A vegetable side dish is the norm with most Indian rice dishes. You can eat it on its own with Indian bread (chapatti or roti) or Indian pancakes (dosas).

My favourite one was green beans and fresh desiccated coconut. We don’t have the luxury of fresh coconut in Australia – so many of the ones I’ve bought are off and mouldy because it is stored so long in the shops. And it is impossible to get organic ones. So I just use the dried organic desiccated coconut in this recipe. It turns out very well indeed. But of course, nothing can compare to a freshly grated, juicy coconut! Yum.

Right, so let’s get down to what good the ingredients are in this recipe.

Cumin – or jeera helps in digestion and reducing food-borne infections. It promotes weight loss, improves blood sugar, helps asthma and cholestrol and is a rich source of iron. It also helps the body to detoxify naturally.

Turmeric is a superfood that helps to reduce depression, is anti-inflammatory, contains vitamin B6, iron, potassium, etc. and is good for our liver, brain, thyroid, Covid-19 and so much more.

Curry leaves – This little known leaf is amazing in it’s nutrient profile, taken both internally and used externally.

These leaves contain calcium, phosphorus, niacin, Vitamin C and iron. They help to reduce cholesterol levels and manage type 2 diabetes.

They help to reduce the effects of chemotherapy, is good for the eyes, it protects your liver, is anti bacterial, anti fungal, an antioxidant, helps to prevent cancer and is good for your hair and skin.

Got a burn? Reach for the curry leaves. The paste, if applied topically, can help with burns, stings and bites.

Vegetable poriyal or side dish

Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Course: Dinner, lunch
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: dairy free, easy, gluten free, vegetarian
Servings: 4 serves


  • 1 tbsps coconut oil / ghee
  • 1 tsp brown mustard seeds
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 1/2 onion diced (optional)
  • 3-4 garlic pods crushed / diced (optional)
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp asafoetida
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper powder
  • 1/4 cup split urud dhal
  • 2 medium carrots diced small
  • 2 medium potatoes peeled, diced smallish
  • 1 cup kale chopped fine
  • 1/4 cup water or more if required
  • Any other vegetable you choose to add
  • 1/2 cup desicated coconut


  • Heat a small pan with coconut oil / ghee over high heat
  • Add mustard seeds to the hot oil and turn the stove down to a medium setting
  • When the mustard seeds begin to pop, add the curry leaves & stir for around 10 seconds
  • Add the onions to the mix
  • Once the onions are soft and translucent, add the garlic. Cook until the raw smell of garlic disappears
  • Add the asafoetida and salt, stir for a few seconds
  • Stir in the turmeric and pepper and stir
  • Add the dhal and stir until it turns slightly brown
  • Add all the veggies (except any greens)
  • Add the water, cover the pan and let all the veggies cook
  • Once the veggies are cooked, add the desiccated coconut (be mindful as coconut can burn very quickly). Stir for a few seconds
  • Add the greens, mix well, turn the stove off and let the greens steam in the heat till it is wilted
  • Serve hot with some ghee poured on it, with rice and dhal


Koppula S, Choi DK. Cuminum cyminum extract attenuates scopolamine-induced memory loss and stress-induced urinary biochemical changes in rats: a noninvasive biochemical approach. Pharm Biol. 2011;49(7):702-708. doi:10.3109/13880209.2010.541923

Pawar KS, Mastud RN, Pawar SK, Pawar SS, Bhoite RR, Bhoite RR, Kulkarni MV, Deshpande AR. Oral Curcumin With Piperine as Adjuvant Therapy for the Treatment of COVID-19: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Front Pharmacol. 2021 May 28;12:669362. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2021.669362. PMID: 34122090; PMCID: PMC8193734

Ghaffari A, Rafraf M, Navekar R, Sepehri B, Asghari-Jafarabadi M, Ghavami SM. Turmeric and chicory seed have beneficial effects on obesity markers and lipid profile in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Int J Vitam Nutr Res. 2019 Nov;89(5-6):293-302. doi: 10.1024/0300-9831/a000568. Epub 2019 Apr 24. PMID: 31017556.

Curry leaf (Murraya koenigii Spreng.) reduces blood cholesterol and glucose levels in ob/ob mice. Xie JT1Chang WTWang CZMehendale SRLi JAmbihaipahar RAmbihaipahar UFong HHYuan CS. PMID:16552838 DOI: 10.1142/S0192415X06003825

Khedkar, Renu. (2015). Curry leaf (Murraya koenigii L. Spreng) as a functional food. FOOD SCIENCE RESEARCH JOURNAL. 6. 135-141. 10.15740/HAS/FSRJ/6.1/135-141.

Anticancer and anti-inflammatory activities of girinimbine isolated from Murraya koenigii. Drug Des Devel Ther. 2017 ;11:103-121. Epub 2016 Dec 28. PMID: 28096658


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