vegetable korma recipe

Low Histamine Vegetable Korma Recipe (Also Low Lectin, Low – Medium Oxalate, and Low FODMAP Option)

What’s your favorite type of cuisine?

I mean, if you could eat absolutely anything you wanted without worrying about Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance, what would you choose? 

Do you love Chinese food with lots of veggies and noodles? Or would you choose a Tex-Mex dish like fajitas? Maybe you would prefer a taste of Germany with sausage and sauerkraut? 

I love looking at cuisine from around the world. I love eating it even more. 

But as you know, with MCAS or Histamine Intolerance, you sometimes have to make adjustments with your food choices. 

But I don’t want that to stop me (or you!) from branching out and trying new things. 

Some years ago, I spent some time in India. Unfortunately, for most of the trip, I was very ill.

I’d been having some issues for a while, but this illness took me over the edge. 

It was this illness that led to the onset of my severe mast cell activation. 

But even so, I remember how gracious everyone was. People who were basically strangers came and helped me.

They brought me fresh water and soups. They made cool compresses for my head. 

In an area where many people didn’t have much, they gave with all their heart to those around them in need. Including me. 

I learned so much about giving and gratitude on that trip. 

But because I got so ill, I wasn’t really able to fully enjoy all of the rich culture around me…including Indian food.

Being a foodie at heart, this was a downer for me. 

It may have been for the best, though. I didn’t know I had Histamine Intolerance (as well as other food sensitivities) at that time, but I did.  

And a lot of ingredients in Indian recipes like tomatoes, cashews, green peas, green beans, curry powder — all of these things are high histamine. 

I also had lectin intolerance (which I also didn’t know at the time). That means things like chickpeas, lentils, and bell peppers, and potatoes were a problem, too. 

Related Article: Lectins, Low Lectin Foods, and the Mast Cell Connection – for those with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance

After my time in India, I hadn’t really experimented with finding ways to make low histamine Indian food dishes. 

But when I was flipping through a cookbook recently, I came across an Indian recipe that looked like I could make it with just a few easy swaps.  

I thought it might be time to revisit Indian cuisine with this low histamine version of vegetable korma.

It’s also low lectin, gluten free, and low – medium oxalate. (I’ll tell you the ingredient to swap to make this low oxalate.) 

TIP: You can make this recipe as a vegetarian recipe, but you can also add chicken for a chicken korma. 

Here’s how I make Low Histamine Chicken.  

You might be wondering, though, just what is korma? 

Korma is a type of curry recipe. It’s a combo of Indian aromatic spices, mixed vegetables, and optionally, meat.

Those ingredients are usually cooked with yogurt or cream to make a thick sauce. 

I’ve come up with something similar that is dairy free, gluten free, and low in histamine, oxalates, lectins. There’s even a low FODMAP version! 

I hope your tastebuds will enjoy this trip around the world! 

And while your mouth is watering, know that this recipe has a lot of ingredients that will support your health! 

Next, let’s look at some of the ingredients I swapped and why. Then I’ll give you an overview of some of the ways the new ingredients can support your health. 

And you’ll want to keep reading because I have some alarming news to share with you below about the coconut milk we used to recommend and why we changed. 

Low Histamine Vegetable Korma Swaps 

I mentioned this recipe to one of the team members here at Mast Cell 360.

She was really excited because korma is one of her comfort foods.  

But she has histamine intolerance and lactose intolerance so, unfortunately, sometimes one of her favorite foods can set off her gut issues.  

Dairy sets off mast cells in the gut for many of my clients. 

Let’s look at how dairy may be affecting you, too.

Then I’ll tell you why my go-to swap for milk and cream has changed…and it wasn’t just a matter of taste! 

What to Know About Dairy 

Sometimes with dairy, the histamine issues aren’t with the dairy product itself. Much dairy is considered low histamine. But there are 2 main ways dairy may still be affecting you. 

