Spinach in Coconut Gravy (Konkani Style Palak Ambat Recipe)

Spinach in Coconut Gravy (Konkani Style Palak Ambat Recipe)

Palak ambat is one of Konkani cuisine's delicious coconut curries made using spinach. Spinach is cooked in a coconut gravy along with toor dal & is then seasoned with onions to make a super delicious curry. It's spicy & is mildly flavoured using tamarind & onion using in the gravy. Onion seasoning is a treat to the curry, to the ones who devour on it & to the neighborhood it's being cooked in. Give it a try to know what I'm talking about. 😉 😋

Palak/Spinach Ambat with plain rice is delicious. You can serve them with some papads or fryums/vodis for a crunch. This curry also tastes wonderful with any dosa, idli and even with chapati. Cook this simple and delicious Konkani delight as spinach is so damn nutritious & your lunch can't get any more comforting.

Although most of the Konkani cuisine dishes are far from being photogenic, I plan to post them more often as some of the best tasting food is the simple everyday food and they need to be put under the limelight for their simplicity, taste and authenticity! One such recipe is Palak/Spinach Ambat.

Traditionally, this curry is also made using Malabar Spinach/Basella (also called as Basale in Kannada and Vali in Konkani). It's then called vali ambat in Konkani.


  • 1 bunch of spinach (2 cups of finely chopped spinach)
  • 1/4 cup toor dal
  • 3/4 cup of grated coconut
  • 5-6 dried red chillies
  • 1 lemon sized tamarind
  • 1/2 of a medium sized onion
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 tablespoons of oil
  • 1 medium sized onion whole

Serves: 2-4

Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Preparation Method:

1. Wash toor dal & cook it for 3-4 whistles using 3/4 cup of water.

To fasten their cooking soak them for as long as possible.

2. Wash spinach, chop off the mature portions of their stem. You know it’s a mature stem when it leaves a little extra fiber of the stem hanging off. 

3. Finely chop spinach.

4. Add chopped spinach to the pressure cooker containing cooked toor dal & cook it for a single whistle.

5. Meanwhile, fry dried red chillies with few drops of oil for a minute or two.

6. Once it cools down, grind them along with grated coconut, roughly chopped half an onion, tamarind and salt into a smooth paste using as much water as needed.

7. Transfer the ground masala, cooked toor dal, spinach into a cooking vessel.

8. Add about a cup of water to bring it to a curry consistency. Keep it a little watery as it thickens on cooking. It further thickens on cooling. We need a medium thick curry consistency.

9. Check & adjust salt. Bring it to a boil.

10. Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in a wok/tempering pan. Add finely chopped onion (1 whole medium onion) to it. Fry onions until they start to brown. Add them to the boiling curry.

11. Simmer the curry until the rawness of the masala goes off.

12. Serve the curry hot along with some steaming hot rice.


1. You can also make this curry with a garlic seasoning but I personally love it with onion seasoning. For garlic seasoning, fry smashed garlic's in oil so that they give out their flavour into the oil. Once garlic starts to change their colour & start to brown, add the seasoning to the curry & mix well.

2. Spinach comes with impurities like dirt and sand. The simple way to clean spinach is to rinse it well under running water and then chop them. Or if they have a lot of mud in them, let them soak in water for 15-20 minutes. Then wash them off.