Chilli Leaf Sambar | Keerai Sambar

Occasionally the local Asian shop has Chilli Leaves and we are always excited to bring a bunch home. We have a few favourite ways of using them – they are so unusual in Australia. One of our favourite ways is to make a Chilli Leaf Sambar. It is a standard sambar with an onion tadka, into which the cooked leaves are stirred. The flavours are allowed to develop and the sambar is served with rice.

I have topped it with melted ghee mixed with some Indian chilli powder for a spicy lift to the dish. This isn’t necessary, but a small pat of ghee on top of the sambar makes a delightful finishing touch.

This sambar can be made with Mustard Greens, Drumstick leaves or Amaranth Greens too.

Similar recipes include Khar, Sarson ka Saag, and Chilli Leaves with Peas.

Browse our Sambar recipes, and Chilli Leaves dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Spring dishes.
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100 Vegetables: #1 Amaranth Leaves

Amaranth Leaves are the leaves of the varieties of edible amaranth plants. They are very easy to grow, and come up year after year, so keen gardeners are never without this vegetable in their gardens. The leaves can vary from green to red, and you will often see bunches in Asian green groceries.

I cook them in Indian dishes, as the leaves are quite common in India so there is a great variety of recipes. However, Amaranth varieties are used in Asian cooking too. Known as Chinese Sinach or Een choi, it is often sold as whole plants with roots. It is exceptionally high in protein.

You can also browse these (and any new recipes) here. And check out our 100 Vegetable Series.

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Kootu with Coconut

Kootu (or Koottu) is a simple, yet delicious dish that’s made in most Tamil homes in Tamil Nadu in South India.  While it can be made at any time, it is especially important during some festivals, such as Pongal.

This kootu is different from the traditional Aviyal as the mix of ingredients is different. Each Tamil home has their own style of making this kootu and the vegetables chosen also differ from home to home. Kootu usually includes lentils and is similar to sambar and kuzhambu, but there is a variation that is similar to Aviyal in that lentils are not used but a variety of vegetables are included. Most kootus are spiced with a coconut, cumin and red or green chillies in a paste – sometimes spices are kept to a minimum and just a coconut paste is used.

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. You can find all of Ammal’s dishes that we have made here. Most of them are from Vol 1 so far.

Similar dishes include Aviyal.

Browse all of our Kootu recipes and all of our Aviyal dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Amaranth Leaves Coconut Kootu

Kootu (or Koottu) is a simple, yet delicious dish that’s made in most Tamil homes in Tamil Nadu in South India.  While it can be made at any time, it is especially important during some festivals, such as Pongal.

Kootu usually includes lentils and is perhaps similar to sambar and kuzhambu, but there is a variation that is similar to Aviyal in that lentils are not used but a variety of vegetables are included. Most kootus are spiced with a coconut, cumin and red or green chillies in a paste – sometimes spices are kept to a minimum and just a coconut paste is used. We have made this one with Amaranth Leaves.

This kootu is different from the traditional Aviyal style as the mix of ingredients is different. Each Tamil home has their own style of making this kootu and the vegetables chosen also differ from home to home.

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.You can find all of Ammal’s dishes that we have made here. Most of them are from Vol 1 so far.

Similar dishes include Pumpkin Kootu with Coconut, and  Aviyal.

Browse all of our Kootu recipes and all of our Aviyal dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Amaranth Leaves with Mung Dal | Thotakura Kura Pesarapappu

Amaranth pops up in Mid January in our yard, forming quite a forest. Not only does it look divine with its red and green leaves and hanging red “cocks comb”, those same leaves are edible. And delicious. We have a number of recipes in which Amaranth Leaves can be used.

In this simple, very delicious and healthy recipe, Amaranth Greens are paired with just-cooked split mung dal, cumin and coriander powder. It is a moist dish, not quite dry. It is easy to make and I know that you will enjoy it.

There are many different varieties of amaranth and the tastes will vary as well as the colour of their leaves. Some are more bitter than others. Adjust your spices according to need.

Similar dishes include Amaranth Leaves Coconut Kootu, Poritha Kootu, Mung Bean Soup with Amaranth, and Poritha Kuzhambu with Amaranth.

Browse all of our Amaranth dishes and all of our Mung recipes.  All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Summer dishes.

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Keerai Masiyal | Amaranth Leaf Masiyal

There are a number of Amaranth greens available in South India – Mulaikkeerai, Muli Thandu or Thandukkeerai, and Arikkeerai. The most common variety of amaranth that is grown here, Foxtail Amaranth, is Thandukkeerai, but it is grown for ornamental reasons in gardens, not culinary ones. It is very difficult to find the  different varieties in shops unless you search the Asian markets.

The different varieties do have different tastes and properties – for example, some are heating to the body and some are cooling to the body. In India, the crops of Amaranth are also dependent on the season – the cooling ones in the hottest parts of the year, the heating ones in the coldest times of the year. Here, there is no such availability, information or attention to detail. Do use whichever amaranth is available to you.

