Indian palya

beetroot palya

11th April 2019

I prefer to keep this palya simple and the flavours subtle, as it is normally served with other complex dishes. Use fresh, small-medium sized beetroot with lots of flavour and preferably with their greens attached – a reliable sign of freshness. Always give them a squeeze to avoid buying old spongy beetroot that has been stored too long.

~ vegetable garden and blossoms ~

beetroot palya

Preparation – 40 minutes

Serves 4, as a side dish.


4-5 medium/450g beetroot


2 Tbsp peanut oil

½ tsp mustard seeds

15 small curry leaves

½ tsp fine rock salt

1 tsp jaggery

3 Tbsp finely chopped fresh dill

3 Tbsp freshly grated coconut – can replace with dried

to serve 

whole moong dal with garden greens




1.  Scrub the beetroot and place in a pot of boiling water – simmer for 30 minutes until tender but still firm.

2.  Drain and allow to cool slightly. Using vinyl gloves (this will keep your hands clean while working with beets) slip the skin off. If the skin doesn’t slip off easily, use a knife to scrape the skin away. Finely chop into small uniformed cubes and place in a serving bowl.

prepare the voggarane 

3.  Heat the oil in a small pan, add the mustard seeds; when they turn grey and pop, remove from heat, add in the curry leaves, swishing the pan around for the leaves to fry evenly. Turn off the heat and allow to cool for 1 – 2 minutes, then stir in the salt and jaggery.

4.  Pour the voggarane over the beetroot – toss until well-incorporated.

5.  Add the finely chopped dill and sprinkle over the coconut – stir to combine. Garnish with a handful of small beetroot leaves.  Serve warm, or at room temperature.


  • Stir through 1  cup full-fat yoghurt.


  • If buying beets with their greens still attached, lightly steam the greens when boiling the beet, double the voggarane and stir through.

roasted pumpkin palya

25th October 2015


from garden to table…

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There is something about the shape and colour of a pumpkin in their round jolly state, glowing bright and light amongst the blackened droopy leaves and tangled stems, that makes you smile.

Particularly now, after being absent from the garden for three weeks, attending our yearly yoga retreat in India.  I came back full of calm and brightness to a garden that had too many dreary wet days, causing the tomato and zucchini plants to melt, far too early in the season.  The sight of not one, two, but three, bright balls of sunshine ignited hope and light into a neglected garden.  They had survived a long absence, a storm and a take-over of zillions of snails.


pumpkin palya

Inspired by Sandya’s place in Mysore.

serves 4


1 kg pumpkin, peeled & chopped 

4 Tbsp ghee – divided

1 red/60g capsicum, finely chopped


1 tsp black mustard seeds

1 Tbsp split channa dal

1 tsp split urad dal

¼ tsp asafoetida powder

6 – 8 fresh curry leaves

2 Tbsp dried coconut

salt to taste

¼ cup coriander leaves, chopped


1.  Preheat the oven 210 C/410 F. Line a rimmed baking tray with baking paper.

2. Wash the pumpkin, peel and chop into 1½ cm pieces.  Place in a bowl and drizzle with 2 tablespoons ghee, toss until well coated, then place on the baking tray in the oven to roast until soft and golden brown around the edges, approximately 30 – 40 minutes.

prepare the voggarane

3.  In a heavy-bottomed skillet over high heat, add remaining ghee and mustard seeds; when the seeds turn grey and pop, add the channa and urad dal – fry until both dals are golden-brown, then add the asafoetida and curry leaves – fry for a few seconds, swishing the pan around for the spices to fry evenly.

4.  Add the capsicum and fry for 2 – 3 minutes.

5.  Turn off the heat, add the coconut and roasted pumpkin. Mix well, season with salt and sprinkle with coriander when serving.

Serve with chapati, dosa or your favourite grain dish.


Goodness shared from Stacey

broccoli palya

8th February 2015


After not being able to make it to the garden for a while, I was overjoyed to find a blanket of these smaller stems of sprouting broccoli, which are actually masses of tight flower buds.  Buds that, left unharvested, will open into nectar-heavy, yellow flowers which the bees and butterflies love.

If you catch them before the buds burst into an explosion of yellow, the shoots are at their most sweet and tender.

Broccoli is a tough plant in the garden and will survive the hardest frost.  This is what we have had here in Sintra this last week, waking up to a carpet of icicles covering the lawn.  My garden is situated a little hidden and deeper down, it manages to be protected from most of nature’s elements.  Snails however devoured every leaf of last years crop but the broccoli survived and here they are now, gifting our family with their delicate presence.

I also use the smaller leaves just below the bud as I would kale or spinach.

broccoli palya

Enough for 4, as a side dish.

This is a very quick, bright-tasting dish. Be careful when stir-frying the broccoli as the tight flower buds tend to burn before the stems are tender.  Splash water over the top and saute them on low heat.  This is a side dish to any dal or kitcheree.  I try to keep the broccoli true to itself and add very minimal seasonings.  An Asian dish also would work well, like this one of Donna’s.


4 cups garden-picked thin broccoli buds with stems and leaves, no need to chop (or 2 medium store-bought broccoli – thicker stems removed and roughly chopped)

1 Tbsp peanut oil

½ tsp black mustard seeds

½ tsp jaggery/ brown sugar

1 Tbsp dried coconut

salt to taste


1.  In a skillet, heat the oil, when hot, add the mustard seeds; when they start to splatter and pop, turn down the heat and add the broccoli.

2.  Sprinkle over some water and move them around a bit.  Place the lid on for 1 minute, remove, then stir, replace lid, then steam for another minute.

3.  Add the jaggery, salt and coconut.

4.  Remove from heat so the stems are al dente and still have some crunch.  Serve and eat immediately with dal of choice or kichadi.


      Goodness shared from Stacey

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