1. Some dairy products increase in histamine due to being aged or fermented. 

Some aged or fermented dairy products include foods like:

  • buttermilk
  • most cheese
  • kefir
  • yogurt

Fermented simply means your food has undergone some kind of change by way of microorganisms like yeast and bacteria.

In many instances, this is done for preservation.  

Aged means a food has been left alone for a period of time to develop more flavor.

A great example of this is cheese. Cheddar can be aged anywhere from a few months to a year. 

Both of these processes are going to increase histamine levels in the food.

That’s why you will typically avoid these with Histamine Intolerance.  

2. Another issue I see in clients with sensitivities comes from the casein and lactose in dairy. 

Lactose is a sugar found in milk. Casein is a protein found in milk. 

Lactose intolerance can happen when your body doesn’t make enough lactase. Lactase is an enzyme your body makes to digest lactose. 

Not having enough lactase means the lactose (milk sugar) ferments in the gut, causing gas, bloating, and diarrhea. 

Those are the most common. But these symptoms of lactose intolerance can show up after eating dairy: 

  • abdominal pain 
  • nausea 
  • constipation 
  • headaches 
  • fatigue 
  • muscle and joint pain 
  • urinary difficulties 

Some factors that can lead to your body not making enough lactase are: 

  • GI infections 
  • gut inflammation 
  • motility issues 
  • imbalances in the flora in your intestines  
  • genetics 

 
This is why I tend to steer people with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and Histamine Intolerance away from dairy when they first start working on their health.

Lactose intolerance is common in the people I work with. 

Casein can also be an issue for many people.

In fact, studies are showing that many people who think they have lactose intolerance may actually be responding to casein. The symptoms are often the same. 

With a casein allergy or sensitivity, your body mistakenly views this protein as an invader.

So, it triggers an immune response. And immune responses usually involve your mast cells.

So that’s more mast cell activation. 

I find it is often helpful to hold back on dairy products until you get your mast cells calmed down and you know more specifically what’s going on. 

This is why we swapped the heavy cream or yogurt normally found in a korma recipe. 

But the rich, creamy sauce is kind of what makes this dish so comforting for some people.

Good news though! You can get that same creaminess from coconut cream. 

Coconut milk and coconut cream are my go-to swaps for milk or cream.  

Many of our recipes use coconut milk and cream. But I recently moved away from the brand I previously recommended. Here’s more on that. 

Why I Switched My Preferred Brand of Coconut Milk and Coconut Cream 

For a long time, I was recommending a particular brand of coconut milk and coconut cream. It was Aroy-D. I literally kept a stock of it in my pantry. I used it in my coffee and my recipes.  

I did well with it. Many of my clients did well with it. Maybe you did well with it. 

However, I recently found out from one of our community members that there was an additive in it that they weren’t disclosing.  

This was all detailed in a blog post showing that some labels for Aroy-D coconut milk list 100% coconut milk and others listed the additive 

I was disappointed and very frustrated by this lack of transparency from the company.  

But I always want to be transparent with you.  

I love what Maya Angelou once said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” 

Now I know better. And I want to pass this information on to you so we can both do better together. 

Here’s more on why I switched my coconut milk and cream brand recommendation. 

I found out Aroy-D wasn’t putting an additive on their labels for the US market for their coconut milk and cream. It’s called E435.

This is also known as polysorbate 60 or polyoxyethylene (20) sorbitan monostearate.  

It’s an emulsifier. And studies are showing that it may contribute to leaky gut. 

If you’ve got Mast Cell Activation Syndrome or Histamine Intolerance, you may very well already be dealing with gut issues. You don’t want to add to them. 

And so much of your nervous system is in your gut.

So, an out of whack gut can go hand in hand with a dysregulated nervous system.

And a dysregulated nervous system can lead to overly responsive mast cells aka Mast Cell Activation Syndrome.  

Additionally, leaky gut can get worsened in people with Mold Toxicity. It’s also an issue with SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) and SIFO (small intestinal fungal overgrowth).  

So leaky gut is bad news when you are trying to get your health back.  