We generally think of Masiyal as being made with toor dal or a mixture of toor dal and mung dal. However Meenakshi Ammal in her books Cook and See has several recipes for Amaranth Masiyal (in Vol. 1) that do not contain any dal. This one mashes the leaves, and I have to say it is very delicious. One of the defining characteristics of Masiyal is that there are no ground or powdered spices, only seasoning with a few selected whole spices. It allows the ingredients to shine rather than being overwhelmed with spices, onions or garlic. That is the beauty of all traditional Tamil food.

Similar dishes include Eggplant Misayal, Amaranth Leaves with Mung Dal, Poritha Kootu, Mung Bean Soup with Amaranth, and Poritha Kuzhambu with Amaranth.

Browse all of our Amaranth dishes and all of our Masiyal recipes.  All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Puli Keerai | Amaranth Greens with Tamarind

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.

Similar recipes include Eggplant Misayal, Amaranth Leaf Masiyal, Sampangi Pitlai, Poritha Kootu, and Spinach Chutney.

Browse all of our Amaranth Leaf recipes and all of our Masiyal dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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Amaranth Plain Masiyal | Thandukkeerai – Araikkeerai Plain Masiyal

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.

You can find all of Ammal’s dishes that we have made here. Most of them are from Vol 1 so far.

Similar recipes include Puli Keerai, Ridged Gourd Masiyal, Sampangi Pitlai, Poritha Kootu, and Spinach Chutney.

Browse all of our Amaranth Leaf recipes and all of our Masiyal dishes. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Early Autumn dishes.

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South Indian Amaranth Leaves Soup with Tamarind

Amaranth is loved across India (and features strongly in a range of Asian cuisines). All parts are used – the seeds are well known outside India, and at the moment they are fashionable and quite popular. But in India the leaves are also used, and the young, tender stems as well.

Amaranth leaves are available in Asian shops so keep an eye out for them. There are different varieties – some are green, but others often contain a tinge of red. Beautiful indeed.

Meenakshi Ammal in her cookbooks Cook and See mentions Amaranth leaves and stems a lot in her sections on sambars and kuzhambu recipes. This recipe she calls (in English) Greens Soup with Tamarind and it sits in the chapter of Poritha Kuzhambu. It is an unusual name given that soups are not traditionally part of the Tamil cuisine (although they are popular more recently). I wonder if the name in Tamil is quite different. However, she certainly got the colour correct!

This recipe is a cousin to this one of the same name. While that one uses Pitlay spices but not a tadka, this recipe uses sambar powder with a tadka. Both are pretty special and you should try them both. This one is closer to this Poritha Koottu with Tamarind.

Similar recipes include Amaranth Leaf Masiyal, Poritha Kuzhambu dishes and Poritha Kootu recipes. Try Plain Masiyal of Amaranth Leaves, Moar Kuzhambu, Lentil Balls in a Spicy Gravy, and Vatral Kuzhambu.

Some popular Indian Soups include Indian Potato and Tomato Soup, South Indian Cauliflower Soup, Two Gentle Mung Dal Soups, and A Light, Summery Tomato Soup.

But why not browse all of our Kuzhambu recipes, and all Indian Soups? Or explore our Amaranth dishes, and our complete Indian Recipe Collection. Or take some time to check out our easy Early Autumn dishes.

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Poritha Kootu with Chickpeas and Tamarind

I have been showering you with a range of Kootu recipes without tamarind, and they are glorious! But, occasionally, Kootu can include some tamarind for that lovely tangy taste. It is best to use Toor Dal, rather than Mung dal, when tamarind is used.

This recipe uses a ground masala with coconut, cumin and urad dal (black gram dal). Some households use black pepper instead of cumin. Poritha Kootu with Tamarind can be made with a medley of vegetables, rather than the single vegetable that is preferred for Poritha Kuzhambu. Another feature of this dish that you will notice, is that it includes legumes and/or beans as well as the dal.

Remember that this is a thicker dish than Poritha Kuzhambu, so cook the dal and vegetables in less water than you might otherwise.

This recipe is again one of Meenakshi Ammal’s from the first volume of Cook and See. Such a tangle it was, but I think that I have untangled it well. I do hope that you enjoy. We have used Drumstick Leaves (Moringa) as our vegetable.

Would you like to try other Poritha Kootu recipes? Try Poritha Kootu with Beans, Poritha Kootu with Sambar Powder and Poritha Kootu without Cumin. Recipes with Chickpeas include Chana Masala.

Why not browse through Meenakshi Ammal’s recipes? They are here.

Then browse all of the Poritha Kootu recipes. All of our Sambar and Kuzhambu dishes can be browsed here. Have a look at all of our Indian recipes. Or you may like to explore our Early Autumn recipes.

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