Keerai (green leafy vegetable) cooked in tamarind extract and thickened with a herbaceous paste made of mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, rice flour, green chilies and cilantro. A wholesome and delicious dish in a matter of minutes.
My MIL learnt the recipe for this luscious pulusu from a friend in Chennai and she promptly handed it down to me. And I’m promptly documenting it here. It looks like Keerai Molagootal but it has the tang of a Keerai Sambar and that punchy taste of mustard that you experience in a Mathan Aana Pachadi or vendakka thayir patchadi, typically thickened with a ground paste of coconut, mustard and green chillies. Despite all the South Indian culinary heavy weights that it’s reminiscent of, it rises up to the occasion and holds it’s own as a tangy, spicy, wholesome and comforting curry.
To make this unique pulusu or kozhambu, begin with a small bunch of green leaves. I’ve used red Amaranth here, but you could use any hardy variety. Start by preparing the tempering. Splutter mustard seeds, urad dal, fenugreek and red chili in a splash of sesame seed oil. Sautee the chopped green leaves in the prepared tempering. Pour the tamarind extract, salt and turmeric powder and cook until the raw smell disappears. Thicken it up with a ground paste of sesame seeds, mustard seeds, rice flour, green chilies and cilantro. Bring it to a boil. Check for salt and consistency and adjust. Serve hot with rice and ghee.
- Amaranth Leaves – 1 small bunch, 1/2 a big bunch or 3 cups chopped
- Tamarind – a small gooseberry sized ball
- Salt – 1 tsp
- Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
- Sesame Seed oil – 1 tsp
- Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
- Fenugreek/Methi seeds – 1/2 tsp
- Urad dal – 1 tsp
- Whole Red Chili – 1
TO BE GROUND IN TO A FINE PASTE
- Mustard Seeds – 1.5 tsps
- Sesame Seeds – 2 tsps
- Green Chilies – 4 nos
- Coriander – 1/4 cup
- Rice flour – 2 tsps’
- Water – about 1/4 cup
- Finely chop the green leaves to yield 3 cups. Keep the tender stems.
- Soak the tamarind in warm water. Extract the essence. Keep aside.
- Heat oil in a heavy-bottomed pan. Splutter the mustard seeds followed by the urad dal, methi seeds and red chili.
- When the urad dal turns two shades darker, add the chopped greens and sautee for a couple of mins. Pour the tamarind extract, salt and turmeric powder.
- Cook until the raw smell of the tamarind disappears and the greens are cooked. About 5-8 mins.
- Add the ground paste and bring to a boil. Turn off the stove.
- Serve hot with ghee and rice or with Rotis