Savor the Essence of South India with Keerai Kadayal

Keerai Kadayal, a beloved South Indian classic, is a culinary masterpiece that elevates fresh leafy greens to new heights. This traditional dish embodies the essence of South Indian cuisine, where vibrant flavors and wholesome ingredients come together in perfect harmony.

In Keerai Kadayal, a medley of tender leafy greens, such as spinach, amaranth, or your preferred choice, are meticulously washed and finely chopped. These vibrant greens serve as the canvas for a culinary journey that embraces tradition and taste.

The magic begins with a tempering of aromatic spices. Mustard seeds, urad dal, cumin seeds, dried red chilies, and a hint of asafoetida sizzle and dance in a pan, releasing their captivating fragrance. As they crackle and turn golden, they lay the foundation for the dish’s flavor profile.

Next comes the artful sautéing of the greens. They sizzle as they hit the pan, gradually wilting and softening. This process infuses them with a depth of flavor while preserving their vibrant green hue. It’s a transformation from raw to succulent, from earthy to delightful.

Freshly grated coconut, a hallmark of South Indian cuisine, makes its entrance, enhancing the greens with its sweet, nutty essence. This addition is not just about flavor but also about texture, creating a delightful contrast to the tender greens.

After this symphony of flavors, a brief interlude is allowed for the mixture to cool. This pause allows the ingredients to meld, forming the foundation for the final crescendo.

The grand finale involves mashing the greens to your desired consistency. Some prefer it smooth, while others savor the texture of slightly chunky greens. It’s a personal touch that makes each Keerai Kadayal unique.

A tantalizing seasoning of coconut oil, mustard seeds, urad dal, and fragrant curry leaves is the pièce de resistance. It adds that irresistible South Indian flair, a burst of flavor that ties the dish together.

This meticulously crafted Keerai Kadayal is now ready to take its place on your plate. It’s a dish that embodies the rich culinary heritage of South India, where tradition meets taste. Serve it alongside steaming hot rice for a comforting meal, or pair it with dosa and idli for an authentic South Indian experience. Whichever way you savor it, Keerai Kadayal is a celebration of flavor, nutrition, and culinary finesse that will transport your taste buds to the heart of South India.

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Difficulty: Beginner Prep Time 10 min Cook Time 10 min Total Time 20 mins
Servings: 4
Best Season: Suitable throughout the year


Keerai Kadayal is a traditional South Indian dish featuring fresh leafy greens mashed and seasoned with a blend of aromatic spices. This nutritious and flavorful recipe serves as a delightful accompaniment to steamed rice or complements various South Indian meals.



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  1. Start by taking masoor dal and washing it twice in a pressure cooker.

  2. Add shallots, garlic cloves and green chillies.

  3. Add turmeric powder.

  4. Add water till to cover the dal.

  5. Pressure cooks over a medium flame for 3 whistles.

  6. Use stone pot for an authentic taste.

  7. Do not heat an empty clay or stone pot, always heat with water.

  8. Add the chopped spinach in to the water.

  9. Cook for few minutes until it's wilted. At the end it came 1/4th part of that pot.

  10. In this time add cooked and mashed moong dal in to it.

  11. Mix everything well and allow to cook for 2-3 minutes.

  12. Switch off he flame once it reaches it’s desired consistency.

  13. Smash the spinach with wooden masher.

  14. Mash the spinach continuously, it’ll be easier if it is warm.

  15. To tempering, heat oil in a pan.

  16. Add mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Allow them to splutter.

  17. Add whole dried red chillies to get nice aroma.

  18. Add chopped onion sauté until they turn translucent.

  19. Add salt to this onion.

  20. Add this tempering in to the mashed spinach.

  21. Now add the required salt to this spinach and mix well.

  22. Healthy and delicious Pasalai Keerai Kadayal (Spinach/Palak) is now ready to be served


  • You can use any variety of leafy vegetable for this same recipe.
  • Do not add salt in the beginning stage, to cook the spinach, it will change to dark in colour.
  • Do not cover and cook all types of leafy vegetables.
  • Add cumin seeds once the mustard seeds have spluttered halfway. Do not over burn the cumin seeds. It will affect the whole taste
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Gomathi Ramesh

Food Blogger

Hi there! I am Gomathi Ramesh, a full-time food blogger, mother of 2 beautiful daughters and a lovely wife. I come from a family of fantastic cooks and I’m here to share generations of recipes that are homey, fresh, healthy, family-friendly, authentic, and adventurous. Most importantly, our recipes taste great and you can trust that they actually work.

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