Asparagus Masala is a South Indian style fusion dry curry, prepared using chopped tender asparagus, spices, curry leaves and onion which can be enjoyed with steamed rice and any South Indian gravy. Specifically, Asparagus masala perfectly pairs with sambar rice, rasam rice, and curd rice.
About Asparagus Masala
Asparagus is not something that is easily available in South India. It can be very rarely spotted in any leading chain of super or hypermarkets with very limited quantities. so I never got a chance to cook and eat. Over a period of time, after moving abroad, I got a chance to try asparagus. Whole uncut asparagus is typically stir-fried or oven-roasted.
After trying some other asparagus recipes, here is my attempt to cook asparagus in an Indian way using a traditional South Indian masala called sambar masala. Sambar masala is a very significant masala in every South Indian household and it is used widely right from making sambar to any dry curry or stir-fries.
Asparagus masala is a very simple and easy recipe that just replaced a vegetable ideally used in any south Indian traditional masala-based poriyal.
Poriyal is a side dish that is like a quick stir fry but cooked with Indian spices sometimes.
Recipe Ingredients & Variations
The main ingredient is asparagus. Other than this, other ingredients can be modified or adjusted.
Asparagus: I used green tender asparagus for making this recipe. Remove the hard, bottom part of the asparagus and the fiber that comes out while chopping it into small pieces. I chopped the asparagus into quarter-inch pieces for quick cooking.
Sambar Masala: I used sambar masala for this recipe. Store-bought sambar masala from Asian shops can be used. when sambar masala is not in hand, it can be replaced with red chilli powder aka paprika.
Onion & Seasoning: I used yellow onion, Oil, mustard seeds and curry leaves for seasoning. Mustard seeds and curry leaves can be found in an Asian shop. Any oil variety can be used.
Indian Style Asparagus Masala
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
- 1 spring curry leaves
- 1/2 cup onion chopped
- 1 bunch asparagus 3 cups when chopped
- 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
- 3/4 tsp salt little less than 3/4 tsp or adjust as needed
- 2 tbsp water
- 3/4 tbsp sambar masala adjust as needed
- Choose tender asparagus. Wash the asparagus in the running water well 2 or 3 times.
- Remove the bottom hard part of the asparagus. Remove the fiber if any while removing the hard stem.
- Chop them into quarter-inch length pieces. it came to about 3 cups after chopping.
- Heat oil in a kadai. Once it is hot, add mustard seeds and allow it to splutter. Add curry leaves and let it become crisp.
- Add finely chopped onion and sauté it until soft and translucent.
- Add the chopped asparagus, turmeric powder and salt. After mixing well, add or sprinkle 2 tbsp water.
- Cover and cook until soft about 8 minutes on low to medium flame. Stir in between to avoid burning and for uniform cooking.
- Once the asparagus is almost cooked and there is no trace of water, add the Sambar masala, mix well and cook until the raw smell goes off. Turn off the flame and serve hot.
- Choose the tender asparagus for best results.
- If the asparagus is tender and crisp, cook it in low flame without adding water.
- Instead of sambar masala, red chilli powder can be used
- Instead of green asparagus, white asparagus can be used but flavour and texture slightly differs.
Step by Step Instructions-How to make Asparagus masala
- Choose tender asparagus. Wash the asparagus in the running water well 2 or 3 times. You can chop the asparagus immediately or pat dry it before chopping.
- Remove the bottom hard part of the asparagus. Remove the fiber if any while removing the hard stem. Chop into quarter-size pieces. I chopped it in a small batch of 5 asparagus at a time.
3. It came about 3 cups after chopping. At this stage, you can store it in an airtight container for 1 to 2 days before cooking.
4. Heat oil in a kadai. Once it is hot, add mustard seeds and allow them to splutter. Add roughly chopped curry leaves and let them become crisp.
5. Add finely chopped onion and sauté it until soft and translucent.
6. once the onion is soft, add the chopped asparagus.
7. Once the asparagus is added, it is time to add salt. Add salt to your tastebuds.
8. Add turmeric powder. If you have prepared your sambar masala with turmeric, then you may skip this step. Check the ingredients list for store-bought sambar masala whether it has turmeric or not.
9. Sprinkle 2 tbsp water. If the asparagus you use are crisp and tender, no need add water. Instead cook it in low flame for 5-10 minutes or until the asparagus becomes slightly soft. The asparagus I used were in moderate thickness and hence I used 2 tbsp water. Just sprinkle the water all over the asparagus.
10. Mix once and cover it using a lid. Keep the flame in low to medium. Stir in between at uniform intervals for uniform cooking.
11. Once the asparagus is almost cooked and no traces of water, add the sambar masala. Give a nice stir. Continue the cooking until the raw smell of masala goes off. Adjust the sambar masala to your spice tolerance.
12. Very Simple Indian style asparagus masala is ready to serve.
Storage & Serving Suggestions
Indian-style Asparagus masala can be stored at room temperature for 5 hours immediately after it is prepared. If you want to store it for a longer time, then store the masala in a clean microwave-safe glass container once it comes to room temperature and then keep it inside the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
For reheating, take the needed portion and microwave for 30 seconds – 1 minute, depending on the portion size. It can also be reheated using the stovetop method but microwave reheating is highly recommended for best results.
Serve Indian-style Asparagus masala with steamed rice and any south Indian stye Dal based gravies and Tamarind based gravies. It can also be eaten with hot phulka or roti or chapathi as it has masala in it.
It pairs well with almost all south Indian rice recipes like sambar rice, rasam rice and curd rice.
Recipe Tips & Notes
- Do not add more water to the asparagus while cooking. If you add more water, it becomes mushy and doesn’t look appetizing. If the asparagus is tender and fresh, you may not need water at all.
- The quantity of the sambar masala depends on One’s spice level tolerance. so increase or decrease according to it. Some add turmeric while making sambar masala. If so, feel free to skip or adjust the turmeric in this recipe.
- If preferred, you can slice the asparagus into 1 or 2-inch length pieces. The remaining procedure is the same.
Frequently Asked Questions
I don’t have sambar masala, can I substitute it with some other spices I have?
The closest substitute is red chilli powder aka paprika. you can use red chilli powder instead of sambar masala. but remember there is a slight change in taste if doing so.
Can I use white asparagus for this recipe?
Even though both green asparagus and white asparagus are spring vegetables, the white one slightly differs in flavor due to its nature of growing. It is milder in flavor and appears thick when compared to the green one. However, after removing the excess fiber in the bottom, you can substitute it instead of a green one.
If you have tried this recipe or have any questions, don’t forget to comment below. I would love to hear your feedback and glad to answer your queries. You can also Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Youtube for other updates from my kitchen about Office Lunchbox, Kid’s Lunchbox and simple meal plate ideas.