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 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.

Continue reading “Amaranth Leaves Coconut Kootu”

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.

Continue reading “Amaranth Leaves with Mung Dal | Thotakura Kura Pesarapappu”

Aviyal | Avial | Vegetables in a Coconut and Yoghurt Sauce

It is interesting to compare the Madhur Jaffrey version of Kerala’s Aviyal (delicious) with this traditional Tamil version from Meenakshi Ammal (also delicious). Madhur Jaffrey wrote for Western audiences, and used commonly available ingredients and vegetables, while Meenakshi Ammal wrote for Indian wives using locally available produce. There will also be regional differences. The first thing I noticed is that Ammal specifically excludes okra from the recipe list, while Jaffrey includes it. (I did put a few in this time, I quite enjoy them.)

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.

Avial can be made with a liquid sauce of coconut and yoghurt, or the sauce can remain thick and just coats the vegetables. It is generally eaten with rice.

The word aviyal (aka avial) is also used to denote ‘boiled’ or ‘cooked in water’ —this sense being derived from the way the dish is made. They say that the origins of this recipe is from the Nambudiri cuisine but it is now common throughout South India.

Similar recipes include Kerala Aviyal, Pulissery, and Pineapple Pulissery.

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

Continue reading “Aviyal | Avial | Vegetables in a Coconut and Yoghurt Sauce”

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.

Continue reading “Keerai Masiyal | Amaranth Leaf Masiyal”

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.

Continue reading “Puli Keerai | Amaranth Greens with Tamarind”

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.

Continue reading “Amaranth Plain Masiyal | Thandukkeerai – Araikkeerai Plain Masiyal”

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.

Continue reading “South Indian Amaranth Leaves Soup with Tamarind”

Poritha Kuzhambu

This Poritha Kuzhambu is made using the third of 3 methods outlined by Meenakshi Ammal in her 4 volumes of Cook and See. It sautees the spices before grinding them to a paste and adding to the dish. This deepens the flavours and adds a toasted overtone.

Poritha Kuzhambus are very delicious. These recipes are without tamarind and with coconut added for a beautiful sense of the tropical South of India. Beautiful indeed.

You might like to find out more about Kuzhambu. We suggest that you read The Difference Between Sambar, Kuzhambu and Kootu. Also have a look at the other methods of making Poritha Kuzhambu. The differences are minor, but they do change the flavours significantly. The first uses Sambar Powder, and the second replaces that with a few individual spices.

Similar recipes include Amaranth Leaves Coconut Kootu, Puli Keerai, Plain Masiyal of Amaranth Leaves, Beetroot Vathakuzhambu, Green Chilli Kuzhambu, Fenugreek Kuzhambu, Green Amaranth Soup with Tamarind, and Race Kuzhambu.

Are you looking for the recipes of Meenakshi Ammal? They are here. She certainly is my guru of Tamil Brahmin cuisine.

All of our Sambar and Kuzhambu dishes can be browsed here. Or have a look at all of our Indian recipes. Or you may like to explore our Late Summer recipes.

Continue reading “Poritha Kuzhambu”

Eggplant and Kale Pakora

Pakora are a favourite street food in India, and one that can easily be made at home. Recipes use a chickpea flour batter into which vegetables are dipped and then deep fried. I like to serve these Pakora with sea salt and lemon juice only, but they are commonly eaten with Indian sauces and chutneys.  One word describes them. Delicious. Incredibly delicious. Have a glass of chai with them – I also love them with a small cup of spicy rasam.

In frying the pakora (also called pakoda, bhajji and bhajiya) the aim is to cook the vegetable in the same amount of time that the batter takes to become crispy. It is about temperature, so it is a good idea to test-fry a few pieces before cooking the whole batch.

The types of vegetables that can be used include potatoes, onion rings, eggplant, sweet potatoes, softer pumpkins, lotus root, cauliflower and greens such as spinach, kale and amaranth leaves. Make sure that any greens are really dry before using.

Similar recipes include Curly Kale with Ginger and GarlicMalabar Spinach Pakora, Red Onion and Green Chilli Pakora, Okra and Cauliflower Pakora, and Vegetable Fritters.

Browse all of our Pakoras and all of our Snacks. All of our Indian recipes are here, and our Indian Essentials are here. Or explore our Mid Autumn dishes.

Continue reading “Eggplant and Kale Pakora”

Poritha Kuzhambu with Tamarind

Poritha Kuzhambu is a delicious dish defined by the addition of coconut and cumin seeds. Many of our recipes for this dish have been made without tamarind, but today’s recipe includes that wonderful, sour tang.

What makes Poritha Kuzhambu different from Sambar and Pitlay is its ground masala with coconut, cumin and urad dal (black gram dal). Some households use black pepper instead of cumin. Poritha Kuzhambu with Tamarind can be made with a medley of vegetables or a single one, often with the addition of a legume. Meenakshi Ammal always suggests using only one vegetable for Poritha Kuzhambu and a mixture of vegetables for Kootu. Although in this one, when listing the vegetables, she seems to relax that rule just for a moment for this recipe, suggesting that vegetables can be used in combination, but later instructions imply again that for Kuzhambu, one vegetable is best.

Another feature of Poritha Kuzhambu with Tamarind is that it often includes lentils and/or beans together with the traditional toor dal (red gram dal). We have made this with toor dal and chickpeas. Delicious!

This recipe is indeed one of Meenakshi Ammal’s from the first volume of Cook and See. This recipe is a tangle! Like the first ones in the book, for Sambar, this recipe definitely takes some detective work to untangle. Thoughts have been put down without logic and structure, so I have done my best to add sequence and process to the instructions. I do hope that you enjoy.

Similar recipes include Plain Masiyal of Amaranth Leaves, Simple Poritha Kuszhambu, and Ammal’s “Method Three” Poritha Kuzhambu. Also Green Chilli Kuzhambu, Fenugreek Kuzhambu and Race Kuzhambu.

Why not browse through the recipes of Meenakshi Ammal? They are here.

Then browse all of the Poritha Kuzhambu 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.

I would also suggest trying the Kootu recipes – these are very similar but have a thicker consistency.

Continue reading “Poritha Kuzhambu with Tamarind”