Bachhali Kura Sambar


As kids (me & sis) we never liked this green vegetable because of the texture and also the taste. I vaguely remember my mom cooking this vegetable and we refused to try it, as lots of other green veggies were abundantly available. After coming to california, green veggies are not as widely available as in India, but I had a good choice and I use to excuse myself from eating this vegetable. After moving to Virginia my choice was completely narrowed down, still managed with Spinach and Methi for couple of years. Last year when my in-laws visited us my mother-in-law told me how to cook this vegetable the right way.

Besalla Alba or Malabar Spinach is called Bachhali kura in telugu, other common names include Climbing spinach, Indian Spinach and vine spinach. My dear friends guessed it right (Basale in Kannada, Vaali in Konkani, “Mong Toi” or Vietnamese Spinach). This wonderful leafy vegetable is high in Calcium, Vitamin A and C, also rich source of Iron and chlorophyll, also low in calories by volume and high in proteins per calorie. It is a fast-growing soft-stemmed vine, reaching 10 m in length, thick and semi-succulent. The succulent stem is particularly a rich source of soluble fiber, thought to remove mucus and toxins from the body. These leaves have a mild flavor and gluey/gooey texture when cooked. It may also be used to thicken soups or stir-fried with garlic and chile peppers. This plant is also used in medicine field. (Source wiki)

Bachhali kura is extensively used in South-Indian cooking. Kanda-Bachhali kura is very famous dish in Andhra Pradesh, other common dishes include sambar, majjiga pulusu. Aava pulusu, snacks and pappu.


1 medium bunch tender bachhali kura (clean and chopped)
½ cup toovar dal (cooked)
8-10 pearl onions (peeled)
2-3 tbsp tamarind paste
2-3 green chillies
Big pinch of turmeric
1-2 tbsp grated coconut (fresh/frozen)
2-3 tsp Sambar powder (according to taste)
Salt to taste
2-3 cups water to make sambar

1-1 ½ tsp oil
1 broken dry red chilli
½ tsp mustard seeds
Big pinch of methi seeds
Pinch of hing


In small pan heat oil add the dry chilli, mustard seeds, and methi seeds and allow mustard seeds to splutter, add hing and remove from heat and keep aside.

Heat a heavy bottom pot with little oil on medium heat. Add green chillies, onions (you can use whole of cut in half) and sauté for 3-4 mins. Add the chopped bachhalaku (leaves and stems), turmeric, salt and sauté for another 3-5 mins. Add tamarind paste little water and cover with lid and reduce the heat a little and cook for 8-10 mins or until soft not mushy. Stir in dal, grated coconut and mix well, add remaining water, increase the heat and bring it to boil, adjust the seasoning and reduce the heat a little. Add sambar powder and the seasoning and cook for another 5-8 mins and turn of the heat.

Serve with rice and papad.

Notes and Tips

You can add jaggery if you like. Onions are optional. You can also add drumsticks. I like my sambar with onions. You can use / substitute spinach instead of Bachhalaku, and the dish will be called spinach sambar:).


10 Responses to “Bachhali Kura Sambar”

  1. 1 sia
    February 21, 2007 at 6:14 am

    ah!!! thanks for my prize girl;) i loooooove basale sambar and this was the only green ‘thing’ i loved as a kid:) didn’t you use the stem of basale here? we make sambar with its leaves as well as stems as they have high fiber content. try using the stems next time as its equally delicious as the leaves:) and also we season it with garlic:) ahhh!!!! my mouth is watering looking at this pic:)

  2. February 21, 2007 at 9:14 am

    Never used this before, shall check to see if i can find it 🙂

  3. February 21, 2007 at 10:11 am

    Hey Sia , I use the stems also but forgot to write it. Thanks for remainding me.:). So do u make sambar similar way?? Looks like you were a very good kid. I use very little garlic and when it comes to ghar ka khana (South Indian) I use only in few dishes. Will try with garlic next time.

    Sandeepa, Give it a try at first I really din’t like but after making sooo many times I started liking it. Now make it often:) We make kadhi out of this and it my son’s & hubby’s fav.

  4. February 21, 2007 at 12:59 pm

    Hi Shivapriya, Where did you find this spinach? I have never cooked with it and am eager to try. Thanks for the recipe.

  5. February 21, 2007 at 3:07 pm

    This is somewhat new kind of recipe with basaLe for me. Recently I found a few Malaysian/Asian recipes on another blog. I am totally excited to try all new kinds of recipes with this exotic spinach.

    Its very rare that I found Malabaar Spinach where I live. I often use the spinach/palak as a substitute in all the Basale recipes. The only thing missing will be the stem. I have posted a few Konkani recipes with basaLe few months back.

  6. February 21, 2007 at 3:10 pm

    Oh lovely, Basale sambar is my all time fav. But unfortunately I never found fresh basale here till date. Love it and thanx for posting it and bringing all those old memories back

  7. February 21, 2007 at 3:41 pm

    Hi Padmaja
    thanks for dropping by.I too love bachalikoora.I also put some recipes with it in my blog.one more is coming from me with this very soon.
    u have a very nice blog over here.the pictures are great!!

  8. 9 sia
    February 22, 2007 at 5:34 am

    got it girl:) i am still drooling over ur sambar:)
    and we dont grind the garlic. just fry few in oil till they turn golden and season them with mustard and red chillies:) this way it won’t taste garlic-y:)
    wish i could have this:(

  9. February 22, 2007 at 12:08 pm

    Hema I got this at korean market near my place. Usually chinese market/ international markets ( korean & Vietnamese markets) carry this veggie. Good Luck!!.

    Manju, I have seen that receipe at ur blog, will check it again, I have lots sitting in my fridge, I will try ur version this time.

    Seema, I have family in NY so next time when I drive there will drop (fresh basale & sambar) at ur place:).

    Swapna, I’m glad u stopped by, I have seen avva pulusu recipe in ur blog and looks delicous.

    And sia, Thanx my dear:)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: