Kerala Veg Thali Recipe

Kerala Veg Thali Recipe

50 Mins
5-6 People
20 Mins



Growing up in a household where food was not just sustenance but a celebration of culture and tradition, I have always been fascinated by the diversity of Indian cuisine. One of my most cherished culinary experiences was the first time I savored a Kerala Veg Thali — a feast for the senses that showcased the rich flavors and vibrant colors of Kerala's culinary heritage. From fragrant rice to creamy coconut curries and tangy pickles, each element of the thali offered a glimpse into the soul of Kerala cuisine, leaving an indelible impression on my taste buds.




Chef Ajay Chopra's Kerala Veg Thali Recipe


Moru Kadhi



  • 2 cups curd
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 2 whole red chillies
  • 1/2 tbsp ginger julienne
  • 3-4 green chillies (slit)
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 2 tbsp sliced shallots
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 8-10 curry leaves
  • 1/2 tbsp grated coconut




  1. Dilute the curd by adding water in a bowl.
  2. Heat coconut oil in a pot over medium-high flame.
  3. Add mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, whole red chillies, ginger julienne, slit green chillies, chopped garlic, and sliced shallots. Stir well.
  4. Add salt, turmeric powder, and curry leaves. Cook for a few minutes.
  5. Pour the diluted curd into the pot and simmer for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Add grated coconut and continue cooking until the mixture thickens.
  7. Moru Kadhi is ready to be served.



Parippu Curry



  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 2 dry red chillies
  • 8-9 curry leaves
  • 1/2 tbsp ginger julienne
  • 3-4 green chillies (slit)
  • 1 tsp hing
  • 1 cup tur dal (soaked)
  • 5-6 shallots
  • 5-6 pieces drumstick
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomato
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tbsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 cups water



  1. Heat coconut oil in a pot over medium heat.
  2. Add mustard seeds and let them splutter.
  3. Add dry red chillies, curry leaves, and hing. Let them crackle.
  4. Roast soaked tur dal until golden brown.
  5. Add sliced shallots and cook until translucent.
  6. Add chopped tomatoes, drumsticks, salt, red chilli powder, and turmeric powder. Sauté for a couple of minutes.
  7. Pour water into the pot and bring it to a boil. Simmer until tur dal and drumsticks are cooked.
  8. Parippu Curry is ready to be served.



Raw Mango Rasam



  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 green chilli (slit)
  • 6-8 curry leaves
  • 1 tbsp chopped ginger
  • 1 cup chopped tomato
  • 1/2 cup raw mango
  • 1 tsp hing
  • 1 cup boiled tur dal
  • 2 tbsp rasam powder
  • 1/2 tbsp salt
  • 1 tbsp jaggery powder

For Tempering:

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tbsp mustard seeds
  • 6-8 curry leaves

For Rasam Powder:

  • 5-6 dry red chillies
  • 20-25 black pepper
  • 1/2 tbsp methi seeds
  • 4 tbsp coriander
  • 2 tbsp jeera
  • 1 tbsp chana dal
  • 2 tbsp tur dal
  • 1 tsp hing
  • 12-15 curry leaves



  1. Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds, green chilli, curry leaves, and chopped ginger. Let them crackle.
  2. Add chopped tomatoes and sauté.
  3. Add raw mango slices, hing, and cook.
  4. Add boiled tur dal, water, rasam powder, salt, and jaggery. Boil the mixture.
  5. Heat oil in another pan and add mustard seeds, curry leaves. Let them crackle.
  6. Pour this tempering over the rasam and stir.
  7. Raw Mango Rasam is ready to serve.



French Beans Thoran



  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp chopped ginger
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp chopped garlic
  • 1 tsp chopped green chilli
  • 1 tbsp chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup diced carrot
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 10-12 curry leaves
  • 1 cup diced French beans
  • 1/4 cup grated coconut



  1. Heat a pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add chopped garlic, mustard seeds, chopped ginger, and chopped green chillies. Cook until fragrant.
  3. Add chopped onions and cook until translucent.
  4. Add diced carrots and salt. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Add diced French beans and cook until tender.
  6. Add grated coconut and cook for 2 more minutes.
  7. French Beans Thoran is ready to be served.



Cucumber Pachadi



  • 1 cup diced cucumber
  • 1 cup curd
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 8-10 curry leaves
  • 1 dry red chilli
  • 1 tsp chopped ginger
  • 1 tsp chopped green chilli
  • 1/2 tbsp urad dal
  • 1 tsp salt
  • A pinch of black pepper powder
  • 1/2 tbsp chopped coriander



  1. Heat a pan, add coconut oil, dry red chilli, chopped ginger, chopped green chilli, urad dal, and curry leaves. Sauté.
  2. Remove the pan from heat.
  3. Add chopped cucumber and curd. Mix well.
  4. Cucumber Pachadi is ready to serve.



