Oh the joy of Amaranth. Spectacular in the garden, a delight in the rays of sunset, and absolutely delicious in the kitchen. Today we are cooking Amaranth leaves with tamarind in a simply spiced dish. The leaves are mashed a little but not completely.
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, she includes 3 recipes for Amaranth leaves in the chapter on Aviyal.
Puli Keerai | Amaranth Greens with Tamarind
either leaves of Mulaikkeerai or Mulai Thandu types of Amaranth are recommended for this recipe, but it can be made with which ever variety of Amaranth you have. If using Mulaikkeerai, small stems can be included. The leaves of the amaranth in my garden are small – medium, and I use about 100 leaves per dish, for 2 – 3 people. This makes about 0.75 cup of cooked leaves. If your leaves are larger, adjust amounts to suit.
pinch baking soda
3 – 4 green chillies, chopped
tamarind, a small lump for each cup of cooked greens, or use just a little concentrated tamarind paste
1 tspn rice flour
1 tspn brown mustard seeds
2 Indian dried red chillies
2 tspn ghee or Indian sesame oil
8 – 10 fresh curry leaves
Wash the amaranth leaves and cook in a covered pot in 0.5 cup boiling water with a pinch of baking soda and with the green chillies sitting on top of the greens.
Soak the tamarind in hot water for 15 mins, and strain, reserving the water and pushing the pulp through the strainer. Discard the fibres and seeds.
When the leaves are tender, mix them a little and crush lightly with a masher, churner or a couple of pulses of an immersion blender. Do not make it too smooth.
Add the tamarind and salt to taste. Return it to the boil.
Mix rice flour in some water, stirring until there are no lumps. Add to the amaranth leaves, stirring all the time, and simmer for some seconds until the leaves come together and the rice flour has cooked out.
Make a tadka by heating the ghee in a tadka pan or small pan and popping the mustard seeds. Add the chillies and asafoetida, then the curry leaves, and after they have sizzled, add the ghee and spices to the cooked leaves. Serve and enjoy.
recipe notes and alternatives
To make Keerai Sweet Pachadi, reduce the amount of tamarind and salt. Add about 1 Tblspn of Jaggery just before thickening with the rice flour.