Category Archives: Vegetable side dishes

Bitter Gourd Curry

This is a delicious bitter-sweet-hot-and-sour dish that goes well as a side-dish with any meal.


Serves 4


200g bitter gourd, trimmed and cut into 1-inch/2.5-cm thick rounds and then into quarters

1 teaspoon salt, plus extra to taste if needed

1 tablespoon de-seeded tamarind

2 tablespoons coriander seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

7-10 dried red chilli peppers

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1 medium garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped

Jaggery to taste



  1. Place the bitter gourd pieces in a bowl. Add 1 teaspoon salt. Mix and set aside for 30 minutes.
  2. In the meantime, dry-roast the coriander seeds, cumin seeds and red chillies separately in a small pan until fragrant and slightly darker in shade. Transfer to an electric blender and blend to a smooth powder.
  3. Extract the juice of tamarind using 1 cup/250ml water.
  4. Heat the oil in a medium pan. Add the onions and cook until golden, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add the garlic and cook for 5 minutes.
  6. Discard the water released by the bitter gourd and add to the pan. Stir well and add the tamarind water.
  7. Cover and cook until the bitter gourd pieces are half done. Add the spice powder and mix.
  8. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the bitter gourd is cooked. You may add extra water if required to prevent the mixture from burning.
  9. Add the jaggery and mix. When the jaggery has melted, check for the seasonings and adjust as required.
  10. Remove from the heat. Leave the dish for 30 minutes for the flavours to blend, before serving.

Sour and Spicy Eggplant

In this dish, eggplant pieces are cooked in tamarind water and finally, enlivened with a spicy coconut paste. This has well-rounded flavour and goes well with plain white rice or roti.


Serves 4 to 6


500g brinjal, chopped into ½-inch cubes

5-8 dried red chiili peppers

2 teaspoons coriander seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 teaspoon dried peanuts

½ teaspoon white sesame seeds

Vegetable oil to cook

¼ cup/25g finely grated coconut

1 tablespoon de-seeded tamarind pulp

1 medium onion, finely chopped

Salt to taste

¼ teaspoon turmeric powder



  1. Place the eggplant cubes in a bowl of water.
  2. In a pan, separately roast the red-chilli peppers, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, peanuts and sesame seeds until fragrant, adding a few drops of oil as required. Transfer them to a bowl.
  3. Add the grated coconut to the pan and roast until slightly golden. Transfer to the bowl and let cool to the room temperature.
  4. Using an electric blender, blend all the roasted ingredients to a thick, smooth paste, adding water a little at a time.
  5. Extract the juice of tamarind in 2 cups/500ml water and discard the pulp.
  6. Add 2 tablespoons oil in a medium pan and place over medium-low heat.
  7. Add the onions and cook, until golden, stirring frequently.
  8. Drain the eggplant, discarding the water, and add to the pan. Add the salt and turmeric powder. Mix.
  9. Add the tamarind water. Cover and cook, until the eggplant cubes are tender, stirring occasionally.
  10. Add the paste from the blender. Mix well. If it’s too dry, you may add some water as required. Mix.
  11. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. The final consistency of the dish should be semi-dry.
  12. Taste and adjust the seasoning as required. Remove from the heat.
  13. Leave for 30 minutes for the flavours to blend, before serving.

Green Plantain Fritters

A quick and easy recipe for healthful and tasty plantain fritters. Serve this as a snack or as a side dish with any meal.

Serves 4 to 6
2 medium green plantains
Salt to taste
Red chilli powder to taste
Coriander powder to taste
A pinch of turmeric powder
A pinch of asafoetida
Vegetable oil for cooking

1. Rinse the green plantains, trim the ends, and slice crosswise into ¼-inch thick pieces.

2. Place the plantain pieces in a bowl. Add the other ingredients, except the oil. Mix and set aside for 15 minutes.

3. Heat a griddle over medium heat. When hot, grease the griddle lightly with the oil.

4. Working in batches, place the plantain pieces on the griddle in a single layer. Cover and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until the underside is golden brown. Uncover, flip the pieces and cook the other side until done, adding a few drops of oil if required. Remove to a plate.

5. Serve hot or at room temperature.

Cluster Beans With Fresh Turmeric

You may serve this super-nutritious and tasty dish with any meal.

