Tuesday, March 28, 2023



The Malabar Spinach is a climbing vine much akin to the usual spinach. It is also called Vine Spinach. This is called "Basale Soppu" in Kannada and "Vaali" in my mother tongue, Konkani.

This plant has numerous health benefits. I have this growing in pots at home 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 recipes for dishes made with Malabar Spinach such as:-
Today's dish is popular in my Home State of Karnataka where it is usually served with hot steamed rice. This is an easy to make dish which is both tasty and good for health.  

I have adapted this from Basale Soppina Sambar from Swayam Paaka. 

Do try this out and I am sure you will like this dish. 


  • Malabar Spinach (Basale Soppu/Vaali), a big bunch -to yield 3 cups when chopped 
  • Toor Dal, 1/2 cup
  • Turmeric Powder, 1/4 tsp
  • Oil, 1/2 tsp
  • Jaggery, 1-2 tsp
  • Onion, 1
  • Tamarind, size of a small lemon
  • Salt, to taste
For The Masala:-
  • Chana Dal, 1 tbsp
  • Byadgi Red Chillies, 7
  • Coriander Seeds, 2 tbsp
  • Cumin Seeds, 1/2 tsp
  • Fenugreek seeds, 1/4 tsp
  • Oil, 1/4 tsp
  • Fresh Coconut Gratings, 1/4 cup (heaped) 
For Seasoning:-
  • Mustard Seeds, 1/2 tsp
  • Asafoetida (Hing), 1/8 tsp 
  • Broken Red Chilli, 1, broken into half 
  • Oil, 2 tsp

Remove the Malabar Spinach/ Basale Soppu from their stems. The tender stems can also be used in this dish.
Wash and chop the leaves and the tender stems

Chop the onion
Soak the tamarind in adequate water and extract the juice

Wash and pressure cook the toor dal in 1 and 1/2 cups of water, adding 1/4 tsp of turmeric powder and 1/2 tsp of oil
Cook for 2 to 3 whistles or till the dal gets done
Once the cooker cools, remove the cooked dal, mash it and keep aside

In a small pan, heat 1/2 tap of oil and on medium heat add the chana dal, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds and red chilies and roast till the dal changes colour
To this add the coconut gratings and mix. Switch off the gas.
Allow the roasted ingredients to cool then transfer them to a small mixer jar
Grind to a smooth paste adding the required amount of water. Keep aside

In a vessel, boil 1/2 cup of water and add the chopped Malabar Spinach and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Do remember that this spinach gets cooked quite fast. 
To this add the chopped onion, the prepared masala, salt to taste, jaggery and tamarind extract and mix well 
Cook on medium heat for 5-6 minutes 
Now add the cooked and mashed toor dal and enough water to get the required consistency
Let it cook for another 6-8 minutes stirring from time to time
Switch off the gas

In a small pan, heat 2 tsp of oil and on medium heat add the mustard seeds. When they splutter add the asafoetida and broken red chilli and saute for a few seconds
Pour this seasoning on to the Malabar Spinach Sambar

Transfer to serving bowl and serve hot with hot steamed rice 

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