Khaay Char

Khaay Char

Khaay Char

(Authentic palakkad style veg curry in non veg style )

Khaay(meaning Vegetables)Char(meaning curry ) in Malayalam is a very traditional recipe of Palakkad, Kerala. Khaay Char is a curry which has a lot of vegetables like drumstick, potato, ashgourd, brinjal, raw banana, raw mango etc in a non veg based gravy . U can even add excess bones , fat of meat, meat cuts to add a special flavor to the curry and it is completely optional.Even without adding the meat, this curry tastes great. The speciality of the curry is that it goes very well with a lot of dishes including rice, Ghee rice,idly,dosa, appam, pathiri and above all, Khaay Char is had with the special spicy palakkad style dum biriyani(Recipe sooon). Curry with biriyani? May sound weird but you need to taste it to feel it.

The curry is really nostalgic for me which reminds of the good old days when we were kids and we used to attend weddings. The wedding eve we call it as Mehendi Night we will be served with ghee rice, khaay char, chicken pepper gravy, raita,pudina chutney and pickle. This was the standard menu for all weddings that we used to attend and it was soooo yummy, I can still remember the smell in my hands after having that heavy and yummilicious dinner. After which we would have a lot of programs, henna and discussions on the dress we wear the next day. Nostalgic memories.

Khaay Char may be new to those who do not belong to Palakkad of Kerala, but do try . I am sure most of you will like the taste.This curry is a recipe request by my cousin’s wife(Mumtaz Ashique) and one of my dear friend. She does not belong to Palakkad but she likes the taste and wants me to share this authentic recipe which has been passed to be my by mom who got it from her mom in law.(My Grandmother). 🙂

Off to the recipe,

The 5.5 litre pan in which i make the Khaay Char in bulk


To pressure cook ;

  1. Toor dal                – 1/2 cup
  2. Channa dal          – 1/4 cup
  3. Chilly                     – 3 slit
  4. Coriander leaves  – a handful
  5. Cardamom          – 3
  6. Cloves                  -3
  7. Cinnamon           – 3 small 1 inch piece
  8. Hing                    – a pinch
  9. Turmeric pdr    – 1/4 tsp
  10. Salt                      – as needed

To season:

  1. Ghee                       – 2 tbspn
  2. Coconut oil           – 2 tbspn
  3. Mustard seeds    – 1 tsp
  4. Cumin seeds       – 1 tsp
  5. Fenugreek seeds- 1 tsp
  6. Shallots                – 5 chopped
  7. Curry leaves        – 1 spring

For the curry:

  1. Onion                    – 2 medium onions sliced
  2. Gingergarl paste – 2 tbspn
  3. Small onion         – 10 (make a paste)
  4. Tomato                 – 2 chopped
  5. Coriander lvs       – a handful chopped
  6. Salt                        – as needed
  7. Chilly powder     – 3 tsp
  8. Coriander pwder- 4 tsp
  9. Garam masala     – 1 tsp
  10. Turmeric pwder  – 1 tsp
  11. Veggies *              – 2 each (cut into medium sized pieces)
  12. Water                    – 2 cups
  13. Tamarind             – size of a small lemon soaked in 1 cup of water
  14. Coconut                – 1/2 scraped



  • Pressure cook the dal along with the ingredients “to pressure cook”for 5-6 whistles, set aside.
  • Grind together coconut along with 1 cup of water to a smooth paste and set aside.
  • In a big nonstick pan or a pressure pan, season all the ingredients under “To season”.
  • To the above seasoning, add the chopped onion, salt and saute well followed by shallot paste,gingergarlic paste, chilly powder, turmeric powder, coriander poder, garam masala,coriander leaves, tomatoes one by one. Saute well after each stage.
  • Once the tomatoes gets mushy, add the veggies, water and cook untill 3/4 th done.
  • Add the tamarind water and allow it to boil, followed by the cooked dal and the ground coconut paste.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves , close the lid and keep for a minimum of 30 minutes before serving for the flavors to set in.

    Authentic, Traditional recipe-Khaay Char

Niznaz notes:

(* Veggies list include Drumstick, potato,brinjal, raw banana, mango, ashgourd.)

  • I usually make the curry in bulk so that I can use it for 3 days for 3 different dishes like idly, ghee rice , pathiri. You can straight halve the recipe and make a lesser quantity.
  • The curry tastes very well the next day as the flavors of the veggies and tamarind would have infused into the curry.
  • The veggie list is completely optional. You can either add all the veggies or your favorite veggies from the veggie list. I usually try to add all possible veggies.
  • The meat as I mentioned is also completely optional, I do not add meat though I like  the flavour of that meat added curry.
  • Adjust salt before serving as the Khaay Char involves many steps.
  • Add green chillies according to your taste buds.



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