Kerala Vegetable Stew (Instant Pot and Stovetop)


instant pot kerala vegetable stew

Kerala Vegetable Stew

Kerala vegetable stew is an aromatic, mildly spiced, creamy, veggie-packed coconut curry. It’s a simple, filling, feel-good, family-friendly stew.

It’s also (Indian) pantry-friendly and easily customizable based on what you’ve got at home. This is a great clean-out-the-fridge recipe. Don’t have a lot of veggies at home? Use what you have. I’ll sometimes make this using just potatoes + frozen veggies and it turns out well.

I’m sharing two methods to making this stew: in an Instant Pot, or on the stovetop. The instant pot method is really easy and takes minutes. The stovetop recipe takes longer but is a good option for those who either don’t own an IP or have the time to cook and enjoy watching a pot simmering on the stove (I like to do this on a slow weekend every now and then – it’s kinda nice).

instant pot kerala vegetable stew

What is Kerala Stew?

Stew, or ishtu as it’s called in Kerala, is a type of curry made with whole spices, curry leaves, and coconut milk. You can make Kerala stew using different main ingredients. I already have recipes for Egg Stew, Chicken Stew, and Ground Meat Stew on my blog. It’s about time I share this vegan version.

This South Indian Keralite stew tastes very different from my North Indian Vegetable Korma. Both are great vegetable-packed recipes, but this stew is meant to be a milder dish and calls for a different blend of spices which of course, gives it a different flavor profile.

instant pot kerala vegetable stew

A Good Way To Get The Whole Family Eating More Veggies

This is a great way to get your family to eat their vegetables. The curry is rich and creamy, delicately spiced (for an Indian recipe, lol), and calls for kid-friendly veggies like carrots, potatoes, green beans, and peas. I sneak cauliflower in there too!

My Keralite husband says this is just like his mom’s stew which makes me really happy because we all know, there’s nothing like mom’s cooking. She makes the most amazing food and helps me with my Keralite recipes. 🙂 My mom-in-law does not add cauliflower to stew as that’s not a commonly found vegetable in Kerala. I really like cauliflower and find it’s a good way to get my kiddos to eat it so I add it – but it’s up to you!

instant pot kerala vegetable stew

This type of stew is perfect for a weekend breakfast/brunch. We’ll eat it for dinner too. You can easily adapt the vegetables according to what you have at home and it’s even better the next day.

Serve this stew with appam (lacy rice pancakes – recipe coming once I can perfect them) or matta rice. Feel free to garnish this stew with ghee-coated cashews for a fancier stew or if you’re making this on a special occasion.

More Kerala Recipes

Kerala Vegetable Stew (Instant Pot and Stovetop)

instant pot kerala vegetable stew

Kerala Vegetable Stew (Instant Pot and Stovetop)

5 from 14 reviews
Pin Recipe Print Recipe
Servings 4 -5
Cuisine Indian


  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1- inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 onion sliced
  • 1 serrano pepper slit but still intact
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 15-20 curry leaves


  • 1 pound russet potatoes peeled and chopped (approx 3 cups)
  • 2 cup cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 1 cup chopped green beans


  • 1 ¼ teaspoon salt to taste
  • ¾ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon homemade Kerala garam masala different from garam masala
  • 1 can + 1 cup full-fat canned coconut milk divided


Instant Pot Directions

  • Press saute, add coconut oil and once it melts, add cardamom, cloves, cinnamon. Once fragrant, add onion, serrano, curry leaves, ginger and saute for 3-4 minutes, or until the onions soften (no need to brown) and become fragrant.
  • Add the veggies, salt, pepper, homemade Kerala garam masala and 1 can of coconut milk.
  • Secure the lid, close the pressure valve and cook for 3 minutes at high pressure.
  • Quick release.
  • Press sauté and pour in the remaining cup of coconut milk. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.

Stovetop Directions

  • Melt coconut oil in a dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat.
  • Add the whole spices and after a minute, add the onion, serrano, ginger and curry leaves to the pot and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes or until the onions soften and become fragrant.
  • Add the veggies, salt, pepper, homemade Kerala garam masala, 1 can of coconut milk and ½ cup of water (making this on the stovetop requires adding some water) to the pot and bring the curry to a simmer, then cover the pot with a lid and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender. 
  • Pour in the remaining cup of coconut milk, bring the mixture to a boil then turn off the heat. Adjust the amount of salt and pepper to taste.


Feel free to garnish this stew with ghee-coated cashews for a fancier stew or if you’re making this on a special occasion.
Did you make this recipe?Tag @myheartbeets on Instagram and hashtag it #myheartbeets!

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Find out more about my cookbooks Indian Food Under Pressure and South Asian Persuasion.

About Ashley

Hi, I’m Ashley. Thanks for being here! I truly believe that food brings us closer together. Gather around a table with good food and good people, and you’ll have the ingredients you need to create some happy memories. My hope is that you find recipes here that you can’t wait to share with family and friends.


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  1. Sn George says

    We tried this stew yesterday and it was the best stew that I have made. So delicious! I will never make it on stovetop. Thanks much for the yummy recipe.

  2. Sreeni Nair says

    5 stars
    This turned out really great — fragrant and tasty. I used potatoes, carrots, frozen french cut beans, and frozen peas, and set the cook time to 4 minutes (because I was not sure whether I was supposed to thaw everything). It turned out perfectly!

  3. Jecilly Varghese says

    5 stars
    Omg! So good. Normally I make chicken stew for Appam but had a vegetarian friend come over and I needed a good Appam stew. I had an instapot but did it stove top. Turned out great. Only change-I cooked in a little bit water first to cook the veggies -had a bad experience of curdled coconut milk and didn’t want it happening again. Then added coconut milk after veggies cooked.

  4. Bitha says

    5 stars
    Just made this today for a quick lunch with poori. Delicious!!! My 8 year old who is extremely picky loved the gravy. Used the Periyar brand garam masala .. will try your homemade one next time! Thanks for the awesome, detailed recipes.

  5. Megan says

    5 stars
    Just made the Instant Pot version during my lunch break. Didn’t have cauliflower or green beans, so I subbed in chopped yellow summer squash and snow peas. Delicious, quick and easy.

  6. Maneesha says

    5 stars
    Made this and loved it!! I really enjoyed the garam masala, so I added upwards of 1 tspn in the stew! Made it when my parents came over for lunch, and they loved it! Your recipes are always a winner! I know I can count on them, even new ones I’m making for the first time, when I have company over!

  7. Maneesha says

    This is on the menu for tomorrow lunch! I can’t believe I’ve been following your blog for so long and have never made the garam masala! I’m making the garam masala now, can’t wait to try this recipe!

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