Red Rice



  • 1 cup soaked red rice
  • 1 litre water
  • 1 tsp ghee
  • 1 tsp salt



  1. Soak the rice in water for 30 minutes.
  2. Bring a pot of water to a boil.
  3. Add the soaked red rice, ghee, and salt to the pot.
  4. Cook for 20-25 minutes until the rice is tender.
  5. Strain the water and serve the red rice.



Parippu Payasam



  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 2 cups soaked chana dal
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup jaggery
  • 1/2 tsp dry ginger powder
  • 1 tsp cardamom powder
  • A pinch of nutmeg powder
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp chopped almond and cashew
  • 1 tbsp grated coconut




  1. Heat a pan and add ghee.
  2. Add soaked chana dal and roast.
  3. Pour water and let it boil.
  4. Add grated jaggery and cook until it melts.
  5. Stir in dry ginger powder, cardamom powder, and nutmeg powder.
  6. Add coconut milk and let it simmer.
  7. In a separate pan, roast chopped almonds and cashews in ghee.
  8. Add the roasted nuts to the payasam.
  9. Bring to a boil and remove from heat.
  10. Parippu Payasam is ready to be served.


Now, you're all set to enjoy a delicious Kerala Veg Thali prepared with Chef Ajay Chopra's expert guidance. Explore more culinary adventures with his recipes, courses, and books!





About the Recipe


A Kerala Veg Thali is a traditional South Indian meal served on a banana leaf and typically consists of an array of dishes that highlight the region's agricultural bounty and culinary traditions. Central to the thali is the use of fresh, locally sourced ingredients such as coconut, rice, spices, and a variety of vegetables. Common dishes include sambar (a lentil-based vegetable stew), avial (a mixed vegetable curry with coconut), thoran (a dry vegetable stir-fry), rasam (a tangy tamarind soup), papadum (crispy lentil wafers), and pickle. The thali is often accompanied by steamed rice and served with a side of yogurt or buttermilk to balance the flavors. Kerala Veg Thali is not just a meal but an experience that celebrates the cultural and culinary heritage of Kerala.



Cooking Tips


1. Use Fresh Ingredients

To capture the authentic flavors of Kerala cuisine, use fresh and locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. This includes fresh coconut, vegetables, and aromatic spices.

2. Master the Art of Coconut

Coconut is a key ingredient in Kerala cooking, imparting a rich and creamy texture to dishes. Learn to extract coconut milk and use it in curries and gravies for an authentic Kerala flavor.

3. Balance Flavors

Kerala cuisine is known for its harmonious balance of flavors, including sweetness from coconut, tanginess from tamarind or yogurt, and heat from spices. Taste and adjust the seasoning of each dish to achieve the perfect balance of flavors.



Pairing Guide


A Kerala Veg Thali pairs well with a variety of accompaniments such as steamed rice, appam (rice pancakes), idiyappam (string hoppers), or parotta (layered flatbread). Serve with a side of coconut chutney, mango pickle, or banana chips for added flavor and texture.




Frequently Asked Questions about Kerala Veg Thali


  1. What is Kerala Veg Thali? Kerala Veg Thali is a traditional South Indian meal served on a banana leaf, consisting of a variety of dishes such as sambar, avial, thoran, rasam, papadum, and pickle, served with steamed rice and accompanied by yogurt or buttermilk.

  2. What are the key ingredients in Kerala Veg Thali? Key ingredients in Kerala Veg Thali include coconut, rice, lentils, vegetables, spices, tamarind, and yogurt.

  3. How is Kerala Veg Thali served? Kerala Veg Thali is typically served on a banana leaf with each dish arranged in separate compartments. Diners use their hands to enjoy the meal, mixing the various flavors and textures as they please.

  4. Can I customize Kerala Veg Thali to my taste preferences? Yes, you can customize Kerala Veg Thali by adjusting the spiciness, sweetness, and tanginess of the dishes to suit your taste preferences. Feel free to add or omit ingredients according to your liking.

  5. Is Kerala Veg Thali vegetarian? Yes, Kerala Veg Thali is a vegetarian meal that excludes meat, fish, and eggs. It is enjoyed by vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike for its delicious flavors and variety of dishes.

  6. What are some popular side dishes served with Kerala Veg Thali? Popular side dishes served with Kerala Veg Thali include coconut chutney, mango pickle, banana chips, and pappadam (crispy lentil wafers).

  7. Can I find Kerala Veg Thali in restaurants outside of Kerala? Yes, Kerala Veg Thali is increasingly available in restaurants outside of Kerala, especially in South Indian restaurants that specialize in regional cuisine.

  8. How do I eat Kerala Veg Thali? To enjoy Kerala Veg Thali, start by mixing the rice with the various curries and accompaniments using your fingers. Take small portions of each dish and savor the flavors together.

  9. What makes Kerala Veg Thali unique? Kerala Veg Thali is unique for its use of fresh coconut, aromatic spices, and diverse range of vegetarian dishes that showcase the culinary heritage of Kerala.

  10. Can I make Kerala Veg Thali at home? Yes, you can recreate Kerala Veg Thali at home by following traditional recipes and using authentic ingredients. Experiment with different dishes and flavors to create your own Kerala-inspired feast.