Sivappu Keerai Thandu Puli Kuzhambu (Red Amaranth Stem Curry)

Many people classify amaranth, especially the red amaranth, a super food. Amaranth is a fantastic vegetable – all its parts are edible, including roots, stems, leaves, flowers and seeds. The seeds are a good substitute for cereals. I had planted some red amaranth seeds in my garden about 45 days ago. I now have a rich haul of this super healthy vegetable. I have used the leaves quite a few times in smoothies. Also make a kootu a couple of times. But I really wanted to have the stems made into a curry. So I let some of the amaranth grow so that the stalks are fully developed and mature. I harvested them yesterday to make a curry with both the leaves and stems. The taste was different from all the kuzbambus (tamarind based curries) that I had ever eaten. Tasted fantastic. I am delighted to share the recipe with you.

Sivappu Keerai Thandu Puli Kuzhambu

300 gms of the stalks of the red amarnth, with tender leaves included
1/4 tsp turmeric powder (haldi, manjal podi)
1 tsp red chili powder
1/4 coconut, grated
1/4 tsp cumin seeds (sabut jeera, jeeragam)
1/4 tsp black pepper corns (sabut kali mirch, kuru milagu)
2 shallots
Extract from a lemon sized ball of tamarind (soaked in warm water for 15 minutes and juice extracted)
Unrefined salt to taste
To Temper
1 tsp mustard seeds (sarson, kadugu)
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds (methi dhana, venthiyam)
5 shallots, chopped
4 green chilis
2 dried red chilis
1 sprig curry leaves
Chop the amaranth stems into 1″ pieces (include any tender leaves)
Transfer to a pressure cooker and add enough water to immerse the stems
Add turmeric powder and 1 tsp chili powder
Close the lid and cook on high flame for 1 whistle
Let the steam release naturally and open the lid
Set aside
Heat a wok and add the coconut
Roast for about a minute
Add the cumin seeds and black pepper corns
Roast till the coconut is nicely browned
Let it cool and transfer to a blender
Add 2 shallots
Blend to a smooth paste
Set aside
Add this paste to the boiled amaranth stems
Add the tamarind extract and salt
Boil for about 8 minutes till the raw smell of the tamarind has evaporated
Set aside
Heat a largish wok and add mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds
When the mustard begins to splutter, add the 5 chopped shallots
Sprinkle a little water, if necessary
Cook till the shallots are browned
Add the green and red chilis, curry leaves
Continue to roast till the curry leaves wilt
Add the cooked amaranth stems and mix well
Switch off the flame
Serve hot idli, dosa, red/brown/millet rice

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