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
4-5 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1 medium tomato, finely chopped
½ teaspoon red chilli powder
300g cluster beans, trimmed, stringed and cut into bite-size pieces
1 tablespoon finely shredded fresh peeled turmeric
Salt to taste
½ teaspoon amchur powder
Jaggery to taste

1. Heat the oil in a medium pan over medium heat.
2. When the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds and garlic cloves. Stir for a minute.
3. Add the tomato and chilli powder. Cook until the tomato is pulpy.
4. Add the cluster beans, turmeric, salt and amchur powder. Mix.
5. Add ¼ cup/65ml water, cover the pan and cook until the cluster beans are tender, adding additional water if required.
6. Add jaggery to taste. Mix well. Cook until the jaggery melts and blends with the other ingredients.
7. Remove from the heat.Serve hot.

Bitter, Sweet & Tangy Turkey Berries

Turkey berries, also known as pea eggplants, are hailed for their medicinal properties and traditionally used in the treatment of a number of diseases like indigestion, colds and coughs, anemia and diabetes.

The fresh, green berries are used as an ingredient in different cuisines to make a whole gamut of dishes ranging from soups to chilli pastes. The following recipe is a simple way to cook and include these berries in your daily diet. The berries have a bitter taste and removing some of their seeds helps in reducing the bitterness.


Serves 4


190g  turkey berries
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
4 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon ground black peppercorns
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon de-seeded tamarind pulp
Salt to taste
2 teaspoons jaggery, or to taste


  1. Using a mortal and pestle, slightly crush the turkey berries until they pop open.
    Place the crushed berries in a bowl and wash in 2-3 changes of water to remove some of their seeds.
  2. Heat the oil in a medium pan.
  3. When the oil is hot, add the garlic cloves and cumin seeds. Stir for a minute and then add peppercorns, turmeric and the washed berries. Stir for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Extract the juice of tamarind in 1/2 cup/125ml water and add to the berries. Add salt. Mix.
  5. Cover the pan and cook for 15-20 minutes until the berries are tender and the water has evaporated.
  6. Add jaggery and mix. Cook until the jaggery melts and blends with the berries.
    Turn off the heat.
  7. Serve hot.

Lotus Stem Tawa-Fry

In this recipe, the beautiful lotus stem is cooked using little oil. The lotus stem becomes tender but remains deliciously crisp and has an unforgettable mildly sweet flavour. Serve this as a snack or side dish.

When you prepare the stem, you need to wash the stem thoroughly to remove any dirt trapped in the hollow tubes.


Serves 4 to 6


500g lotus stem, peeled, trimmed, cut into ¼-inch thick roundels, washed and rinsed in lime water

1 teaspoon salt, or to taste

½ teaspoon red chilli powder, or to taste

¼ teaspoon turmeric powder

½ cup/80g rice flour

3 tablespoons fine semolina

Vegetable oil to shallow fry


  1. Place the prepared lotus stem in a bowl.
  2. Add the salt, red chilli powder and turmeric powder. Mix to evenly coat the stem.
  3. Place the rice flour and semolina in a plate. Mix well.
  4. Coat the lotus stem with the flour evenly.
  5. Heat a griddle or tawa over medium heat. Smear it lightly with the oil.
  6. Working in batches, place the lotus stem on the heated griddle and cook on both sides, until golden, adding some more oil if necessary. Remove to a plate.
  7. Serve hot.

Knol Khol (Kohlrabi) Sambar

Sambar is a popular South Indian stew made from husked and split pigeon peas (toor dal) and an array of vegetables. It gets its main flavouring from Sambar powder, an aromatic spice powder, which is easily available in Indian groceries around the world.
I have added only knol khol here so that its lovely flavour is not overridden by other vegetables. Serve this with plain boiled rice for a tasty lunch.


Serves 4
½ cup/115g toor dal
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
½ teaspoon black mustard seeds
10-15 fresh curry leaves
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon asafoetida
500g knol khol, peeled and cut into bite-size cubes
½ teaspoon de-seeded tamarind chunk
Salt to taste
2 teaspoons Sambar powder, or more to taste

1. Cook the toor dal in a pressure cooker until tender, following the instructions of the manufacturer.

2. Heat the oil in a pan over medium-low heat. When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds. When the seeds begin to sputter, add the curry leaves and stir until fragrant.

3. Add the turmeric powder and asafoetida. Give a good stir before adding the knol khol. Add 1 cup/250ml water and cook until tender.

4. Extract the juice of tamarind in ½ cup/125ml water and discard the pulp. Add the tamarind juice and toor dal (along with the cooking liquid) to the vegetable. Mix and bring to a boil.

5. Add salt to taste and Sambar powder. Mix and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, before removing from the heat.

6. Serve hot.

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