Black carrot palya stirfry

carrot palya recipe

Made with carrots, coconut and spices, the carrot palya is a simple homestyle veggie stirfry typical to Karnataka cuisine. This black carrot palya is a no onion, no garlic recipe that pairs with most Indian meals easily.

Sometimes all you crave is simple home food. It is the same for us this week. A lot of work coming through hence simple home food rules the world. Looking into my veggie box what I have is carrots, cabbage etc. Anyway, cabbage poriyal runs better in the week, the carrots will make a better option. We have back carrots from our harvest so black carrot palya it is!

What is a palya?

An easy vegan sidedish popular in Karnataka style cooking is palya. Very similar to thoran (Kerala) or poriyal (Tamil), the palya is made with thinly chopped or grated veggies stir-fried with a classic South Indian tapering of mustard seeds and curry leaves with fresh coconut. It is a favourite among children, due to the mild sweetness of the carrots. Usually, I prepare the palya in the way I watched my mother-in-law make it. The coconut masala has curry leaves, green chilli and cumin pounded in to create a unique coating for the carrots.

black carrots

Ingredients to make this carrot palya

Carrots: Since carrots are easily available carrot playa is often made across Karnataka. I happened to have black carrots and you know my love for them by now! Wash, peel and dice into small bites. Set it aside till needed.
For tempering: usually in the southern states of India, the oil of choice is coconut oil. Together with the mustard seeds to crackle along with curry leaves and red chillies. This gives that familiar fantastic flavour to the oil that coats the carrots. 
For the masala: Coarsely grind coconut, curry leaves, cumin seeds and mustard seeds together.

Spices and flavourings: Flavour the palya with salt to balance.

Step-by-step guide and tips

Though palya is a beginner dish, years of practice surely lend a unique balance to the flavours. However experienced you are, the palya is one dish you will master first when you are learning to make a meal. Enjoy this step-by-step guide to help you through till you are a pro in the kitchen.
Step 1: Prep the carrots
Step 2: Prepare the tempering
Step 3: Add the carrots
Step 4: Mix in the coconut masala

carrot palya for lunch

Black carrot palya

Made with carrots, coconut and spices, the carrot palya is a simple homestyle veggie stirfry typical to Karnataka cuisine. This black carrot palya is a no onion, no garlic recipe that pairs with most Indian meals easily.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Course Main Dish, sidedish
Cuisine diabetic friendly, gluten free, Indian, Karnataka, South indian, Vegan, Vegetarian, Winter
Servings 4 people


  • frying pan


  • 1 cup carrot diced
  • salt to taste

For the coconut masala

  • 3 tbsp grated coconut
  • 1/2 tsp curry leaves I have used th dried powder
  • 1/4 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds

For tempering

  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp Urad Dal
  • 1/2 tsp Channa Dal
  • 1 small dry red chillies optional
  • 2-3 curry leaves optional


  • Wash and peel the carrots.
    purple carrots.
  • Dice them small or grate them. Set it aside till ready to cook.
    diced carrots
  • Add the ingredients for the coconut masala ground coarsley.
    palya masala
  • Into the frying pan add the coconut oil to warm up on medium heat.
  • Add the mustard seeds and let that splutter.
  • Then add the dals, curry leaves and red chillies and mix well. Let the dals brown and the curry leaves go crisp.
  • Now add the carrots and mix well.
    carrot to cook.
  • Sprinkle salt and a bit of water to help it to cook.
  • Cover and cook for 5-7 minutes.
  • Now add the ground coconut masala. Mix well.
    black carrot palya masala.
  • Let this cook for another few minutes so the masala infuses well.
    black carrot palya
  • The carrot palya is now ready to be served.
    black carrot palya
Keyword carrot, warm salad, Winter warmers
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Serving ideas for the carrot palya

In a lunch box: As children, the carrot palya rolled in a roti was a blissful lunchbox.
As a South Indian meal: Though the palya tastes good with Sambhar and rice, the better combination is with udupi huli.
Leftover makeover: To make the leftovers into a sandwich, smear some green chutney on the bread and load in the carrot palya, grill it with cheese or just as it is.

Meal prep and storage

The carrot palya will stay good for up to 3  days in the refrigerator. Keep in a fridge-safe covered container. The carrot palya stays for about 3 months when frozen. Defrost and use only the portion you need. Usually, to make this easier, I freeze in smaller portion boxes. You could also freeze a quick-fix meal box with steamed rice, sambhar and carrot palya in divider boxes.

Similar recipes for sides

The most similar recipes to the palya are the thorans and poriyals. Here are a couple of very similar ones that you can mix and match with your meals.
Payar thoran
Methi gajar sabji
Cabbage upperi
Kothavarakkai poriyal

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carrot palya

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7 months ago

Simple ingredients and fabulous flavor! Thanks for sharing!

7 months ago
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This is a quick, simple and great flavored side dish. Perfect for any meal.

7 months ago
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I love the color of these carrots! I am always looking for new veggies to try. This one is going on the list.

7 months ago
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This was the perfect side dish with my dinner! Thank you for the great recipe!

Sara Welch
7 months ago
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This was such a unique and unexpected dish that does not disappoint! Quick, easy and delicious!

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