Indian Asparagus Stir Fry | The Picky Eater


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This Indian asparagus stir fry is a simple, flavorful dish that brings a unique twist to typical asparagus recipes! Fresh asparagus, ginger, and cumin seeds are sautéed to perfection in olive oil and finished with a splash of lemon juice for a tangy kick. This asparagus sabji is gluten-free, vegan, and ready in just 30 minutes.

Indian spices can elevate just about any vegetable or dish, and this recipe for Indian asparagus has got to be my favorite fusion recipe, along with Indian bok choy. 

Asparagus isn’t a typical veggie used in Indian cuisine, but it’s definitely widely available here in the US. My dad has a knack for making an Indian ‘sabji’ out of just about any vegetable – and asparagus is no exception. And that’s exactly what inspired me to develop this particular recipe!

A “sabji” is basically an Indian vegetable stir fry with aromatic spices like cumin, coriander, turmeric, cayenne pepper, mustard seeds, etc. Traditionally, vegetables like potatoes, cauliflower, peas, spinach, squashes, cabbage, etc. are used in Indian cooking. Since those spices make the traditional Indian “sabji” vegetables taste amazing, why not asparagus? It’s my favorite kind of vegetable recipe!

What’s best is that it’s super versatile! You can serve it as a side dish, as an appetizer, or as a tasty vegetable main with your favorite side. You can even save the leftovers and eat them the next day as a snack (which is what I did).

This stir fry showcases the earthy flavor of asparagus, enhanced with the aromatic punch of cumin seeds and the zing of fresh ginger. It’s super simple to make, and only requires 15 minutes of prep time and 15 minutes of cook time.

I promise you won’t be disappointed with this healthy Indian vegetarian recipe! With its Indian spices and fresh asparagus, it’s a delicious way to celebrate asparagus season. Plus, it’s also a great way to introduce Indian flavors to those trying Indian food for the first time.

👩🏽‍🍳 Why You’ll Love Indian Style Asparagus

  • Plant-Based: This Indian style asparagus recipe is dairy-free, vegan, and vegetarian – making it a delicious addition to a plant based diet.
  • Super Easy: This is a quick and easy recipe that can be whipped up in just thirty minutes. With less time in the kitchen, you’ll have more time for the other parts of your evening. It’s perfect for those busy weeknights when you want a healthy side!
  • Health Benefits: Asparagus is packed with fiber, vitamins, minerals, and happens to be anti-inflammatory as well (source).
  • Versatile: This gluten-free recipe pairs well with just about any main dishes, and you can customize with your favorite Indian spices to try out different flavor combinations!
  • Simple Ingredients: With just a handful of basic ingredients, you have a budget-friendly, easy asparagus dish that won’t overwhelm you!
  • Family-Friendly: This is a recipe the whole family will love. It’s also a great way to introduce kids to Indian flavors and add more veggies to their diet!

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🥘 Ingredients

The best thing about this simple asparagus stir fry is that it just requires a handful of ingredients, all of which can be found at your local grocery stores! This is an easy Indian recipe to whip up any time of year.

Ingredients for Indian asparagus stir fry on a white background.
  • Fresh Asparagus: Fresh asparagus is the star of this dish. It’s a spring vegetable, but you can find it in grocery stores all year round. Remember to chop off the tough ends before cooking, and leave the asparagus tips as is – that’s the tastiest part!
  • Fresh Ginger: A small piece of fresh ginger can add a lovely warmth to asparagus ki sabzi. Grated or minced, it blends well with the spices and lends an earthy flavor to the dish.
  • Cumin Seeds: Cumin seeds are a staple in Indian cooking. They add a smoky, aromatic flavor. Dry roast them on a low flame until they turn a shade darker to release their full flavor.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper: Olive oil is used for sautéing the asparagus and spices. It’s a healthier alternative to other oils and adds a subtle, fruity flavor to the dish. Salt is essential for bringing out the flavors of the ingredients. It’s added to taste, so you can adjust the quantity based on your dietary needs and preferences. A sprinkle of ground black pepper adds a bit of heat and enhances the overall flavor of the dish. It’s a simple spice that makes a big difference!
  • Lemon Juice: A splash of lemon juice adds a refreshing tang, and brightens this lemon cumin asparagus dish. A pinch of sugar can be added to offset the acidity if needed.

