Kerala nadan vegetable curry

Kerala vegetable curry

This one-pot easy-to-make mixed vegetable curry cooked in coconut milk is simple and delicious. Serve it with chappatis or cooked basmati to make your meal.

When you order chapatis in a Kerala restaurant for dinner,  it often comes with a basic mixed vegetable curry. This is the curry I have in mind to bring to you today. It is a simple coconut milk-cooked mixed vegetable and is a mild soothing curry to have with any sort of bread.

What does nadan mean?

Nadu in Malayalam is about the land of Kerala. Nadan therefore relates to the the simple basics that originate from this land. It is really hard to describe it in English as it is more of an emotion than an accurate description. Adopting the same here, it stands for the simplicity of the curry that revokes the memories of a meal in Kerala.

Reasons you will like this vegetable curry

  • Quick curry for cold nights: though it is lovely to have a curry during the colder evenings for dinner, it is not so great to have to slog over the stove to make it. So I find this simple Kerala veg curry such a relief. It comes together in about 20 minutes once you have the ingredients ready to go.
  • Healthy recipe: the recipe packs in a good amount of vegetables. So that will be a great way to get the vegetables onto your plate and colourful ones too. It is also an easy one to get the kids to get the veggies from the curry.
  • Mild taste: it is not a curry rich in a variety of spices or one that is heavy-handed on the chillies. Along with the coconut milk that the veggies are cooked in the curry is creamy yet light.
  • Easily variable: with the veggies you have. Most of the veggies used in this recipe are staples for a functional kitchen. However, you can add peas, corn, edamame, pumpkin, zucchini or a bit of cabbage to this recipe and that will be fine too.
  • Works well with rice and bread: the curry is a good one to have with chappathis, naans, kulchas, dinner rolls,  or a good sourdough loaf. You can have the same with cooked rice or quinoa too.

Ingredients to make Kerala vegetable curry

This easy nadan vegetable curry needs a few ingredients to make it authentic.

  • Mixed Vegetables: For this recipe carrots, beans potatoes and cauliflower is what I have used. You can use frozen pas or the steamed vegetable mix in this combination.
  • Coconut milk: The first and second extract of coconut milk is used to cook this recipe. to cook the vegetables use the second thin coconut milk and then finish off with the thicker coconut cream. 
  • Onions: the sauteed onions make the sauce flavourful imparting the sweet caramelizing flavour to the coconut milk. I have used red onions, you can use white onions or shallots if you have.
  • Ginger, garlic, chillies and curry leaves: to add to the classic flavours, generous amounts of ginger, garlic and curry leaves help. Adding the sliced green chilli gives a subtle heat that you can opt out of if you don’t prefer having it.
  • Tomato: I have used just one tomato to make this recipe and it adds colour and a faint tangy flavour to the curry.
  • Salt and spices: To season the dish, salt and whole spices like cloves, bay leaf, cardamom and cinnamon sticks are used. You can use them as a powder or as a whole. When used as powder, the curry turns a deep brown colour and if whole spices are used it maintains that creamy white colour. This is totally up to your preference. Currently, I have made the whole spice version.
  • Herbs to finish: use coriander or just a bit of mint to finish off this curry as it adds a fresh flavour.

Let’s make nadan vegetable curry

Follow a couple of steps to achieve this vegetable curry easily.

Prep the vegetables: Wash and peel the carrots and potatoes. Dice them up. String the beans and chop them up. Separate the florets of cauliflower and set all the vegetables aside. Slice the tomato. Peel and chop the onion and garlic, garlic and slice the green chillies. 
Get the coconut milk ready: blend the grated coconut with water and remove the first extract by squeezing the mix through a cheesecloth. Now add water and blend again to get the thin extract. Squeeze out the second extract and set it aside. 
Saute the onions: into the pan add coconut milk and saute the onions with garlic, ginger, chillies ( if using) and curry leaves. Add the whole spices and sprinkle the salt. As they turn translucent add the tomatoes and let them soften. 
Cook the veggies: Now add the veggies and mix them around to coat with the sauteed onion-tomato mix. Add the second coconut milk extract and let this simmer and cook the vegetables. 
Finish with thick coconut milk: Once the veggies are cooked, stir in the thicker extract and as soon as it bubbles remove from heat and add some chopped coriander leaves.

Is it a spicy curry?

This Kerala vegetable curry when served in Kerala has the heat kick from the green chillies. However, it doesn’t have to be spicy at all. Rather a lovely mild curry which is more like a stew if you do not add the green chillies. Therefore, it is easily customisable to your levels of heat tolerance.

Can I make it with frozen veggies?

A frozen veggies mix of beans, carrots and peas will be lovely to make this recipe. They do hold up well when boiled and absorb the flavours from the spices and coconut milk. However, don’t use frozen onions, they change the flavour a lot.

What to pair with this curry recipe?

As said, it is easy to pair this curry with chappatis. We paired this curry with rice and a kachumer salad for dinner. The leftovers made a tasty combo with dosa in the morning. Alternatively, you can pair this recipe with bread or vattayappam too.

Meal prep and lunch boxes

The curry is pretty easy to make during your meal prep day and packs in a lot of vegetables. Then it stays good in the fridge for up to 4 days. I have not attempted freezing this curry in a big batch as I do not like the smell of coconut milk as it thaws. However, it doesn’t have any distaste.
To pack in a lunch box, I add the curry to a small Thermos and pack the bread in a small box. In this way, the curry is warm when I want to eat and tasty.

Kerala vegetable curry

Nadan vegetable curry

Seema D Sriram
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian, Kerala, South indian


  • deep pot
  • ladle
  • blender


  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 small Onion chopped
  • 1/2 inch fresh ginger root chopped or grated
  • 1 small green chilli
  • 2-3 cloves garlic
  • 10-12 curry leaves
  • 1 medium Tomato
  • 1 small star anise
  • 1 small bay leaf
  • 3 cups mixed vegetable I have used carrot, beans, cauliflower
  • 1 large potato
  • 2 cups coconut milk thin or second extract
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper powder

To finish the curry

  • 1 cup coconut milk first extract or coconut cream
  • 1 tbsp coriander leaves chopped


  • Wash and chop all the vegetables and set it aside.
  • Prep the ginger, garlic, chillies, etc and keep that ready.
  • Into a deep cooking pot add oil, followed by onion, garlic, ginger, curry leaves and chillies.
  • Let this saute and turn translucent.
  • Now add the chopped tomatoes.
  • Once the tomatoes have softened, add the vegetable mix and saute for a couple of minutes
  • Add the thin coconut milk, pepper powder and salt and adjust the water content if necessary to just reach almost covering the vegetables.
  • Cover and cook till the vegetables have become soft.
  • Once the vegetables are fork-tender, add the thick coconut milk and set to simmer.
  • Give this just a moment to come to a gentle simmer and remove it from the heat.
  • Cover and let it rest for another couple of minutes for the flavours to infuse.
  • The curry is now ready to be served.
Keyword curry recipes, Indian vegetarian dinner
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Other easy curry recipes from our blog

We have a collection of curries here on our blog. Here are a few that I prefer to make on cold nights.
Vegetable Vindaloo
Tofu curry
Channa masala
Kadai mushroom curry
Quick mixed vegetable curry

Stay connected

Delicious curries always make a good dinner. I find it satisfying when the flavours remind me of back home too. This nadan vegetable curry has been on my list to bring to you coz of the ease of making it for a long while. So glad finally it has gotten to you. Hope you enjoy making this curry and will share and tag us when you do.
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Kerala vegetable curry

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