Friday, September 2, 2022



This nutritious climbing vine with the botanical name of "Basella alba" is called "Malabar Spinach", "Indian Spinach" or "Ceylon Spinach". In my mother tongue, Konkani, we call it "Vaali". It is called "Basale Soppu" in Kannada and "Bachali Kura" in Telugu. 

This fast growing creeper plant has numerous health benefits. 

Even with the limited space available in a balcony garden, I have grown Vaali in pots which comes in handy from time to time. You can easily grow them by planting the firm stem in a pot. 

Elsewhere in this blog you will find other recipes for dishes made with Malabar Spinach such as:-
Today's recipe is from Andhra Pradesh and is made with Malabar spinach and Toor Dal. I have adapted this from Bachali Kura Pappu from Sailu's Foods.  

We enjoyed this for lunch with hot steamed rice.  


  • Toor Dal/ Arhar Dal, 3/4 cup 
  • Malabar Spinach, chopped and tightly packed, 2 and 1/2 cups
  • Onion, 1
  • Turmeric Powder, 1/4 tsp
  • Green Chillies, 3
  • Ginger, finely chopped, 1/2 tsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Water, 2 cups
  • Tamarind Paste, 1 tbsp
For Seasoning:-
  • Mustard Seeds, 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin Seeds, 1/2 tsp
  • Garlic Cloves, crushed, 4
  • Byadgi Dry Red Chillies, 2 (broken into halves)
  • Curry Leaves, 1 sprig
  • Oil, 2 tsp

Wash the Malabar Spinach thoroughly in several changes of water, remove the leaves from the stems
(You can also add stems which are tender)
Chop the spinach leaves and the stems 
Chop the onion and ginger
Slit the green chillies

Wash the Toor Dal  and pressure cook it in a vessel along with the chopped spinach, chopped onion, slit green chillies, finely chopped ginger and turmeric powder, adding 2 cups of water
Pressure cook for two whistles and wait for the cooker to cool
Remove the vessel and lightly mash the cooked dal

Heat oil in a kadhai and on medium heat add the mustard seeds
When they splutter add the cumin seeds and when they sizzle add the crushed garlic, broken red chillies and curry leaves and sauté 
Add this seasoning to the cooked dal, add salt to taste, and tamarind paste and mix well
Now add 1/2 cup of water and bring to a boil
Lower the flame and let it simmer for about 5-7 minutes
Adjust the consistency of the dal by adding water only if required 
Transfer the Malabar Spinach Dal to a serving bowl 
Serve hot with steamed rice or rotis.

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