🍲 Ingredient Substitutions

  • Asparagus: If fresh asparagus is not available, you can use frozen asparagus. Just be sure to thaw it completely and remove any excess water before cooking.
  • Ginger: If fresh ginger is not available, you can substitute it with about half the amount of ground ginger. However, the flavor might not be as vibrant.
  • Cumin: If you don’t have cumin seeds, you can use ground cumin. Use about half the amount of ground cumin as you would use cumin seeds.
  • Oil: You can substitute olive oil with another neutrally flavored oil like coconut oil or avocado oil.
  • Lemon Juice: If you don’t have fresh lemons, you can use bottled lemon juice. Alternatively, you can substitute it with freshly squeezed orange juice for a slightly different flavor profile.

🔪 How To Make Indian Asparagus

Are you ready to explore the exotic flavors of Indian cuisine? Here’s how to cook asparagus, Indian style!

Prep The Asparagus: Begin by cutting the fresh asparagus into bite-sized 1-inch pieces. Remember to remove the tough ends of the asparagus stalk. 

Fresh asparagus chopped on a cutting board.

Heat Oil, Add Cumin Seeds And Ginger: Next, heat some olive oil in a pan or large skillet over medium heat. Add the cumin seeds to the hot oil. Wait for them to start popping, which helps to release their flavor. Quickly add the ginger to the pan and fry for a few seconds.

Cumin seeds being sauteed in a pan on the stove.

Add Asparagus And Salt: Now, add the chopped asparagus to the pan. Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon salt and stir. Cook it, uncovered, for about five to ten minutes. This quick cooking method ensures the asparagus cooks just right, retaining its tender buds and vibrant green color.

Asparagus pieces being sauteed in a pan.

Caramelize Asparagus: Keep an eye on it. Season with black pepper. Once it begins to caramelize and turn golden brown, it’s time for the next step.

Black pepper added to Indian style asparagus in a skillet on the stove.

Add Citrus And Simmer: Pour some lemon or orange juice to deglaze the pan. As the juice begins to evaporate, turn off the heat and let it soak up the remaining juice for a few minutes.

Asparagus being sauteed with cumin seeds in a large skillet.

Serve: Season to taste, give it a good stir, and your Indian asparagus stir fry is ready to serve! 

Indian asparagus sabji served in a stainless steel bowl.

💭 Expert Tips

  • Properly Prep The Asparagus: Fresh asparagus is key for this recipe. Wash and dry the asparagus with paper towels. Then, cut into bite-sized pieces, and remember to remove the woody ends of the asparagus stalk for a more enjoyable texture. You can snap the ends off by just bending the asparagus at the end, as they will naturally break in the proper place.
  • Use Fresh Spices: Spices lose their potency if they are close to their expiration date (or have expired). For the most authentic Indian flavors, make sure your cumin seeds and ginger are fresh!
  • Cook Asparagus Uncovered: Cook uncovered for about five to ten minutes, stirring occasionally. This method allows it to caramelize and brown, adding a delightful crunch to your asparagus sabzi.
  • Use Fresh Juice: Add the lemon or orange juice to deglaze the pan once the asparagus begins to brown. This adds a tangy flavor to the asparagus and helps absorb the spices better.

📖 Variations

This flavorful Indian asparagus stir fry is incredibly versatile, and you can make it your own in so many ways! Try out these delicious recipes when you want to switch things up!

