I am a big fan of greens. Even from my childhood I used to love all kinds of green leafy vegetables. Amma would painstakingly clean the greens and make different kinds of dishes with it. For dad, it always used to koora/stir- fry where as I was more of a pulusu/curry person. As long as I can remember, Palak/Spinach used to be my most favorite and often amma made it with moong dal. Hot rice with some palak pappu with a dollop of ghee – I am slurping as I am typing this.
Moving on to the recipe, it is quite simple. Thandu Keerai also called as Amaranthus Caudatus or Foxtail Amaranth has a thick juicy stem and the leaves are quite broad and large. The beauty of this is, one can use the stems as well as the leaves – hence the name Thandu (stem) Keerai (greens). This green leafy vegetable is quite famous during the month of July- August owing to its use in preparing Aadi Maasam Koozhu for Amman (Goddess). I was overjoyed on finding it in the streets of Bangalore and picked it up with both my hands 😀 Now this recipe is a mix of how my MIL prepares and what my Amma does. It is super simple to make but tastes so good. We had it with hot rice and rasam – loved it immensely.
To make Thandu Keerai Poriyal
What I used –
- Thandu Keerai/Foxtail Amaranth, 2 cups (tightly packed)
- Kadai Paruppu/Split Bengal Gram, 2 tbsp
- Onion, 1 small
- Garlic Pods, 4-5
- Grated Coconut, 1 tbsp
- Oil, 1 tsp
- Mustard Seeds, ½ tsp
- Jeera, ½ tsp
- Red Chilli, 1 or 2
- Salt, as required
How I made –
- Soak the kadalai Paruppu/bengal gram in water for atleast 3 hrs. I soaked it overnight. Cook it in a pressure cooker with just enough water for a whistle or two. Let it rest.
- Finely chop the onions and garlic.
- Cut off the root parts of the greens and clean it for any infected leaves. Wash the Thandu Keerai/Foxtail Amaranth twice in running water and let it soak in salted water for about ten mins. Finely chop the greens along with the stems.
- In a pan, heat oil. Add mustard, jeera and split red chillies. As the mustards splutter, add finely chopped garlic pods. Fry until the raw smell is gone.
- Add finely chopped onion and fry until translucent.
- Add finely chopped greens. Add required salt. Stir well. Reduce the flame to medium. The greens would leave enough water to cook. Add the cooked Kadai Paruppu/Bengal gram and stir well.
- As the greens have wilted, check if there is enough water content. If not, sprinkle some water (from cooking the Bengal gram) on top. Keep the pan closed and cook for 5-7 mins.
- The greens should look cooked and without any water/moisture content. Add grated coconut and mix well.
- Serve hot with rice and ghee or with sambar or rasam.
- While cleaning the Amaranth leaves, look for any infected leaves or white/darks spots on the leaves. Remove such leaves.
- The stem of this green is easy to cook and quite juicy, remove only the root part of it before starting to clean.
- Soaking the green leafy vegetable in salted water (esp rock salt) can help reduce the microorganisms that infest on these vegetables.
- If the Bengal gram is soaked for longer time, the cooking time would be quite less. Pressure cook it for only one whistle.
- Coconut is optional but adds a good flavour to this stir fry.