Now, you might be asking, if this is a bad ingredient, why were so many of us ok using it? 

Well, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer for this. For some people, that additive may not be a problem at all. 

Or maybe we weren’t getting enough of it that it made a difference. 

Or maybe it did bother you, but you didn’t know why. 

Whatever the reasons, I still don’t like that the company hid this.

And I’d rather err on the side of caution going forward. Particularly because we have so many people in our community who are extremely sensitive.  

I work hard to make recommendations that are as clean as possible, so you have the best chance to tolerate things. 

So, for this reason, I am switching my recommendation to Native Forest Coconut Milk and Let’s Do…Organic Coconut Cream

Both of these are organic. Both of them contain only coconut and water. No additives. 

Typically, I steer you away from canned products.  

But coconut has natural antibacterial properties. This means you aren’t as likely to get that kind of histamine build up from bacteria that you can get with some canned foods. 

And this can is listed as BPA non-intent.

That’s a little different than BPA free, but I like this attention to detail and honesty.

Here’s what BPA non-intent means. 

Basically, BPA is found almost everywhere in our modern environment.

That means that very small amounts may still be found in “BPA-free” products.

When I say small amounts, I’m talking parts per billion.  

When a company says their product is packaged in BPA non-intent packaging, it means they aren’t actively using materials with BPA.

However, due to the abundance of BPA in our environment, they can’t guarantee there will be absolutely no trace whatsoever.  

Both myself and some of the team members have tried these new brands out.

We are very happy with the taste and have had no reactions. 

So, that’s the big news about the change in coconut milk in our recipes.  

And now here’s some good news. This korma recipe has a lot of nutritious ingredients that can support your health. 

Before we get to the recipe, I want to share with you a few highlights on the other swaps and health benefits of the new ingredients so you can replicate them in your own recipes. 

Making a Low Histamine, Low Lectin, and Low – Medium Oxalate Vegetable Korma Recipe 

You’ll see that a lot of these ingredients have nutrients that can support good health.  

These two nutrients are particularly of note if you have MCAS or Histamine Intolerance. 

Vitamin C can help you if you have Histamine Intolerance.

It helps your body make more DAO (a histamine-degrading enzyme).  

Magnesium is another nutrient you need for DAO production.

One animal study showed that magnesium deficiency can result in the emergence of mast cells.

So, keep those magnesium levels up.  
 
Magnesium is used in over 300 different processes in the body.

But your body doesn’t produce it naturally.

That means you have to get it from diet and supplements. 

Here are the other ingredient swaps I made for this low histamine vegetable korma. 

Garlic 

Swapped for: chili pepper 

Why: peppers contain lectins 

 Benefits of garlic: 

  • adds a spicy heat like a chili pepper would 
  • good source of 
    • calcium 
    • potassium 
    • vitamin C 
  • has been shown in studies to have anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties 

Rutabaga 

Swapped for: potato 

Why: potatoes contain lectins and oxalates 

Benefits of rutabaga: 

  • similar texture to potato 
  • good source of 
    • magnesium 
    • calcium 
    • potassium 
    • vitamin C 

Broccoli 

Swapped for: green beans and green peas 

Why: both are high histamine and contain lectins 

Benefits of broccoli: 

  • good source of 
    • potassium 
    • vitamin C 
    • fiber 
  • plant based source for protein 
  • shown to help bind mold toxins 

Pecans or Tiger Nuts 

Swapped for: cashews 

Why: cashews are high histamine and contain oxalates and lectins

Read note below for info on pecans and oxalates and if you should consider swapping them for tiger nuts.

Benefits of pecans 

  • good source of 
    • protein 
    • fiber  
    • zinc 

Pecans are also considered high oxalate at ¼ cup or more.

This whole recipe calls for ¼ cup, so one portion won’t be considered high.

However, if you are very oxalate sensitive, swap pecans with sliced tiger nuts. 

TIP: Soak your pecans for several hours in salt water to help reduce the oxalate and mold levels. I put mine in a big bamboo bowl and then fill that bowl with water and some baking soda. 

