July 17, 2023

Root Vegetable Curry

Recipe: Joe Thottungal

“This hearty dish has a beautiful, pinky-orange color from the beets. After the coconut milk is added, spices and aromatics are tempered in a pan, then poured over the curry.” – Joe Thottungal


  • 7 Indian or Thai green chilis, halved lengthwise
  • 2 Yukon Gold, or other yellow-fleshed potatoes, cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 carrot, cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 small beet, cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 half-inch piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 tbsp white vinegar
  • 1 1/2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 10 curry leaves, plus extra for garnish
  • 3 Indian or small shallots, thinly sliced


Yield: Serves 4

Make Curry

  1. In large frying pan or wok, combine chilis, potatoes, carrots, beets, onions, ginger, salt and turmeric. Pour in enough cold water to cover and bring to a boil. Stir, cover and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer for 10 minutes, or until vegetables are softened.
  2. Stir in coconut milk and bring back to a boil. Remove from heat, then add vinegar. Transfer mixture to serving dish and set aside.

Temper Spices and Aromatics

  1. With measured spices and aromatics nearby, heat coconut oil in small frying pan (or tadka pan) over medium-high heat, until shimmering. (To test the heat, add a couple of mustard seeds. If they start to sizzle, the oil is ready.) Reduce heat to medium, add mustard seeds and crackle them for just a few seconds until popping subsides, taking care that they don’t burn. Immediately add cumin seeds, curry leaves and shallots, and saute for 1 minute, until lightly browned. Pour tempered spices over vegetable curry. Garnish with sprinkle of fresh curry leaves. Serve, if you wish, with warm parathas and dollop of sweet mango kalan.

Christian Lalonde


Excerpted from My Thali: A Simple Indian Kitchen by Joe Thottungal with Anne DesBrisay. Photography by Christian Lalonde. Copyright 2023 by Thali Restaurant. Excerpted with permission from Figure 1 Publishing. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher