A healthy and spicy curry from Karnataka


6 cups malabar spinach/basele or use regular spinach (palak) instead

2 cups of vegetables such as green papaya or bottle gourd

salt to taste

¼ teaspoon turmeric

1 tablespoon brown sugar

2 cups of water adjust to your liking

¼ cup dry beans, optional

For the masala paste

¾ cup fresh coconut

4 teaspoons coriander seeds

½ teaspoon cumin seeds

½ teaspoon black mustard seeds

2 teaspoons of horse gram

4-5 dried red chilies, adjust to your liking

½ cup of water

½ cup chopped onion

6 large garlic cloves or 12 small cloves

¾ teaspoon oil

tamarind gooseberry size

For hot oil seasoning/tadka

1-2 teaspoons of oil, preferably unrefined coconut oil

1 dried red chili

1 sprig of curry leaves optional

½ teaspoon black mustard seeds


roast the spices

In a heavy-bottomed skillet, over medium heat, toast the coriander seeds, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and dried red chilies in a few drops of oil, until toasted and fragrant (be careful not to burn the spices).

Take these spices out on a plate.

In the same skillet roast horse gram over medium heat until it changes color and smells nicely roasted, it may also start to sizzle, remove to plate.

In half a teaspoon of oil, roast the chopped onions and garlic until nicely browned.

Prepare coconut masala paste

Add roasted spices, roasted horse gram, coconut, tamarind to a blender or blender-grinder, with just enough water to mix and blend to a smooth paste.

The coconut should be at room temperature, if not, use warm water so the coconut fat doesn’t separate.

making the curry

Since spinach stems take longer to cook, first cook the stems in enough water

Add salt, turmeric then cover and cook

When stems are half cooked, add chopped raw papaya or bottle gourd if using

When the vegetables are almost cooked, add the malabar spinach.

Add brown sugar

Add cooked beans, if using

When the vegetables are cooked, add the ground masala paste.

Dilute with water to desired consistency.

Taste and adjust the salt and jaggery to your liking.

Over medium heat, bring the curry to a gentle boil, stirring occasionally.

Cook for two more minutes and turn off the heat.

hot oil seasoning/tadka

Heat the oil in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan.

Add mustard seeds and split red chilli

When the mustard sizzles, add the curry leaves and pour the oil along with the spices over the curry.

Cover. Mix and serve with rice.

If you don’t have and don’t like coconut oil, use whatever oil you prefer. But to get the authentic taste of Konkani, use only coconut oil!

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