Zucchini Curry

Zucchini close up

Just look at that zucchini! Juicy, fresh and luscious. Amazing vegetables that can be baked, grilled, char-grilled, steamed, fried, sauteed, boiled, mashed, and eaten raw. Full of seeds, but no-one minds. Not when the zucchini are fresh and young. Such soft, gentle seeds.

Zucchini is in season now and for the summer months, here downunder in Australia. They are as common as broad beans are in the early days of spring :-)

So when Veggie Cuisine posted a Zucchini Recipe, I instantly wanted a zucchini curry! Indian, spicy, robust.

Using Lakshmik’s recipe as a guide, I produced this is an amazing curry that is both gentle and strong. Go figure!

Zucchini Notes

Don’t use large, old zucchinis for anything other that baking, stuffing or longer cooking. Try to use the smaller, younger veggies whenever possible.

TIP: Use older zucchinis in your fruit juices. They make the most amazing juice combined with cucumbers, apples, carrots, and summer fruits etc.

Chopped zucchini

Ingredient Notes

There are a couple of ingredients that you may not be familiar with.


Tamarind is the seed pod of a tree in India. It adds a spicy, sour zest to food, and is ubiquitous in Tamiland other South Indian food. I have written before about the Indian method of balancing the flavours in food, and tamarind is one of the most popularly used “sour” tastes. (But do not despair, it does not make the food taste sour – it just adds a zip to it.)

Tamarind is available from Indian food stores in pod form or as a paste or concentrate. I use a mash of the seedpods that I buy locally; it is complete with the seeds. The technique for using it is to soak a knob of the tamarind pulp in boiling water for 10 minutes, and then strain it, forcing as much of the pulp through the sieve or strainer into the liquid. Keep the liquid and discard the seeds. Add to the dish at the required time.

If you do not have tamarind at hand, use lemon juice. It won’t be the same flavour, but it will be Ok.

Urad Dal

Urad Dal is a black gram or lentil commonly used in India for dishes, but also (as in this dish) for flavouring. In the West we don’t think of beans or lentils being used for flavour instead of the main component of a dish. However, when you get your head around it, your cooking will benefit. To use for flavourings, pan roast or fry the lentils and add to the dish.


A Tadka is a ghee or oil based spice mix added to a curry at the end of the cooking. It adds a wondrous taste to the dish, so do not avoid this step. Also, the spices used in a taka are those that release their flavoursinto oil rather than liquid, like black mustard seed and curry leaves. Finally, black mustard seeds taste best when popped, a bit like mini popcorn, and the taka provides a mechanism for this.

Black mustard seeds

Available in Indian food shops and spice shops. If you can’t find them, don’t substitute yellow.

Curry leaves

Available in Indian food shops and spice shops. Fresh is best, but dried will also work. If you can’t find curry leaves, leave them out. Bay leaves are not a substitute.

Asaphoetida or Asafoetida (pronounced “assa foh teeda”)

Asafoetida is a VERY VERY pungent Indian spice that is used to replace onions and garlic in recipes. The reason for this is that, for spiritual reasons, some people prefer not to eat onions and garlic.

If you do not have asafoetida on hand, slice an onion and a clove of garlic and cook with the zucchini.If you are using asafoetida for the first time, it does need to “cook off” a little, so rather than stirring it it into a liquid mix, add it to the end of sauteing ingredients and give it 30 secs or so to cook.

In the pan

Serving Notes

Lovely served over rice. Especially a plain white rice or a lemon rice. You can add an Indian pickle on the side. Make a fresh chutney, maybe coriander chutney, and add a small green salad. Dinner is served.

When I cooked it, I had a small amount of quinoa that I needed to use up, so I stirred it through the curry. Not at all Indian :-) but was so delicious.


Zucchini Curry

Source : inspired by Veggie Cuisine – similar recipe, slight change to ingredients and method, ending with a curry rather than a chutney
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 5 mins
Cooking time: 15 mins
Serves: 4 – 6 people, depending how you use it

4 medium zucchini
2 red chillies – roasted if you have them
0.5 green chilli
1 scant tspn tamarind paste
4 Tblspn Urad Dal
1 Dstspn Cumin
Pinch Asaphoetida
Sea Salt to taste
Ghee or oil

for tadka
0.5 – 1 Tblspn ghee
2 tspn black mustard seeds
1 – 2 stalks curry leaves
small piece red chilli

Cut the zucchini into cubes.

Roast the urad dal in a dry frying pan until toasted and a roasted aroma arises. If you do not have roasted chillies, add 1 or 2 fresh chillies split lengthwise to the pan while roasting.

If using roasted chillies, add them to the pan at the end of roasting the urad dal.

Remove from the pan and set aside.

