South Indian Vegetable Curry

When my friend Tung came back from a wedding in India, she was raving so much about the perfectly delicious vegetarian food, that I began looking for recipes. This simple curry is a winner. And if you can’t find curry leaves, it’s still delicious:


  • 4-5cups mixed vegetables, cut into chunky slivers about 1 1/2 inches long (I used half a cauliflower, 1 zuccini, two carrots, and a cup of green beans)
  • 1/2tsp turmeric or one piece of fresh turmeric, grated
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 15 oz can coconut milk (not the light kind)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1tsp yellow split peas
  • 1large dried chipotle or other med hot chile
  • 1-2tbsp coconut oil (more oil means more flavor)
  • 2sprigs (about 25-30) curry leaves
  • 1tsp black or brown mustard seeds
  • 1-inchknob ginger (cut into thin slivers)
  • clove grated garlic
  • 1/2cup greek yogurt
  • Salt to taste
  • lime
  • chopped cashews and grated fresh coconut, if you have some, for garnish


  1. Place all the carrots and cauliflower into a large pot with 1 cup of water and turmeric and salt. cook 10. min or so and add other veges. cook another 5 min.
  2. Place the coconut milk in the blender with the ground cumin, pepper, garam masala and split peas. Blend into a paste. Set aside.
  3. When the veggies are cooked — it should take no more than 15-20 minutes — add the coconut paste to the veggies and stir well to mix. Let the curry come to a gentle boil over medium-low heat.
  4. Turn off the heat and add the yogurt & lime juice. Stir to mix but be careful not to mash up the veggies because they’ll be very tender at this stage.
  5. Heat the oil. Add mustard seeds and when they sputter, add the curry leaves, garlic and the ginger. Saute for a minute or two until the fragrance permeates the house.
  6. Pour the tempering over the avial and stir to mix.  Garnish, if you wish, with cashews and some fresh coconut.
  7. Serve hot with rice.