Curry with greens (Vali bhajji Ambat)

This is a very popular dish from North Kanara. Vali bhajji (bhajji or bhaji means Greens) is a kind of greens grown in almost every backyard there. The leaves(“pallo” in Konkani) and stems(called “dentu” in Konkani) of this are used for making different kinds of curries. It can be used with prawns, khubbe(a kind of shellfish) and many more.

Few days back one of our friend mentioned about Vali bhajji ambat with Garlic. So I wanted to prepare it immediately (Yes..If I feel like preparing something I have to do it, otherwise I wont get good sleep!!!). So I thought of an alternative, I used spinach in the place of Vali bhajji and the taste was still great.

3 cups Vali bhajji(Basale soppu) or spinach
3/4 cup toor dal
1/2 cup onion
1/2 cup fresh/frozen coconut
5 red chillies
1 tea spn coriander seeds
1 tea spn chopped garlic
A pinch turmeric
1/4 tea spn tamarind extract
1 tea spn jaggery or sugar(optional)

Cook dal, bhajji, chopped onion with a pinch of turmeric.
Heat oil and fry coriander seeds. Grind with coconut, tamarind, red chillies to a smooth paste.
Mix the cooked dal with masala and salt. Add sufficient water to bring it to gravy consistency. Cook till masala is completely done. Remove from heat.
Heat oil and add garlic. Fry till they turn slightly brown in color. Add it to curry & close the lid immediately to retain the flavor of garlic.
Serve hot with rice.

Serves : 3-4
Preparation time : 30min

PS: Many people don’t add toor dal to this dish. We add for thickness.

24 thoughts on “Curry with greens (Vali bhajji Ambat)”

  1. Yummm! I’m now craving for vaali ambat! Been a while since I had some.

    It’s also called Indian Spinach, Malabar Spinach or Vietnamese Spinach. I’ve bought vaali at Indian and Asian stores here in US.

    Great blog, Shilpa! Would love to see more Amchi dishes 😉

  2. Hi Shilpa,
    I have visited your blog before, but I don’t recall whether I left a comment. I only remember that you had blogged about Mulangi Ambat then. Anyway, this Vali bhajji Ambat is very new to me. I need to ask my mother-in-law about it. Do you what Vali bhajji is called in Marathi? Btw, I am a Maharashtrian married to a Konkani whose family is originally from Managalore. I know some of the dishes that you have blogged about and some are not so common at my husband’s place maybe because the family is from South Canara.
    Anyway, I have blogged about a Maharashtrian mulangi recipe yesterday on my blog. It’s
    Please visit it, if you have the time. I am adding you to my favourites on the blog roll. Hope you don’t mind.

  3. Shanta, Thanks for the information. Now I think I can find Vaali very easily :).
    Vaishali, North Kanara and South Kanara food is very different. I think thats the reason you dont know about this.I could not find out the marathi name, but will ask someone and let you know.BTW..I visited your blog. Its coool :).

  4. Hello Shilpa,
    I just visted ur blog…..mouth watering dishes.Only request can u post all the photo(i mean the dish preparation photos….just as in MAHANADHI BLOG).

  5. Hi Shilpa,
    I am delighted to come across this blog. I am also from North kanara.. Honavar to be precise. As a matter of fact, yesterday I bought Vali-bhajji as I was also craving for Vali ambat. I live in Bangalore. I googled for ‘Bangade Ambat’ 🙂 and came across this blog. Good going.

  6. anonymous, I am trying my best to post pictures of all the recipes as and when I cook them. For most of the recipes, I have already uploaded pictures, others also I will upload soon.
    Bdsn, Nayan, Thanks for the comments. Keep visiting :).

  7. Hi Shilpa ….Vali Ambat is very famous in South Kanara too. Only difference is the name it is called as Vali RanDai. All masala gravies are called a ambat in NK and randai in SK. Names and words are different but after all both (NK & SK) are GSB’s.

