Fall Zucchini Subji

One of my favorite dishes to order at a South Indian restaurant is a thali. The thali can be described a fully-balanced meal served in little portions, and comes in both vegetarian and non-vegetarian formats. The vegetarian thali usually has 4 vegetables, dal, sambar, rasam, yogurt, rice, flatbread, papadum, pickle and even a dessert. The non-vegetarian thali usually replaces two of the vegetables with meat options - most commonly chicken and goat. A good South Indian restaurant will change up its thali offerings almost daily, allowing you to savor a variety of vegetables, meats and desserts. 

A few months ago, I enjoyed a particularly yummy thali at a local South Indian restaurant and I was completely blown away by a zucchini subji they had for one of their vegetable options that day. The following week, I recreated that subji at home and it is now in my regular meal rotation. I love zucchini because it absorbs flavors if you let it, and it easily can be hidden if you want it to go unnoticed. I often add zucchini to my homemade pancake mix and muffins, and when I serve this subji with chapatis my kids don’t even realize they’re eating a vegetable! All they taste is the tangy spice mix that works so well with the zucchini in this recipe. Try it at home and let me know if zucchini becomes your favorite Fall vegetable! 


Fall Zucchini Subji


  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil or ghee
  • 2 medium zucchini squashes (cut in half circles)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp black mustard seeds
  • 5-6 curry leaves 
  • ½ tsp urad dal (optional)
  • 1 small onion (chopped fine)
  • 1” piece of ginger (grated)
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • Salt to taste



  1. Heat the oil in a large stainless steel frying pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and curry leaves. Once the mustard seeds start to pop, add the cumin seeds and urad dal. Give it a stir. Turn down the temperature if the urad dal starts to brown too fast. 
  2. Add the onions and sauté until they are transparent. Add the ginger, salt, and turmeric and cook for another minute. 
  3. Add the zucchini and mix well with the spices. Turn the heat down to medium-low, cover and let the zucchini cook until it releases most of its water, stirring occasionally.
  4. Once the zucchini has released most of its water, uncover and add the lime juice. Turn the heat back up to a little over medium and cook for five minutes.
  5. Serve hot with flatbread or as a side with rice and dal . 
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Ayurvedic Lesson

Urad dal is sweet, heavy and slightly heating, making it ideal for Vata. Pitta and Kapha should eat it in moderation because the heating and heavy  qualities can aggravate these doshas.  (This lesson has been adapted from Ayurvedic Cooking for Self-healing by Vasant and Usha Lad)


 Add ¼ tsp red chilli powder with the turmeric powder. Skip the urad dal.

VeggiesMeg S.vata, pittaComment