Indian Asparagus with Shredded Coconut

Asparagus 1

I don’t know about you, but my Instagram feed and feed reader are clogged with photos of ramps and ramp recipes, respectively.   Unfortunately I’m going to have to miss out on the fun yet again since I’ve never seen a ramp at a farmer’s market or grocery store out in Honolulu.


I guess I’ll just have to drown my sorrows with excessive amounts of rhubarb and asparagus.


These days it’s rare that I leave a grocery store without 2-3 large bunches of asparagus.  Although I love basic grilled or roasted asparagus as much as the next girl, I’ve been trying to branch out and use it in other recipes as well.

Although the cold weather crop isn’t a vegetable that I normally associate with Indian cuisine, asparagus makes one heck of a side when paired with shredded coconut and Indian spices.

Traditional?  Maybe not.  But this healthy vegan and gluten-free side just landed itself into a heavy rotation this Spring.

Asparagus 3


Indian Asparagus with Shredded Coconut

Yield: 3-4 servings

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes


* 2 Tablespoons coconut or vegetable oil
* 1/2 teaspoon yellow or brown mustard seeds
* 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
* 1/2 medium to large onion, finely chopped
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 Serrano chile pepper, finely sliced
* 1 large bunch asparagus, ends trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces on the diagonal
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/4 cup water
* 1/2 cup dried, unsweetened shredded coconut


Heat the oil in a wok or large skillet over high heat. When the oil begins to smoke add the mustard seeds and cumin seeds and immediately cover with a lid or splatter screen. When the mustard seeds have stopped popping, add the onion and reduce the heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion has softened. Add the garlic and the Serrano chile pepper and cook until the onion begins to turn golden.

Add the asparagus and stir to mix. Add the salt and the water and cook, stirring frequently, until the asparagus is tender-crisp. Add the coconut, stir to mix, and cook for an additional minute. Serve hot.

Adapted from

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8 Responses to “Indian Asparagus with Shredded Coconut”

  1. #
    Eileen — May 10, 2013 at 8:51 am

    I can definitely sympathize ont he ramp front–they are nowhere to be found here in scenic California either! Asparagus, though–that we definitely have. The combination with Indian spices sounds amazing!


    • Cate — May 10th, 2013 @ 6:42 pm

      I wonder why! It seems like its only on the East Coast?


  2. #
    Barbara — May 11, 2013 at 12:39 pm

    Guess I’m totally out of the loop- What are ramps?


    • Cate — May 12th, 2013 @ 10:00 pm

      Ramps are a spring vegetable in the allium family (they’re often described as a wild leek or wild garlic). I’d never heard of them until a couple years ago, when they became all the rage on various food blogs.

      I can’t say whether they deserve the hype or not since I’ve never tried them! If you see them and try them, definitely let me know :)


  3. #
    Miriam — May 14, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    I made this tonight, and it was delicious! My mom liked it, too, and decided to add it to her list of Tasty Vegetables to Feed To Company.

    (For your data points, I live in Pennsylvania, which, according to wikipedia, should be right in the middle of ramps country, and I’ve never seen them at my local food co-op (or at the normal grocery stores, but that goes without saying).)


    • Cate — May 14th, 2013 @ 5:24 pm

      So glad you liked it Miriam! Maybe you’ll have to become a forager to get your hands on some ramps? :)


  4. #
    Arianha — June 21, 2013 at 6:40 am

    Looks so so yummy! I have to try this while asparagus are in season… Have you tried fresh (or frozen) grated coconut instead of the dried stuff? I think it makes a big difference :)


    • Cate — June 21st, 2013 @ 5:13 pm

      I haven’t, but I’m sure it would make it extra yummy!


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