September 29, 2008

Keerai Masiyal Recipe - How to Make Keerai Masiyal

This is a true blue Tamil Brahmin recipe and a great and easy way to include greens in your weeknight dinners. I used Amaranth Leaves for this, since they are always available in the Chinese wet markets here. Amaranth, also known as pigweed (anyone else find that name strange?) in English, Thotakura in Telugu, Araikeerai or Mulaikeerai in Tamil, is fast becoming my favorite kind of leaf-food. What's even better is, they are available cleaned and it just requires me to lightly wash it before cooking, as opposed to the tedious process of cutting the roots off and going inch by inch over the vegetable from root to tip looking for a grain of sand you are inevitably bound to miss and your husband is sure to bite into first thing at dinner.

Keerai Masiyal Recipe - How to Make Keerai Masiyal Chopped Amaranth Leaves

I used amaranth leaves to make Palak Paneer too and this time around, didn't have the patience to try something that elaborate. 10 minutes of rummaging around in my recipe collection brought me to this nice and easy recipe for Keerai Masiyal, also known as Keerai Kadaiyal. The recipe was so simple that I kept checking back to see if I was missing something.

Keerai Masiyal Recipe - How to Make Keerai Masiyal Keerai Masiyal

Serves 2-3

Amaranth leaves or spinach leaves - 2 cups, cleaned and roughly chopped
Dried red chillies - 2
Jeera powder - 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Urad dal - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - a few (optional)
Garlic - 2 cloves, minced (optional - traditional Brahmin recipes never use garlic, so omit for the authentic taste)
Oil - 2 tsp
Salt - to taste

How to Make Keerai Masiyal

1. Cook the amaranth leaves in 1/2 cup water for about 5-8 mins till its wilted. Be careful not to add too much water, since the leaves give out some while cooking.

2. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan and temper the mustard seeds. Fry the urad dal and the garlic, if using, until both turn golden brown.

3. Add the red chillies, jeera powder and curry leaves and fry for another 15-20 seconds. Now add the amaranth leaves and mix well.

4. Add salt and keep mashing till the leaves are coarse and blended with the rest of the curry. Serve hot with rice and mor kozhambu / spiced buttermilk curry.


- Do not re-heat this curry since the nitrous present in the leaves can be harmful for us, especially kids
- Try to use fresh spinach but frozen should also work.
- The dish is traditionally prepared in kal chatti (thick unpolished granite pots), where the mashing process is much simpler and gives the dish a nice flavour.
- For a quicker version, instead of mashing up the spinach, grind it coarsely in the mixie before adding to the tempered mixture.

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