This is a quick, basic, light, easy-to-digest and no-frills recipe and a great way to get your dose of cooked vegetables in a healthful manner in a meal. It serves as a great accompaniment to roti and rice and gravy based dishes like sambhar, rasam, dhal etc., but can also be enjoyed as is for those veggie lovers out there. You can play with the vegetable combinations to use a combination of seasonal vegetables like carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, beans, peas, cluster beans, beetroot etc. or just use one vegetable at a time. The spices are mild, yet flavorful and aid in enhancing the digestibility of the dish.

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • Vegetables (choose either only 1 vegetable or a mixture of 2-3 vegetables like carrots, cauliflower/cabbage, beans/peas, cluster beans, beetroot, potatoes etc. – finely chopped) (3 cups)
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp split black gram lentils (urad dhal)
  • 1-2 dry red chillies (broken or whole if you don’t want the dish to be too spicy)
  • 5-6 curry leaves
  • 1 pinch of asafetida (hing) powder
  • Salt as per taste
  • 1 tsp oil



  • Heat oil in a pan on high. When warm, add the seeds.
  • As the seeds start to sputter, lower the flame and add urad dhal and keep stirring until the dhal turns reddish brown. Keep stirring and play with the intensity of the flame, since you don’t want the dhal to burn or turn too brown at this stage.
  • Add the chillies, leaves, hing and the vegetables.
  • Add a few drops of water and salt. Cook covered on a medium-high flame for a few minutes until the vegetables are almost done and the water has almost evaporated. In case you have excess water and the vegetables are almost done, cook uncovered on high for a few minutes, stirring as necessary.
  • Turn off the flame and garnish with freshly grated coconut, finely cut coriander leaves if you want.

Note: If you like some crunch in your vegetables, ensure that you don’t overcook them and turn off the flame after cooking on high for 4-5 minutes. Otherwise, medium flame for a slightly longer time, say 7-8 minutes should do. Of course, this really depends on other factors too like choice of vegetable, size they have been cut to etc.

  • I have used poriyal as part of my kids’ lunch on several occasions. Here, I’ve paired poriyal with sambhar-rice and home-made yogurt.

Sambhar Poriyal - Kid Lunch

Tastes (Rasa):

Sweet (vegetables like carrots, beans peas etc., urad dhal), sour (none), salty (salt), pungent (chillies, mustard seeds), bitter (curry leaves, coriander leaves), astringent (asafetida, leaves).

Doshic Influence:

Poriyal is quite tridoshic in nature. Due to its mild nature, it is suitable for pittas. Go slow on the amount of oil, chillies and salt. Due to its light nature, it is suitable for kaphas. Again, watch the amount of oil you add in this for kaphas. Due to its digestive nature, it is good for vatas too. The asafetida is good. Also, you can add fresh ginger or dried ginger if you want to aid with the digestibility a bit more. You can add ghee or slightly more oil in this for vatas and during vata season (fall/winter). The vegetables can be chosen to suit the particular dosha and/or season, as necessary.

Effects on the Mind (Gunas):

This is a largely sattvic dish provided it is made mild, light and fresh. Overdoing the oil and spices can make this slightly rajasic. Storing and reheating will increase the tamas in it.


Light (provided the oil is not too much), moist, not warm and not cold.

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