The amount of baking soda will vary.

On average, I’d say put about 1 Tablespoon in for every 1 cup of nuts.  

I soak mine overnight in a non-metal bowl.

Then rinse well the next day and dry in a food dryer at about 200 degrees. 

Coriander, Curcumin, Cardamom 

Swapped for: curry powder, garam masala, and turmeric 

Why: curry powder and garam masala are spice blends made with high histamine spices like cinnamon, cloves, dry mustard and more. Turmeric is high oxalate. 

Benefits of herbs: 

Herbs are some of the most nutrient dense foods out there. That means they have a high vitamin and mineral content in relation to their weight. These “small” foods carry big benefits. 

  • can have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties 
  • these herbs are good sources of 
    • magnesium 
    • calcium 
    • fiber 
    • and even protein 

You can also experiment with getting other aromatic spice flavors from:  

Did you know? Spice blends are often used as a shortcut in cooking. But these blends can actually be more expensive than buying spices separately and measuring out your own. 

Now that you know how healthy this recipe is, you might be wondering what to serve it with. Here are some ideas for you. 

What Do I Serve Korma With? Swaps for Those with Gluten or Lectin Intolerance 

Typically, you’d serve korma over basmati rice.

If you tolerate rice, this might be fine for you.

However, if you have oxalate or lectin intolerance, you could try making rice from a veg like rutabaga or cauliflower instead.   

TIP: You can get frozen cauliflower rice at the grocery store for convenience if you don’t have severe histamine intolerance. It will be a little higher histamine than fresh cauliflower, but not really high. 

But it’s pretty easy to make your own veggie rice, too, though. Here’s how. 

  • Peel the rutabaga or separate the cauliflower florets from the leaves. 
  • Chop it into pieces. 
  • Run it through a food processor with the grater attachment. The food processor grates it into small pieces…Like rice! 
  • Cook in a skillet with a little oil or water for a few minutes until tender. 

And many Indian dishes are eaten with naan, roti, or paratha.

These are types of soft, flatbread. They are usually wheat based. 

This is optional, but you may like a flatbread to scoop up your korma sauce.

If so, you might pair it with my low histamine, gluten-free flatbread recipe. 

Ready to try it? Here’s the recipe. 

vegetable korma recipe

Low Histamine Vegetable Korma Recipe

Enjoy this Low Histamine, Low Lectin, Low – Medium Oxalate, Low FODMAP Option Vegetable Korma Recipe with chicken or make it vegetarian.
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 4 people
Calories 299.63 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
  

  • cup Onion chopped
  • 3 cloves Garlic roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup Pecans (swap with Tiger Nuts for low oxalate)
  • ½ cup Filtered Water
  • 1 Large Carrot cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 Medium Rutabaga peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 2 cups Cauliflower cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup Broccoli cut into small pieces
  • 1 teaspoon Dried Coriander Seed
  • 1 teaspoon Curcumin Powder
  • teaspoon Cardamom 2-3 pods ground
  • 1 teaspoon Redmond Real Salt
  • 1 cup Let's Do Organic Coconut Cream
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Cilantro finely chopped or flat parsley
  • 1 Tablespoon Fresh Mint Leaves roughly chopped

Optional Chicken

Instructions
 

  • Add the onion, garlic, pecans and ½ cup water to the Instant Pot. It may be tempting to throw all the ingredients in the Instant Pot at once, but the onion and pecan paste needs extra time so it can thicken better. 
  • Lock lid into place. Select Pressure Cooker or Manual. Choose high pressure for 2 minutes. (Make sure steam release knob is in the sealed position.) 
  • When finished, transfer the ingredients to a food processor to purée. Return purée to Instant Pot. If the mixture is a little watery, don’t add more water. If it is a thick paste and ¼ cup of water to the next step.
  • Add carrot, rutabaga, cauliflower, broccoli, coriander, curcumin powder, cardamom, salt, and coconut cream. Mix. 
  • Select Sauté on the Instant Pot and sauté for 2 minutes. 
  • Then select Pressure Cook and choose high pressure for 3 minutes. Make sure the steam release knob is in the sealed position and the lid is in place and locked.
  • After cooking, release the pressure carefully and transfer korma to a serving bowl. 
  • If desired, sauté the chicken in avocado oil or ghee on the stovetop at medium heat. About 5 minutes. Mix in with the vegetable korma.  
  • Stir in the fresh cilantro (or parsley) and mint saving just a little bit for garnish if desired.

