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Kerala Vegetable Stew Recipe served in a black bowl.
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Kerala Vegetable Stew Recipe (Vegetable Ishtu) | Veg Stew for Appam

A popular vegetables based curry from kerala, also known as ishtu, where Veggies are cooked in coconut milk and very mild spices. It goes great with appam and rice.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Course: Main Course / Side dish, Side Dish / Curry
Cuisine: Indian (South Indian)
Keyword: Kerala Vegetable Stew Recipe, Veg Stew for Appam, Kerala Veg Stew, Appam Stew,
Servings: 4
Author: Padma Veeranki


  • 1 tbsp Oil Coconut Oil or Any neutral Oil

Dry Spices:

  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 2 Cardamom Pods
  • 1 inch Cinnamon
  • 2 Cloves

Other Ingredients:

  • 1 Large Onion Sliced
  • 3-4 Green Chillies Slit
  • 1 inch Ginger julienne
  • Few Curry Leaves Divided


  • 10 Beans Chopped
  • 1 Carrot Chopped
  • 2 Potatoes Peeled & Cubed
  • 1/2 Cup Peas Frozen or Fresh

Remaining Ingredients:


  • Heat a large pan with oil (Preferably Coconut oil, but if you don't like, then add any neutral oil). To this add in the dry spices. Sauté for a minute until you get a nice aroma.
  • Now, add in green chillies and ginger juliennes along with thinly sliced onion. Add a few curry leaves and a little salt to soften the onions. Sauté until the onions turn transparent. Make sure not to brown the onions.
  • Now, add in the veggies one after the other.
  • Give it a nice stir and cook covered for a minute until the raw smell goes away.
  • Then add 1 cup water and the 1.5 to 2 cups thin Coconut Milk. Make sure that the veggies are immersed in the liquid.
  • Simmer and cook covered until the veggies are cooked completely.
  • Finally add thick Coconut Milk, a few curry leaves and a teaspoon of coconut oil (Don't miss to add this).
  • Give it a nice mix and turn off the heat after one minute. Do not boil once you have added the thick Coconut Milk otherwise it may curdle.
  • Serve Kerala Style Vegetable Stew with Appam or Idiyappam.

Recipe Video


  • Coconut oil adds a nice authentic flavour to the stew but if you do not like it you can use regular oil and make it. But, do not skip it at least in the last step even if you don’t make the complete stew with coconut oil.
  • You can also completely omit oil to make it oil free recipe.
  • Remember green chilli is the only element of heat/spice in the recipe, 3 to 4 should be good enough for medium spicy but feel free to add more if you want extra spicy. Also remember spice levels of chillies can vary depending on the variety.
  • Do not brown the onions, otherwise it will change the colour of the stew.
  • Mixed veggies, you can use anything that you like but basic is carrot beans, potato and peas. You can also include cauliflower to this combo. Cut all veggies in big pieces.
  • Making Coconut Milk fresh at home does give the best taste. But if you are pressed for time, you can use canned coconut milk well.
  • If you want the stew gravy to be still runny, you can add 1/2 cup of plain milk too.
  • Cashew Nut Paste to Thicken Gravy – If you want to make the gravy very thick, add 1 tbsp of cashew paste. It is completely optional. You can make this nut-free & still thicken the gravy by replacing cashew nuts with 2 tbsp corn starch. Simply, mix corn starch with coconut milk add it in place of cashew-coconut paste.