Malabar Spinach Tambli (Vali Tambali/Thambali)

Malabar Spinach Tambli is a traditional dish from the state of Kerala in India. It’s made with spinach, tamarind, and coconut milk and is often served as an accompaniment to rice or rotis.

The malabar spinach recipe mangalorean is a traditional dish from the state of Karnataka in India. It consists of cooked spinach and rice, seasoned with various spices.


Tambalis are spicy, acidic rice accompaniments. The spiciness comes from pepper and chilies, while the tanginess comes from the sour curds. Tamblis are prepared with spinach, watercress (ekpanni), and other vegetables. 

Vali, also known as Indian Spinach, Malabar Spinach, or Vietnamese Spinach, is a kind of spinach native to India, Malabar, and Vietnam. It’s called spinach, but it’s not quite the same as palak. In Kannada, this is known as basale soppu, while in Marathi and Konkani, it is known as vaali. 

Vali is a kind of green that is cultivated in nearly every garden in the Udupi and Mangalore regions to be used whenever it is needed. This spinach’s leaves (named pallo in Konkani) and stems (called dentu in Konkani) are used in a variety of dishes:

Stir-fried Malabar spinach (Vali Upakari)

Curry with Malabar Spinach and Coconut (Vali Randayi)

Spicy Malabar Spinach Side Dish (Vali Sukke) 

Coconut Chutney with Malabar Spinach (Vali Sasam)

Spicy, tangy coconut chutney with Malabar spinach and curds gravy (Vali Mosuru Bajji)

We also use basella to create spicy fritters (known as ambado in Konkani) and spicy dosas (known as sanna polo in Konkani) for lunch and supper.

The flavor of this vali tambali is similar to that of Bombay bajji sasam.


2 cups malabar spinach, chopped 1 cup coconut grated 1 tblsp. tamarind juice 4-5 dried red peppers 1 teaspoon cumin seeds 1/2 teaspoon pepper 1/2 cup yoghurt or sour curds a half-cup of oil season with salt to taste

Method of Preparation:

Cook malabar spinach leaves with 1/2 cup water and salt till tender.

Remove them from the oven and set them aside to cool fully.

Meanwhile, using a few drops of oil, cook cumin seeds, pepper, and dried red chilies for a few minutes, or until the cumin begins to sputter or the fragrance of dried red chiles emerges.

Remove them from the oven and set them aside to cool fully.

Grind them, together with the tamarind and coconut, into a smooth paste with as much water as needed after they’ve reached room temperature. 

Tambalis are typically semi-dry, so don’t add too much water. It shouldn’t be too dry, like chutney, or too runny, like ketchup.

Add the cooked and cooled malabar leaves and grind for a few seconds until it forms a smooth paste.

Place the ground tambali in a mixing basin. Add the curds, taste, and adjust the salt as needed before mixing well.

Suggestion for Serving: 

Enjoy this tasty and nutritious tambli with a bowl of rice, pickle, and papad.


Green chillies may be used in lieu of black peppercorns and red chilies for a distinct flavor.

More Konkani cuisine side dishes may be found here. 

Tags: gravy, chutney, tamboli, thambali, tambli, cooling side dish, vali, malabar spinach, easy vegetarian recipes, Indian vegetarian side dishes, Karnataka recipes, low fat recipes, refreshments/ summer coolers, Konkani recipe, Konkani dish, Konkani cuisine, Udupi cuisine, Mangalore cuisine, Konkani cuisine

Malabar Spinach Tambli is a dish made with malabar spinach, coconut milk, tamarind, and spices. The dish can be served as a main course or as side dishes. Reference: basale soppu nutrition.

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Una is a food website blogger motivated by her love of cooking and her passion for exploring the connection between food and culture. With an enthusiasm for creating recipes that are simple, seasonal, and international, she has been able to connect with people around the world through her website. Una's recipes are inspired by her travels across Mexico, Portugal, India, Thailand, Australia and China. In each of these countries she has experienced local dishes while learning about the culture as well as gaining insight into how food can be used as a bridge between different cultures. Her recipes are often creative combinations of traditional ingredients from various different cuisines blended together to create something new.