What would you feed me…Naina?


Welcome to this week’s guest post, coming today from Naina from the wonderful blog Spice in the City. Naina’s blog is packed full of the most amazing photos and recipes, full of colour and flavour, her posts are always a joy to behold. And today’s is no different, Naina has brought me a gorgeous looking and sounding dish…enjoy..

So, over to you, Naina, what would you feed me? 

Kerala Ishtu small1

So this week, I am playing host, albeit virtually, to a very special person. She is I think the healthiest eater I know! She is completely honest about her food journey and how it has now brought her to a place where she truly enjoys what she eats and how good it makes her feel.


Isn’t that inspirational? Meet Elaine, who blogs at Foodbod 😀 She makes healthy look oh so good! Nut butters, fabulous dips, goodness bars, beautiful salads… and don’t even get me started on her sourdough breads!! Glorious!


She loves and eats lots of vegetables, but no meat, no junk food and no refined sugars. She does love her spices though and that makes us soul-sisters, doesn’t it 😀 Elaine runs this series called ‘What would you feed me?’, where she challenges fellow food bloggers to come up with healthy dishes that they would serve her, if she came to dinner.


When it comes to cooking for Elaine, I know it has to be something extremely flavorful and clean, a dish where you can taste and experience each ingredient that has gone into it. Something fresh, that also looks and tastes wonderful!


I thought through a lot of vegetarian curries, many of which were prime candidates for the ‘What would I feed Elaine?’ challenge. But knowing Elaine’s love for vegetables, I wanted a dish where the spices don’t overpower the vegetables. Where the veggies shine through, still retain their crunch and are the real stars 😀

Kerala Ishtu small4

So, drumroll please… I present to you, Elaine, the divine Kerala Ishtu!! All the way from God’s Own Country! Talk about temple food 🙂


Delicately spiced with whole cloves and cinnamon, freshly crushed peppercorns, with just a hint of turmeric thrown in to impart that golden hue, this ‘Ishtu’ or stew lets the vegetables do all the talking.


They are quickly stir fried in coconut oil (another favorite of Elaine’s) and then simmered in a couple of minutes in coconut milk. Ginger and curry leaves provide the finishing touches. Clean eating at its best!


This stew is generally made with only potatoes, but I’ve also eaten some with carrots and green beans in them. When I went to my supermarket yesterday, I found some gorgeous pink radishes, which I thought would work really well in the stew (and they did!)


Instead of green beans, I added sugar snap peas, which tasted just brilliant here 🙂 I really, really love the flavors in this gorgeous, delicate stew and I hope Elaine will too.


Ishtu is traditionally served with Rice Appams (the kind that Angie made!), but I bet it will taste scrumptuous with a loaf of Elaine’s beautiful sourdough bread, to mop up all that fragrant sauce 🙂

Here’s the recipe.


2 tablespoons Coconut Oil

6 Cloves

2 inch stick of Cinnamon

1 large Red Onion, chopped

1 Green Chilli, slit lengthwise

2 inch piece Ginger, finely chopped

2 sprigs Curry Leaves

A Pinch of Turmeric powder

4 medium Carrots, diced into cubes

100 grams Sugar Snap peas, cut into halves

100 grams Radishes, cut into halves

(Feel free to substitute with other vegetables: potatoes, cauliflower, green peas)

200 ml Coconut Milk

½ teaspoon coarsely ground Black Pepper

Salt to taste


Heat oil in a heavy bottom large sauce pan on medium heat. 

Add the cloves and cinnamon and fry for a few seconds. 

Add the onions and fry for a few till they soften. 

Now add the green chilli, ginger, 1 sprig curry leaves and turmeric powder. 

Stir well and fry for half a minute to mix the spices well. 

Add by the carrots (if using potatoes, also add at this point). Stir well and fry for 2-3 minutes.

Next add the  add the radishes and sugar snap peas (or other vegetables)  and fry for a further minute. 

Now add a quarter cup of water and season to taste. 

Simmer on a low heat with the lid on for 3-4 minutes until the vegetable have cooked, but still retain a crunch. 

Add the coconut milk and simmer for a further 2 minutes. 

Now add the black pepper and remaining curry leaves. 

Serve warm with appams, rice or bread of your choice.

Kerala Ishtu small

Naina, this is a beautiful dish, absolutely full of everything I love: spices, flavour, fresh vegetables, colour, coconut oil…it’s all wonderful. Thank you so very much, and thank you for all of your lovely, kind words xx

29 thoughts on “What would you feed me…Naina?

  1. Loretta

    Wow to both you ladies and a wonderful introduction to both! The pink radishes really look amazing in that ishtu – I love how you’ve left the tails on Naina – what a dramatic effect! Beautiful styling, colors and textures, what a treat for you Elaine! 🙂 A healthy, hearty vegetable stew.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Pingback: What I would Feed Elaine: Kerala Mixed Vegetable Ishtu | Spice in the City

  3. Pingback: What I would Feed Elaine: Kerala Mixed Vegetable Ishtu - Spice in the City

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