Simple Kerala recipes for beginners – part 1- Spinach


Simple Kerala recipes that anyone can try easily, especially beginners who are new to the world of cooking. In this series of articles, I am trying to share with you the simple recipes for dishes that are popular in Kerala. Definitely you will love these delicious as well as nutritious dishes.

Simple Kerala recipes for beginners – a few benefits

Moreover, you don’t need to spend too much time in the kitchen for making these dishes. Likewise, most of the ingredients that we use here are available on a cheaper price. In addition, we can collect many of them readily even from our backyards.

Kerala, being a land of agriculture, we cultivate a lot of vegetables, preferably most of them are seasonal.

Medicinal properties of leafy greens in Kerala

Many of them are having medicinal properties as well, especially during the rainy season.
This is the reason why we use different types of leaves for making dishes during the month of karkidakam. According to the Malayalam calendar, it is the last month that falls in mid July.
Surely we should include leafy greens in our daily diet, for at least one serving. Because they are wonderful source of nutrients, that are essential for our health. Leafy vegetables that are low in calories can boost our health in many ways. For example, those who stick on to such a diet, are at a reduced risk of cardiac disorders. Moreover, these are packed with dietary fibre, and hence surely promise a healthy digestive system.
Similarly, it is equally effective for stress related problems, to consume dark green leafy vegetables on a regular basis.

Read here about some important edible leaves of Kerala.
Like other tropical places, we can find different varieties of spinach ( Cheera in Malayalam language ) in Kerala. Among that, red spinach is the most popular one for making delicious dishes.

Red spinach as an ornamental plant

You can grow this plant easily from seeds, either directly in soil or in pots. If you don’t have enough space in your garden, balconies or courtyards are equally fine. The only requirement is that, the plants should get sunlight for at least six hours a day. Above all, it will be really awesome to keep your red spinach plants with a few bonsai trees or other ornamental plants.

Simple Kerala recipes for beginners
Saplings of Red spinach

Given below are the simple recipes for a few Kerala dishes with red spinach

Usually we use coconut as one of the main ingredients, for Kerala recipes. It not only adds nutrition, but makes our dishes extremely tasty.
Similarly the importance of this, is quite clear from the name of the little state itself. Because Kera literally means coconut and Alam is place, and of course Kerala is the land of coconuts.

Spinach-lentil ( toor dal or split pigeon pea ) curry

Cooking time: 30 minutes
Ingredients needed:

Chopped spinach for recipes
Finely chopped Red spinach


1. Finely chopped spinach 1 cup
2. Lentil 1 cup
3. For grinding
– Grated coconut 3/4 cup
– Red chilli powder 11/2 tsp
– Shallot 2 small
– Garlic 2 cloves
– Turmeric powder ½ tsp
– Cumin powder ¼ tsp
– Salt to taste
4. For seasoning
– Coconut oil 2 tbsps
– Mustard seeds 1tsp
– Curry leaves 2 sprigs
– Dried chilli 2

Red spinach lentil curry


How to make:

First cook lentil to make it soft, and keep aside. Then heat a pan on a medium flame, add one tbsp coconut oil and sauté the chopped spinach.
Meanwhile grind ingredients 2 together in to a fine paste, and mix to the spinach. After that add the cooked lentil, enough water and salt. Stir well to make a thick consistency.
Close the pan and cook for two to three minutes.
Stir once more and keep the pan out of the flame.
Finally, garnish with ingredients 4, and serve hot.
Definitely this less spicy delicious dish will go well with boiled rice or chappathis

Simple Kerala recipes for beginners

Spinach-jackfruit seed stir fry ( Thoran ).

Spinach Jackfruit stir fry

Cooking time 40 minutes
Ingredients needed
1. Red spinach finely chopped 2 Cups
2. Jackfruit seeds cleaned and chopped 1 cup
3. For Grinding
– Grated coconut- 1 cup
– Green chilli- 1 no
– Turmeric powder- ½ tsp
– Garlic – 2 cloves
– Cumin seed powder – ¼ tsp
4. To garnish
– Mustard seeds ½ tsp
– Black gram ( urad dal ) 1 tsp
– Curry leaves 2 sprigs
– Coconut oil as needed
5. Salt to taste

How to prepare

Pressure cook jackfruit seeds, preferably up to two whistles for making it soft. Meanwhile heat a pan, add oil and sauté the chopped spinach leaves.
Furthermore add coarsely ground ingredients 3, jackfruit seeds and salt. Sprinkle a little water, close the pan and cook on a low flame for two to three minutes.
Mix all the ingredients gently, till it becomes free of extra moisture.
Lastly garnish with ingredients 4.
Certainly you will like to have this tasty thoran with boiled rice. Kerala karimeen mappas, Kottayam fish curry etc. are also fine combinations for this, for a meal.

Cutlet with red spinach- simple Kerala recipes for beginners

Simple Kerala recipes for beginners
Red spinach cutlet


Doubtlessly this cutlet is one of the best choices, for people who opt for veg dishes. Surely it is delicious as well as nutritious, and a variety snack for kids.
Likewise you can make it very easily through simple steps. The most important advantage, is that you need only the minimum ingredients as well as cooking time.

Cooking time: 60 minutes
Ingredients needed:
1. Spinach leaves finely chopped 2 cups
2. Potato boiled, peeled and mashed 3 medium sized
3. – Onion chopped 1medium sized
– Green chilli chopped 2 no
– Ginger finely chopped 1 tsp
– Curry leaves finely chopped 1 tsp
4. Fennel seeds crushed 2tsp
Black pepper crushed 1 tsp
5. Salt to taste
6. For coating

-Bread crumbs 1 cup
-Maida made in to batter 1 cup
7. Coconut oil for frying

How to make

To start with, firstly fry ingredients 3 in a little oil till the onion becomes translucent. Secondly add mashed potatoes, crushed fennel seeds, black pepper and salt. Mix well all the ingredients together.
Further make small balls, preferably each one with the size of a lemon. Flatten them by pressing with your palms.
Simultaneously heat oil in a pan on a medium flame.
Before frying the cutlet, first make a thin coating on each cutlet with the maida batter and then bread crumbs.
After that, fry the cutlets in hot oil till the surface becomes golden brown.
Serve your spinach cutlet with tomato sauce, and definitely you will enjoy it with a cup of tea.

Other spinach recipes popular in Kerala

Given above are only a few examples of simple recipes with red spinach. Besides, you can use this nutritious leafy vegetable to make many Kerala dishes.

Likewise Cheera aviyal, cheera pachadi, cheera mutta thoran etc. are a few other dishes.
Of course, you can try even more delicious dishes with red spinach. Because they are really very simple and at the same time highly nutritious.