  8. Pingback: Aayi’s Recipes » Greens and papaya sidedish (Vali bhajji - pappayi randayi)

  9. Vaali is called as “Mayalu” in marathi and is available in Chinese stores. The Chinese apparently eat this a lot and it is always avaliable with plenty of “dentus”(Stems). It is known as “Chinese Spinach.

    If you must eat vaali, you have to eat with the dentu. Shall try to send a picture the next time I buy it so it is easy to identify in the stores.

  10. ambat is my son’s favorite dish. We make it out of Vaali or other items such as bhajji, Methi leaves, mustard leaves, spinach, and almost any leaves from the salad stand! Each one has its own flavor. A final quench of Onion seasoning in coconut oil presents a great aroma.

    Those who avoid onion can have mustard seasoning.

    Add a few cashewnuts while grinding, that emerges a great flavor!

  11. I happened to visit this site yesterday itself.Infact im very fascinated by d way u present them.U know your recipes reminds me of my Aayi(who is also from Honavar)Im an absolute beginner,i used to call up my Aayi or my Maayi(mother in law)back to India n ask her d method of preparation of all d dishes.After visiting your this site i dont have to call them up for tat purpose instead i call them n to say tat i prepared so many authentic dishes all wit d help of your site.THANKS Shilpa ..U r my inspiration.

    Adding dry prawns(shrimps,sukke sungatt)for thickness instead of toor dal can also be done.. 🙂

  12. hey Shilpa do u get peji tandul(boiled rice) over there.vali bhajji or tisrya ek shimpi makes a good combination with pej(porridge)…sllluurrrppp..

    today im going to prepare cabbage vada..;)

    Poorva Nayak

    Shilpa: Yes Poorva. I do make vali bhaji and pej very often. Its one of my favorite combo 🙂


    Tks for this recipe…ur ambat is different i shall surely try this question. My amma says ambat has only peeyava phanna and kodyal has only losuney phanna.(at my place vaali is made wt peeyava phanna only)
    can u pls tell me how come ur ambat has onion cooked and phanna of garlic? i hope u dont mind my query…just curious to know…

    Shilpa: Purnuma, There is a difference in food names from South Kanara to North Kanara. In SK, you have koddel, ghashi etc etc. But in NK, we call all the gravies as “ambat”. We don’t have koddel. Similarly all the watery side dishes with coconut are called randayi. we call onion as ‘kando’. In this blog, I have mainly followed NK names because that is where I come from.


    Thankyou very much for explaining in knowledge abt konkani food has increased a bit..
    i made the same curry yest. as per ur recipe but with red sure tastes gud! wt kando in the curry and garlic tadka!

    my amma loves tepphal and wd seperate her curry for tepphal phanna (i.e when she makes vaali-popashphal ambat, since we never liked tepphal’s tangy taste )

  15. Shilpa, i found basale soppu (malabar spinach) in the store the other day and i brought it home. I remember eating this ambat at my close friend’s house, so i came back here to get your recipe! This is what is for dinner tonight at our house 🙂

  16. I prepared the ambat specially for my husband who is a Bhanap. He loved it and remembered his mother’s cooking. I am going to try surna Koot, Daali Toy and Batatya Song soon.

  17. Hey… As I am a konkani,I have eaten this dish many no. of times. But there is a slight change in our style of recipe which gives this a whole new taste to it.
    1. Along with roasting coriander seeds, we also roast red chillies.
    2. At the end, along with garlic we also add finely chopped onions and fry them till golden brown and add to the whole mixture and boil for 2-3 minutes.

    Try this,you will definitely like it.

  18. Hi Shilpa…… I tried this receipe today,it came out very well . It s is my favorite randai. And luckily i got it from chinese store. My cousin brother used tell this receipe in Sanskrt : Dali Vali Samayuktam,Tanmadde pappaya phalam, Kinchita kanchita Sunghatam, Lasuni phannam Mokshadayakam……:)
    Thank a lot:)

  19. Hi… I loved your blog… I wanted to find out the English name for Vaali, and so i googled it and came across your blog.
    We call it Vali Randai, and we dont put the coconut. Its just toor dali, corriander seeds and tiksani(either chilli powder or red dried chillies)..

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