Thursday 10 July 2014

Keerai Masiyal (கீரை மசியல்)

Amaranth, a commonly used 'keerai' (greens) in Tamilian cuisine, is rich in iron, calcium and vitamins. My grand mother used to make at least one dish with a ‘keerai’ everyday. It is preferable to use greens in your menu at least 2-3 times a week. Amaranth leaves are used to make sambar, kootu, masiyal, poriyal and puli keerai. Masiyal is a tasty preparation with the subtle taste and flavor of amaranth. Masiyal mixed with sambar or vathal kuzhambu makes an excellent accompaniment to curd rice.

Spleen amaranth (அரைக்கீரை)

Tender amaranth (தண்டு கீரை)
Ingredients: (Serves four)
Greens – chopped, 3 liters measure*
Salt – to taste
Coconut oil – 1 tablespoon
Asafoetida – 3 pinches
Mustard seeds – 1 teaspoon
Split urad dhal – 1 teaspoon
Dried red chillies – 3 no

*Spleen amaranth (அரைக்கீரை) or tender amaranth (தண்டு கீரை) may be used for this recipe. Choose a vessel that would hold 3 liters of water to measure amaranth quantity. You may use a standard fridge water bottle of 1 liter capacity and fill a large vessel with three bottles of water. Use the water level as an indicator for the 3  liter measure. Usually 1 big bunch of greens would be equivalent to this quantity.
Keerai Masiyal (கீரை மசியல்)
Method: Separate the leaves of spleen amaranth (அரைக்கீரை).  Chop off the thick stem portion of tender amaranth (தண்டு கீரை) and use the leafy portion.  Wash the chopped greens in water 2-3 times, drain and keep aside. Cover and cook the chopped greens with 50ml of water and asafoetida in a large kadai. Turn the contents once or twice. Once cooked, amaranth reduces to ⅓ of its original quantity. Switch off the fire and allow it to cool. Add required salt to the cooked amaranth and mash it with a hand blender or a ladle into a soft mass. Traditionally, a wooden hand blender (கீரை மத்து) is used for mashing greens. Alternatively, you may mash the cooked amaranth in a mixer grinder. Use ‘Whip’ or ‘Pulse’ button just once or twice. If you use ‘Grind’ button, the content will become very pasty. Transfer the contents in to a bowl. Heat the coconut oil in a tadka pan or spice pan (தாளிக்கிற கரண்டி), add red chillies and fry till they turn darker. Add in mustard seeds, when they start to sputter, add urad dhal, and fry till the dhal turns golden brown. Remove from fire. Add the seasonings to the masiyal. Serve with rice and rasam or kuzhambu. 

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