Notes

If you do not have an Instant Pot, you can cook this in a large skillet. 
Low FODMAP Substitutions:
  • Green onion tops for onion (will be a thinner consistency, but still tasty)
  • 1 Tablespoon garlic infused EVOO for garlic
  • Extra broccoli for cauliflower

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts
Low Histamine Vegetable Korma Recipe
Amount per Serving
Calories
299.63
% Daily Value*
Potassium
 
381.63
mg
11
%
Carbohydrates
 
41.59
g
14
%
Vitamin C
 
39.98
mg
48
%
Calcium
 
49.57
mg
5
%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Keyword dairy free, gluten free, low histamine, low lectin, low oxalate, medium oxalate

How do you like Mixed Vegetable Korma? What recipes should I adapt next to make Low Histamine? Tell me in the comments below!  

More Low Histamine Cuisines from Around the World  

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References 

Bennett, J. W., & Klich, M. (2003). Mycotoxins. Clinical microbiology reviews, 16(3), 497–516. https://doi.org/10.1128/cmr.16.3.497-516.2003 

Deng, Y., Misselwitz, B., Dai, N., & Fox, M. (2015). Lactose Intolerance in Adults: Biological Mechanism and Dietary Management. Nutrients, 7(9), 8020–8035. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu7095380 

Fratianni, F., Riccardi, R., Spigno, P., Ombra, M. N., Cozzolino, A., Tremonte, P., Coppola, R., & Nazzaro, F. (2016). Biochemical Characterization and Antimicrobial and Antifungal Activity of Two Endemic Varieties of Garlic (Allium sativum L.) of the Campania Region, Southern Italy. Journal of medicinal food, 19(7), 686–691. https://doi.org/10.1089/jmf.2016.0027 

Kandikattu, H. K., Rachitha, P., Jayashree, G. V., Krupashree, K., Sukhith, M., Majid, A., Amruta, N., & Khanum, F. (2017). Anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects of Cardamom (Elettaria repens (Sonn.) Baill) and its phytochemical analysis by 4D GCXGC TOF-MS. Biomedicine & pharmacotherapy = Biomedecine & pharmacotherapie, 91, 191–201. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.biopha.2017.04.049 

Kahlon, T. S., Chiu, M. C., & Chapman, M. H. (2008). Steam cooking significantly improves in vitro bile acid binding of collard greens, kale, mustard greens, broccoli, green bell pepper, and cabbage. Nutrition research (New York, N.Y.), 28(6), 351–357. 

Maintz, L., Novak, N. (2007), Histamine and histamine intolerance, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 85 (5), 1185–1196. https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/85.5.1185 

Pal, S., Woodford, K., Kukuljan, S., & Ho, S. (2015). Milk Intolerance, Beta-Casein and Lactose. Nutrients, 7(9), 7285–7297. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu7095339 

Peedikayil, F. C., Remy, V., John, S., Chandru, T. P., Sreenivasan, P., & Bijapur, G. A. (2016). Comparison of antibacterial efficacy of coconut oil and chlorhexidine on Streptococcus mutans: An in vivo study. Journal of International Society of Preventive & Community Dentistry, 6(5), 447–452. https://doi.org/10.4103/2231-0762.192934 

Schäfer, G., & Kaschula, C. H. (2014). The immunomodulation and anti-inflammatory effects of garlic organosulfur compounds in cancer chemoprevention. Anti-cancer agents in medicinal chemistry, 14(2), 233–240. https://doi.org/10.2174/18715206113136660370 