  • Coconut Asparagus Curry: If you love the creamy texture of coconut milk in your curry, this variation is for you. Add some chopped tomatoes, green chilies, and 1 teaspoon of curry powder to the stir-fry as it cooks. Then add a cup of fresh coconut milk and let it simmer on low flame until it thickens. This Indian asparagus curry makes a delicious side dish that goes well with curd rice or rasam rice.
  • Asparagus Stir Fry With Red Chilies: For those who love a bit of heat in their food, add a couple of red chilies to the hot oil before adding the asparagus. This gives the asparagus a spicy kick and makes it a perfect side dish for any Indian meal.
  • Spicy Indian Masala Asparagus: Make this recipe even spicier by adding some curry spice, red chili pepper, garam masala, black mustard seeds, and garlic cloves to the dish. Add some curry leaves to take it to the next level! If you can’t find these at your local store, they will always be available at Indian markets!

🍽 Serving Suggestions

This Indian asparagus recipe can be paired with a variety of meals. Here are some serving suggestions you will love:

🙌 Dietary Adaptations

This Indian asparagus stir fry recipe is already vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free, making it a perfect choice for those following these dietary restrictions! To make it oil-free, use water to saute instead of oil.

🫙 Storage Directions

  • Refrigerating: Store this delicious Indian asparagus stir fry in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days. This dish doesn’t freeze well because asparagus can become mushy when thawed. However, it is so easy to whip up you can make a fresh batch in no time!
  • Reheating: When you’re ready to enjoy this dish again, reheat it on medium heat in a pan on the stovetop, or warm it in the microwave until heated through.

❓Recipe FAQs

WHAT IS THE IDEAL TYPE OF ASPARAGUS FOR THIS RECIPE?

Fresh asparagus works best for this Indian recipe. Look for ones with firm stalks and bright green or purplish tips. You can usually find them in most grocery stores, especially during asparagus season.

HOW DO I KNOW WHEN THE ASPARAGUS IS COOKED?

You’ll know it has cooked perfectly when it turns bright green and becomes tender. It should take around five to ten minutes on medium heat. In this recipe, we cook them until they get a beautiful golden brown color which is the best way to have it, in my opinion!

IS THIS RECIPE SPICY?

This stir fry is mildly spiced with cumin seeds and black pepper. However, if you prefer a spicier version, you can add red chili powder or fresh green chilies according to your taste.

CAN I ADD OTHER VEGETABLES TO THIS STIR FRY?

Yes, you can if you’d like! You can add other spring vegetables such as peas or bell peppers. Just make sure they are chopped into small pieces for quick cooking.

Indian asparagus with lemon zest, served on a white plate.

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📋 Recipe Card

Indian Asparagus Stir Fry

This Indian asparagus stir fry is a simple, flavorful dish that brings a unique twist to typical asparagus recipes! Fresh asparagus, ginger, and cumin seeds are sautéed to perfection in olive oil and finished with a splash of lemon juice for a tangy kick. This asparagus sabji is gluten-free, vegan, and ready in just 30 minutes.

Prep Time15 minutes

Cook Time15 minutes

Total Time30 minutes

Course: Side Dish

Cuisine: Indian

Diet: Diabetic, Gluten Free, Low Calorie, Low Lactose, Vegan, Vegetarian

Servings: 4 servings

Calories: 56kcal

  • Properly Prep The Asparagus: Fresh asparagus is key for this recipe. Wash and dry the asparagus with paper towels. Then, cut the asparagus into bite-sized pieces, and remember to remove the woody ends of the asparagus stalk for a more enjoyable texture. You can snap the ends off by just bending the asparagus at the end, as they will naturally break in the proper place.
  • Use Fresh Spices: Spices lose their potency if they are close to their expiration date (or have expired). For the most authentic Indian flavors, make sure your cumin seeds and ginger are fresh!
  • Cook Asparagus Uncovered: Cook the asparagus uncovered for about five to ten minutes, stirring occasionally. This method allows it to caramelize and brown, adding a delightful crunch to your dish.
  • Use Fresh Juice: Add the lemon or orange juice to deglaze the pan once the asparagus begins to brown. This adds a tangy flavor to the asparagus and helps absorb the spices better.

Calories: 56kcal | Carbohydrates: 5.1g | Protein: 2.6g | Fat: 3.6g | Sodium: 583.6mg | Fiber: 2.4g



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