Parsnip Korma (A root veg curry) inspired by Nigel Slater’s book Tender

I have a glut of parsnips in the allotments so have been looking for recipes to use them up. I found a root vegetable Korma in one of my Nigel Slater books (Tender volume 1 which looked pretty easy so I adapted that slightly to make this mostly Parsnip Korma.

I was really surprised as to how well parsnip works in this dish, it has quite a meaty texture when cooked and if you did not know that it was in there then I reckon you might think it is chicken

It is a pretty mild curry that you can adapt to be as spicy as you like by adding or removing the chilli.

So I read that some people can’t be arsed reading any back story about making the dish and why. So for those of you with no patience or interest in anything but the recipe skip down to the end 🙂

Let’s cook some Korma


There are no perfect supermarket Parsnips growing in my allotment. They pretty much all look like multi legged or tentacled aliens looking to take over the world or perhaps just my patch of ground to start with.

I thought these two looked like some sort of octupus, my mum thought they were baby triffids.

I like to cook the trailing roots whole in strips just cut off the main body, and then chop up the parsnip into cubes about 2 cm thick. Depending on how fancy or rustic you want to be just go with it


The original recipe called for a grind of coriander seeds, cumin seeds, and the seeds of green cardomon pods. Now I do think that grinding your spices to order each time does make for a tastier dish but it really can be a faff sometimes.

It was today, breaking open 5-6 tough cardamon pods just to get those tiny seeds out seemed a chore, and then grinding up the fibrous coriander seeds and cumin in the pestle and mortar seemed to take ages.

I suppose I could have just got an actual grinder to do it or used ground coriander and ground cumin instead. I didn’t though so what right do I have to moan then lol you ask.

If you do use pre-ground powders make sure that they are not out of date as they tend to lose flavour and smell as they get older.


Chop up the onion quite fine and soften in a pan with the butter, trying not to brown them. Then add grated ginger and thinly sliced garlic, cooking a little longer just until you start to get the aromas wafting up out of the pan.

Then add in the ground spices, together with the tumeric, chilli powder, and a cinnamon stick


Add in your chopped parsnips, I also added carrots as I had some in the garden, and I guess you can add any other root vegetables that you fancy too .


Stir them all up together until everything is nice coated with the spice mixture and cook / sweat for a few minutes.


Add just enough water to cover and then simmer until the vegetables are soft enough to take the tip of a knife or prong of a fork.


Once the vegetables are cooked to be soft and tender, yet with some bite (or however you like them) it is time to get that creamy korma sauce going.

It is a good idea to let the mix cool down a bit before you slowly mix in the cream and the yoghurt so that the sauce does not split. Don’t worry if it does though it still tastes the same and unless you are trying to blag your way through a heat of Masterchef with a korma I reckon it will be fine :-0

The last steps before eating are to scatter some freshly chopped coriander leaf and toasted cashew nuts over the top. Both optional but both work well adding crunch and some freshness with the leafy part.

The parsnip and the carrots both are quite subtly sweet, which did surprise me. I also found the parsnip to be quite meaty so texture wise I did not really notice that the dish was vegetarian.

I had my Korma with rice and some naan bread for mopping up the sauce. It was a very mild curry and not the sort that I usually cook, however I could have made it spicier if I so chose just by adding more chilli.

onions1 large (chopped into thin slices)
ginger1 inch piece (grated)
garlic2 cloves thinly sliced
parsnip2 large (about 500g)
carrot (optional)2 large
green cardamon seedscontents of 5-6 pods
cumin seeds1 teaspoon
coriander seeds2 teaspoons
ground tumeric1 teaspoon
chilli powder add to spice level of choice (1/2 teaspoon = mild)
cinnamon stick1
green chilli1 chopped
fresh coriander handful of leaves
double cream 100 ml
natural yoghurt100 ml
cashew nuts (optional)handful chopped and toasted lightly

Basic Recipe

Finely chop onion and garlic, grate ginger and add all three to pot with oil or butter and cook gently until soft

grind up coriander seed, cumin seed, and cardomon seed

chop up parsnips, carrots and whatever other veg you want

Add to pot with tumeric, chilli and cinnamon stick

Mix to coat all ingredients

Add water to cover and simmer until parsnips cooked tender (about 25-30 minutes)

cool slightly and stir in cream and yoghurt, cook gently to warm through

serve with rice, chopped coriander and toasted cashew (optional)

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