Tagesson, C., & Edling, C. (1984). Influence of surface-active food additives on the integrity and permeability of rat intestinal mucosa. Food and chemical toxicology: an international journal published for the British Industrial Biological Research Association, 22(11), 861–864. https://doi.org/10.1016/0278-6915(84)90165-0 

Takemoto, S., Yamamoto, A., Tomonaga, S., Funaba, M., & Matsui, T. (2013). Magnesium deficiency induces the emergence of mast cells in the liver of rats. Journal of nutritional science and vitaminology, 59(6), 560–563. https://doi.org/10.3177/jnsv.59.560 

USDA. (2019, April 1). FoodData Central. US Department of Agriculture. Retrieved April 16, 2022, from https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/170922/nutrients 

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Widianingrum, D. C., Noviandi, C. T., & Salasia, S. I. O. (2019). Antibacterial and immunomodulator activities of virgin coconut oil (VCO) against Staphylococcus aureus. Heliyon, 5(10), e02612. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.heliyon.2019.e02612 

Comments

  1. Lianna

    Great swapping info – thank you! It will be useful even beyond this recipe. Could you say more about which type of Vitamin C is best tolerated as a supplement? Or point me to something you’ve already written that addresses this. I’ve heard that some types are based on fermentation and more likely to create MCAS problems.

    1. Suz, Mast Cell 360 Team

      Hi Lianna,
      So glad to hear the swaps were helpful! We’ll have more swaps in another recipe for smoothies coming out this summer. There are a couple of options for Vitamin C that you may consider. We always suggest talking with your provider with any questions or concerns before starting anything new, especially if you are very sensitive. These are the ones we use in the practice:

      The first is camu camu. Here is a link for that:
      https://www.amazon.com/s?k=navitus+camu+powder&linkCode=sl2&linkId=fab98d016e25a5d77efcac5dc960c859&tag=mc360-20&ref=nb_sb_noss_2

      And this supplement is back in stock and is not fermented:
      https://us.fullscript.com/o/catalog/products/U3ByZWU6OlByb2R1Y3QtNTc2MzM=/U3ByZWU6OlZhcmlhbnQtNTc2MzM=/
      For this one, if you use our link to register an account, you can get 15% off all your FullScript orders.

  2. Lisa R

    What can I substitute for coconut cream? I have heredity issue, sky high cholesterol and MD says no coconut products internally. Thanks.

    1. Suz, Mast Cell 360 Team

      The original recipe called for dairy cream, but that will still be high in cholesterol, plus some people have casein and lactose sensitivities. We’ve only made it with coconut cream, so I’m not sure what else would substitute. What I can tell you is that without the cream, you’ll still get a lot of flavor. It just won’t be the same consistency. It would be more like a sautéed vegetable dish with spices. If you experiment and come up with something, be sure to let us know!

  3. Michelle

    Great recipe! I have reaction to all canned or packaged coconut products. I now use Zuma Valley Organic coconut cream which frozen. I sometimes add water to it depending on what I’m making.

    Another option although it comes out somewhat diluted “milk”, I use organic frozen or fresh coconut meat chunks or shredded (whole young Thai coconuts will not work for this.) Soak in hot water, blend it and strain. I’ve also first blended the coconut with water and then brought it to a boil, soak and then return to blender, strain through a nut milk bag or cheesecloth. I then divide into portions and freeze.

    1. Suz, Mast Cell 360 Team

      Thanks for sharing, Michelle! Sounds like some great solutions!

    1. Suz, Mast Cell 360 Team

      Curcumin is a compound found in turmeric and cumin, but it isn’t exactly the same as either. Curcumin on its own isn’t high oxalate, but turmeric and cumin are. Here’s the curcumin we like: https://us.fullscript.com/product_cards/70217/redirect?store_slug=mastcell360
      If you are interested in using it, you can use our link to register an account with FullScript and save 15% off all your orders.
      Thanks for your interest!

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