Asparagus poriyal

Asparagus poriyal

Asparagus stir-fry

Mr Todiwala's Bombay
Helen Cathcart

A simple yet tasty recipe that makes the most of the short asparagus season. It is equally great with winter squash – particularly pumpkin – swede, turnips or kohlrabi when local asparagus is not around.


Quantity Ingredient
1 bunch asparagus, about 350 g
100g yellow split peas, soaked for several hours or overnight
1-2 tablespoons sunflower or rapeseed oil
1/2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
6-8 curry leaves, finely shredded
salt, to taste
2 tablespoons coconut, freshly grated
or 2 tablespoons desiccated coconut


  1. Cut off about 6 cm from the bottom of the asparagus spears and set aside to use for soup or trim bases, peel thinly, cut in two and blanch in boiling water for 1–2 minutes to use in this dish too. Cut the remaining asparagus spears into 2.5 cm lengths.
  2. Drain the soaked yellow split peas, rinse and drain well again.
  3. Heat the oil in a heavy-based frying pan until a haze forms. Reduce the heat, add the mustard seeds and cover with a lid until the crackling subsides.
  4. Immediately add the cumin seeds, stir for a few seconds, add the yellow split peas and sauté until well coated in the oil and the peas no longer stick to the pan.
  5. Add the grated coconut and curry leaves and scrape the pan well with a wooden spatula until the coconut has that beautiful toasted aroma.
  6. Add the asparagus pieces, sauté for a minute or two and season to taste.
  7. Good quality asparagus will cook within seconds and actually need not be cooked well at all, just until heated through, it is that tender. Serve straight away.
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