Saute the zucchini in ghee until slightly browned and tender but not overcooked. Add the asaphoetida and stir through the zucchini, allowing it to cook a little. Add the tamarind paste and stir it through.

Add the cumin seed and mix it through for 30 seconds before adding the urad dal and chilli mix. Stir to mix well.

Add salt to season.

Make the tadka
Heat ghee in a clean frying pan. When melted, add the black mustard seeds and curry leaves with the chilli. Allow the mustard seeds to pop (be careful of splattering).

Pour over the zucchini curry.

Sprinkle with some fresh coriander leaves and serve over rice.

Zucchini Curry


About Ganga108

Heat in the Kitchen, Cooking with Spirit. Temple junkie, temple builder, temple cleaner. Lover of life, people, cultures, travel. Champion of growth, change and awareness. Taker of photos. Passionate about family. Happy.
This entry was posted in 10 Mid Spring, Indian, Lentils - Grains - Rice - Nuts, Spices and Herbs, VEGETARIAN, Zucchini and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Zucchini Curry

  1. Asha says:

    You can savory pancakes too with grated Zucchinis and carrots!:)


  2. Rosa says:

    This looks lovely, a shame zucchini season has just ended here! Thanks for all the information about the ingredients.


  3. VegeYum says:

    Yum, Asha, the thought of those pancakes is very tempting.

    Hi Rosa, it is quite strange for me to think of seasonal food as food actually ending. In Australia we have all weather from tropical in the north to sub tropical in eastern central coast to cold cold cold in Tasmania, Mediterranean in the south, and desert in most of the country. So things never really become unavailable. It is just that the quality and the amount available might vary from season to season.

    Having said that, zucchinis are good and prolific at the moment. And delicious in curry.


  4. Zuchhini, or gourgettes as we call them her in France, are one of those vegetables that you can do million things with and they are always a winner. The quinoa sounds great long with the curry!


  5. VegeYum says:

    I love the way that the net exposes us to different ways and traditions across the world. Here in Australia, such a mix of people that we often have several names for the same thing. I am sure that happens elsewhere too. Zucchini is also referred to here as courgettes, but I never heard them called gourgettes. Thank you Ronell for letting me know that.

    Gourgettes are so very versatile, aren’t they? from cakes and cookies to curries and pies. The quinoa – a real surprise to find it so well matched to the curry.


  6. Susan says:

    With such an abundance of local fresh zucchini every summer, we can always use another refreshing recipe for them. Thanks for the ingredient glossary. I didn’t know what tadka was, although I have all the fixings for it. Can it be made ahead of time in batches to store until use, or is it better made right at the time?


  7. VegeYum says:

    Hi Susan, the curry is good – I hope that you get to try it. Great to see that you are venturing into Indian cooking too. I am a spice junkie.

    A tadka adds something very special to an Indian dish. It changes the taste of black mustard seeds completely, and captures the intense flavours of the spices in the ghee or oil. I can’t imagine making them beforehand. I think that they need to be fresh, and indeed hot hot hot when they hit the curry and sizzle as it hits the dish. The oil is important – don’t do what my brother did the other day. He make the tadka, then drained off the oil (and lots of the flavour) and only added the spices to the dish.


  8. Yum! I love zucchini and I look forward to trying some of these ideas!


  9. Lucy says:

    Utterly beautiful – zucchini are a perfect vehicle for flavours and spices like these! Quinoa was a inspired addition.

    I’ll never forget the look on my partner’s face when he opened the tin of asaphoetida. Very amusing.


  10. bee says:

    have you tried growing them in a pot? they are super easy to grow, and the squash flowers are beautiful and edible.


  11. VegeYum says:

    Wow, bee, I never thought of growing them in a pot – I must try this.

    Hi Lucy, lol with the asaphoetida story. Yes, I know, very pungent.

    Writingimpropmpt, look forward to your zucchini cooking stories.


  12. Madhuram says:

    I have not tried it as an Indian stir fry yet. Nice idea, will try it soon. But I have made zucchini daal, oven baked zucchini fries and chocolate chip zucchini bread. I have everything in my blog. Actually I asked my husband to get one zucchini to try the oven baked zucchini fries, but he got 4 instead and tried 4 different recipes and each of them turned out better than the other.

    Zucchini is so versatile, and so delicious. Madhuram I love how you got to try lots of different dishes!


  13. Anu says:

    Zucchini curry looks yummy! Liked the way u have presented the recipes. Perfect pictures too!!

    I am Anu from My Scrawls. I have posted my version of zucchini curry in my blog. Do have a look at it when u get time. would be happy to receive your comments :)


  14. jadu says:

    Hallo dear, thanks for receipe but What I have noticed If I am not wrong is missing on your cooking method is tamarind to add. I apologies if I am worng.


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