Veg Sherva or Shorba – A Side Dish for Vegetarian Pulao

Vegetarian Sherva or Shorba - Side Dish for Veg Pulav

Veg Sherva (also known as Veg Shorba) is a spicy onion and tomato based gravy that is served as an accompaniment to Biryani and Pulao. I like to make it with Vegetarian Pulav, which  is very mildly spiced  and needs an accompaniment to liven it up. Of course, you could use Papad or Raita. However, sometimes you might crave something spicy to accompany the Veg Pulao and this where the the Veg Sherva helps.

It is very easy to make Veg Sherva and the ingredients are commonly found at home. You can make it plain as shown in this recipe or then add potatoes or chicken to it. I usually like Sherva with Pulao as I feel Biryani is already spicy and anyway, it is just too many tastes. This week, I made Sherva to accompany Ragi Sangati which I am eating regularly.

How to Make Veg Sherva or Shorba

Veg Sherva or Shorba - A Side Dish for Vegetarian Pulao
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
40 mins
Veg Sherva is a spicy tomato and onion-based gravy that is an excellent accompaniment or side dish to mild Veg Pulao or Qabooli.
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4
Author: Aruna
To Grind Together
  • 1.5 Cups Finely Sliced Onions
  • 3/4 Cup Finely Chopped Tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp Desiccated Coconut
  • 1 tsp Finely Chopped Green Chillies
  • 3/4 tsp Grated Ginger
  • 3/4 tsp Grated Garlic
  • 10 to 12 Mint Leaves
  • 2 tbsp Oil
Other Spices
  • 2 Bay Leaf
  • 1 Black Cardamon
  • 3 Green Cardamom
  • 1 tsp Shah Jeera
  • 4 Cloves
  • 1.5" Cinnamon Piece
  • 2 Small Mace Pieces
  • 1/2 tsp Roasted Cumin Powder
  • 1 tsp Coriander Powder
  • 1 tsp Red Chilli Powder
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric
  • 2 tbsp Oil
  • Salt to Taste
Method to Make the Sherva Paste
  1. Over a medium flame. heat a broad-bottomed pan.
  2. Add the oil to it. Let the oil heat a bit.
  3. Add the sliced onions and fry till the onions start to change colour.
  4. Add the ginger, garlic, and green chillies.
  5. Stir-fry for 10-15 seconds.
  6. Add the mint leaves and stir-fry for a few seconds.
  7. Add the chopped tomatoes.
  8. Stir-fry till the tomato pieces are stewed and soft.
  9. Turn off the heat.
  10. Add the desiccated coconut.
  11. Mix well and set aside.
  12. After the mix cools, grind to a smooth paste. Add a little water, if required. I normally do not without any water because the onions and tomatoes have enough moisture.
Method to Make the Vegetarian Sherva
  1. In the same pan, in which you cooked the Sherva paste, heat 2 tbsp oil.
  2. Add the bay leaves.
  3. Stir-fry for 3 to 5 seconds.
  4. Add the cloves, cinnamon, shah jeera, and mace.
  5. Stir-fry till the aroma of the spices is released.
  6. Add the ground Sherva paste.
  7. Stir-fry till it changes to a darker colour and the oil starts to leave the sides.
  8. Add the red chilli, turmeric, cumin, and coriander powders.
  9. Mix well.
  10. Add 2 Cups water and salt.
  11. Let the Sherva simmer till it thickens a bit.
  12. Serve warm with Vegetable Pulao or Qubooli.
Recipe Notes

If you have Biryani Masala with you, you can use it in place of the dry spices.

I have seen some Sherva recipes that use Dahi or Yogurt. If you want to add Dahi, then add about 2 tbsp after the paste has been sauteed.Saute well till the dahi is mixed with the paste. Then add the water and simmer.


Veg Sherva or Shorba


  1. Aruna,
    I can almost smell the aroma of this yummy Sherva! I am pinning this recipe for sure!
    Just wanted to double check with you about Step 13 in Making the sherva

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