Kerala Kitchen: South Indian Side Dishes

The names of these side dishes were told to me in the local language, Malayalam, and the cooking instructor didn’t know how to translate them. They’re basically: cabbage with coconut, beetroot without coconut and okra (aka – bhindi, aka- lady’s fingers) without coconut. I’m sure they have fancy restaurant menu names, but I couldn’t figure them out. I’ve had each of them with thali at restaurants, but I don’t recall them as individual items on any menu. Oh well, who needs names anyway?

Last two recipes: Mixed Veg with Indian Gravy (North Indian) and Tomato Curry (South Indian)

Cabbage recipe, serves 2

Cabbage CookingIngredients
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp black mustard seeds

½ medium-sized cabbage, sliced
½ medium-sized red onion, sliced
2 chilies, sliced length-wise  (This gives medium heat. Add more or less depending on your personal preference.)
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 cup grated coconut
½ tsp salt

Step 1: Heat oil in pan. When hot, add mustard seeds and cook for about 30 seconds over medium heat.

Step 2: Add onion and chili slices, and sauté until golden brown. Then add turmeric powder and mix well.

Step 3: After 1 minute, add grated coconut and mix well. Then mix in the cabbage slices.  Finally, add salt and mix well.

Step 4: Bring the heat to low and cover the pan. Cook for 5-7 minutes, occasionally stirring. Aim for an al dente cabbage, and then the dish is done.

Beetroot recipe, serves 2

Beetroot Side DishIngredients
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp black mustard seeds

2 beetroots, sliced into thick matchsticks
½ large red onion, sliced
2 chilies, sliced length-wise  (This gives medium heat. Add more or less depending on your personal preference.)
½ tsp salt

Step 1: Heat oil in pan. When hot, add mustard seeds and cook for about 30 seconds over medium heat.

Step 2: Add onions, beets and chilies to the pan and mix. Then add the salt and toss to combine.

Step 3: Cover the mixture with a lid and cook over low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Aim for an al dente beetroot, and then the dish is done.

Okra recipe, serves 2

Okra Side Dish IngredientsIngredients
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp black mustard seeds

12 okra (also know as: lady fingers), cut into 1” cubes
1 small red onion, sliced
2 chilies, sliced length-wise  (This gives medium heat. Add more or less depending on your personal preference.)
1 tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp salt

Step 1: Heat oil in pan. When hot, add mustard seeds and cook for about 30 seconds over medium heat.

Step 2: Add onions, okra and chilies to the pan and mix well. Cover the mixture with a lid and cook over low heat for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Step 3: Add turmeric and toss to combine. When okra feels al dente, add salt and cook on low heat for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. (It’s ok if the okra browns.) Switch heat off and let sit covered until ready to serve.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this Indian recipe series. I’ll be on the lookout for more cooking class opportunities in SE Asia. Stay tuned…

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3 responses to “Kerala Kitchen: South Indian Side Dishes

    • Yes, please let us know! We just made the tomato curry and had to use canned whole tomatoes because we couldn’t find fresh ones (weird), but it turned out really good. Worth a try!

  1. Pingback: Indian chicken curry with chickpeas and spinach – Taste.com.au | Corner Recipes

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