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A bowl of steamed rice with a serving of South Indian Spinach & Lentils Keerai | Kootu | Curry on top
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South Indian Spinach & Lentils Keerai | Kootu | Curry

South Indian Keerai is a simple vegan curry made with spinach and lentils that are cooked in spiced coconut base and then tempered with aromatic Indian spices. This recipe is healthy & delicious and tastes great when paired with steamed rice. A very traditional easy to make dish with step by step pictures.
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Asian, Indian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes


  • 1 pound spinach
  • 1 cup tur dal
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • water/vegetable stock as needed
  • Salt as required
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • 2-3 green chillies
  • 2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tbsp urad dal
  • 5-6 curry leaves
  • Pinch asafoetida
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro


  • First chop and rinse spinach and transfer it to a vessel. Add tur dal lentils, water or stock, salt and turmeric powder to it and boil it. I usually boil it in pressure cooker as its just convenient. Give it 4-5 whistles as the lentils must get well cooked. Do not drain the water once done and keep it aside for now. Meanwhile, in a blender jar, add fresh shredded coconut, green chillies and cumin seeds. Blitz to a smooth paste. Add water as required if its too dry. Keep it aside for now. Also prepare rice in a rice cooker because that ways you can immediately enjoy keerai rice once its done. :)
    Heat oil in a pan, temper mustard seeds. Once they begin to splatter, add urad dal, asafoetida and curry leaves. Fry for 30 seconds or till the urad dal turns golden. Then add the coconut mixture to the pan and fry for 2-3 minutes. Then add the boiled spinach and lentils mixture to the pan. Simmer and bring it to a boil. If the curry is too liquid, then just mix little flour and water and add it to the pan.It will thicken instantly. Lastly garnish it with chopped cilantro and take it off the flame. Serve it warm with steamed rice.