Sunday, 11 January 2015

Indian Spinach Sambar (பசலைக்கீரை சாம்பார்)

Indian spinach or ‘pasalai keerai’ (பசலைக் கீரை) has large dark green leaves with a thick red or greenish stalk. When you cook pasalai keerai, it gets sticky. Indian spinach is rich in vitamins C, A and B complex, dietary fiber and minerals especially calcium, iron and potassium. I have been on the lookout for ‘pasalai keerai sambar’ recipe for some time now and this recipe was kindly shared by Mrs. Sharmila Rao. 

Ingredients: (Serves 4)
Toor dhal – teacup or 150ml measure
Indian spinach – 2 teacups or 400ml measure, finely chopped
Onion – 1 no, finely chopped
Garlic – 4 pods, peeled
Sambar powder – 2 tablespoons
Jaggery – 1 teaspoon
Tamarind – size of a small gooseberry (அரி நெல்லிக்காய்)
Turmeric powder –
¼ teaspoon
Salt – to taste
Cooking oil – 1 tablespoon
Mustard seeds – 1 teaspoon
Split urad dhal – 1 teaspoon
Red chili – 2 no (குண்டு மிளகாய் வத்தல்)
Asafoetida – a generous pinch
Curry leaves – a few

Indian Spinach Sambar (பசலைக்கீரை சாம்பார்)
Method: Wash toor dhal well, add 400 ml of water, and pressure cook for 6-7 minutes (6-7 whistles). Soak tamarind in ½ teacup (100ml) of warm water. Separate the spinach leaves and chop them finely. Wash 2-3 times in water, drain well and keep aside.

Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a kadai, add garlic pods, and when they start to sizzle add onion pieces and sauté till they turn light brown in color. Add the spinach, 1 teacup (200ml) of water and turmeric powder. Cover and cook on low flame.

Meanwhile, squeeze the tamarind and extract the juice. Add the sambar powder, salt and jaggery to the tamarind juice, mix well. Once the spinach is cooked, add the tamarind juice mixture and bring it to boil. Allow the mixture to boil for 1-2 minutes. Mix the dhal using an ordinary hand blender or a ladle till it is soft and uniform in consistency. Add the dhal, bring it to boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Switch off the fire.

Heat a teaspoon of oil in a spice pan or tadka pan, add red chilies and fry till they turn darker. Now add mustard seeds, when they start to sputter add split urad dhal and fry till the dhal turns golden brown. Add asafoetida and curry leaves to the pan. Switch off the stove and add the seasoning to the sambar. Serve hot with rice, curry and pappad. 

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