Arai Keerai Kootu (Amaranth, Chowlai Curry)

Amaranth is one of the tastiest greens. I like both forms, the green and the red. I use this regularly in my cooking. Since it is widely used all over India, I find organic amaranth easily available. This green was a little bit of luxury when I was growing up in Singapore in the 60’s. It was rarely available and quite expensive. With increasing globalisation over the decades, this bounty of Nature is now available in most parts of the world where there is a demand. This recipe uses the green amaranth.

1 small bunch amaranth (chowlai, arai keerai), plucked, washed and chopped
3 tbsp Bengal gram (chana dal, kadalai parupu)
4 shallots or 1 large onion, chopped
2 tbsp grated coconut
2 cloves garlic, crushed (optional)
3 dried red chillies
1 green chilli
1 sprig curry leaves
1/2 tsp turmeric powder (haldi, manjal podi)
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 tsp Bengal gram
1 tsp split black lentils (urad dal, ulutham parupu)
Salt to taste
Wash and cook the 3 tbsp Bengal gram with turmeric powder, till done, but not mushy
Set aside
Heat a wok and add mustard seeds
When they begin to splutter, add 2 tsp Bengal gram and split black lentils
Roast till they turn golden brown
Add onions and saute till translucent
Add garlic, green chilli and curry leaves
Saute for about 30 seconds
Add the chopped amaranth and saute for 2 minutes
Add chilli powder and mix well
Add just enough water (remember that the greens will also have expend water)
Cook till the greens are soft and moist, not watery
Turn of flame and add grated coconut
Set aside
Heat another wok
Roast the dry red chillies and add to the cooked dish
Serve with red/brown rice or Indian flat breads

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