, then add some water and simmer for a few more minutes. The consistency should be medium - neither thin nor thick.
Add chopped coriander leaves and give a stir.
Indian flat breads: Korma tastes great with some soft roti or a chewy naan or a flaky paratha.
Indian fry bread: Poori which is the most popular Indian fried bread is again a best choice to have korma.
Rice: Plain steamed rice or flavored rice like ghee rice, biryani rice make easy and tasty sides with korma.
Dosa: Soft dosa like neer dosa or poha dosa or a lacy, soft appam tastes nice with korma gravy.
Cashews: Add almonds instead.
Roasted chana dal: Omit adding roasted chana dal if you do not have them.
Poppy seeds: Replace with melon seeds or skip adding them.
Stone flower: Skip if you do not have stone flower.
Kapok buds (marathi moggu): Omit this spice if you do not get it.
Curry leaves: Add 1 small to medium tej patta (Indian bay leaf) instead of curry leaves.
Whole spices: I suggest to keep the quantity of spices, nuts and seeds as mentioned in the recipe. Do not alter the amount as this would change the taste.
Stone-flower: Include a tiny piece of stone flower (about 0.5 cm in size) as it is a highly aromatic spice.
Consistency: You can change the consistency of the kurma gravy by adding less or more water. But do not make it too thick or thin or runny.
Cooking in a pan: Follow all the steps as listed for the pressure cooker version. Simply add 1.5 to 2 cups water. Cover and simmer on medium-low heat stirring occasionally until the veggies are fork tender.
Vegan version: Replace dairy yogurt with vegan yogurt to make vegan korma. Or you can skip adding yogurt.