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Beet Palya – South Indian Stir Fry

Beet Palya – South Indian Stir Fry

beet palya stir fry

Try this deliciously beety take on a classic South Indian dry stir fry curry.
By Chitra Agrawal

beets stir fried with spices, coconut, lemon and cilantro

Palya is the name for a dry stir fry curry that’s made in the southern Indian state of Karnataka where my mother is from. She gave me this recipe, but I have modified it a bit to tone down the spices for my tum. This style of curry usually consists of seeds and dry dals that are fried with chili and curry leaf.

Beets are another vegetable that I love and they also happen to lower acidity in the body. Beets are just really good for you in general and if you are vegetarian they are even more important because they include a great deal of iron.

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Since I was very young, I always enjoyed and was intrigued by this vegetable because of the coloring it would leave behind on my plate. The coloring is so strong that you can actually dye fabric with it and apparently a lot of items in my kitchen (cutting board, dish towel, floor, stove, etc.).

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Beet Palya (South Indian Stir Fry)

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  • Author: Chitra Agrawal
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


beets fried up with Indian spices, coconut, lemon and cilantro.


  • 3 cups beets, cubed
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • pinch of hing (asafoetida )
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustards seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon urad dal
  • 1 teaspoon chana dal
  • 2 fresh curry leaves (I usually freeze my leaves to keep them longer)
  • 1 dry red chili (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • salt to taste
  • 12 tablespoons frozen fresh grated coconut (optional since beets are pretty sweet)
  • lemon (optional)
  • cilantro for garnish


  1. Cut beets into small cubed pieces.
  2. In a pan heat oil under a medium flame.
  3. Put in a good pinch of hing.
  4. When it is golden, add the seeds and dal.
  5. When the urad dal starts to become brown, add the curry leaf and the chili broken in half.
  6. To this add the cut beets and turmeric.
  7. Mix it all up and continue to cook.
  8. Cover and check on them every few minutes. Add a few tablespoons of water to make sure the beets do not stick to the pan.
  9. Cook them for about 15-20 minutes until they are tender.
  10. Turn off the heat and add salt, lemon and coconut and mix.
  11. Garnish with cilantro.
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
View Comments (5)
  • Hi! Your beet recipe looks delicious, thank you for sharing:) I have a question about the dals- do they need to be precooked, or can you just fry them hard? I just received beets in my Boston Organics delivery and I can’t wait to try this for my Karnatakan husband:)

  • in your description about the recipe,you could also mention how it can be had. What i mean to say is whether it can be had with roti or as a side dish etc. Just a suggestion.

  • I will try this, but would also like to know what the version that isn’t toned down contains…
    How much spices in your mother’s recipe?
    I prefer more spicy food and it’s really hard to find recipes in English which aren’t “toned down” I would like to try something “authentic spicy”

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