It is quite fun exploring the use of Amaranth Leaves in both Indian and Middle Eastern cooking. Right now we are focused on Indian uses (of course) but will explore the uses in Middle Eastern and other cuisines as long as our season of Amaranth lasts. Luckily the plants are self-sowing, so there will be another amaranth forest next year, no doubt.
This dish is another Masiyal with Amaranth Leaves – the third one we have made. The recipe is one of Meenakshi Ammal‘s from her cook books Cook and See. One of our very special projects in the kitchen is to cook through these books, as they are very traditional Tamil recipes. In Vol 1, and she includes 3 recipes for Amaranth leaves in the chapter on Aviyal.
Generally masiyal is made with toor dal but less commonly it is made without dal, as in this recipe. The vegetables generally are mashed or finely chopped, and there are (generally) no ground or powdered spices, only seasoning with a few selected whole spices.
Amaranth Plain Masiyal | Thandukkeerai – Araikkeerai Plain Masiyal
This recipe is also very good with the common amaranth that grows in my garden. I do not use the stems. If you are doing the same, just follow the instructions for the leaves.
pinch baking soda
5 – 6 curry leaves, torn
2 tspn brown mustard seeds
2 tspn black gram dal (urad dal)
2 Indian dried red chillies
2 tspn ghee or Indian sesame oil
Remove the roots and stem from the amaranth, and cut the stems crosswise. Heat a little water (half a cup) and allow them to steam.
Wash the amaranth leaves well and add to the stems with a little salt and a pinch of baking soda. Cover the pot with a lid and cook, turning the leaves over once or twice, until tender.
Drain off any excess water and mash or crush the leaves nicely with a masher, churner or immersion blender. You can leave them coarse using the masher, or blend them to a finer mix.
Tear a few curry leaves into pieces and add.
Make a tadka by heating the ghee in a tadka pan or small pan and popping the mustard seeds. Add the chillies and black gram dal. When the dal begins to turn golden, pour the ghee and spices to the cooked amaranth leaves.
Serve and enjoy.
recipe notes and alternatives
Instead of dried red chillies, 4 pickled chillies can be fried and added.
Or break sambar vadam into small bits. Fry and add pickled chillies and vadams just before serving.
Some like this dish seasoned with some fried neem flower.