Monday, May 17, 2010

Keerai masiyal

"A favorite dish, where the greens are steamed, and mashed, with light seasoning of salt, red chillis and cumin. It is called keerai masial (கீரை மசியல்)." - Wikipedia

This is another comfort food from the basic Indian cooking. The greens are indispensable in a well balanced Indian menu and much praised for the health benefits.

In Chennai I used to blend the keerai, using a small rough clay vessel and a wooden pestle ( In Tamil - keerai kadaiyum mann pathiramum , mathum). That traditional clay vessel imparts an earthen flavor to the simple keerai and would lift up our spirits:)

Generally the arai keerai and siru keerai (smaller leaved amaranth) are good for this blending recipe.As I could not find them here, I have used the amaranth (thandan keerai). This recipe calls for total simplicity , so we can't see any tomato, turmeric or oil. Adding oil, tomato or tamarind also holds good, but this one is my most favorite recipe. In my native place we used to add a pinch of lime (calcium oxide / sunnambu , additive to pan leaves) along with this masiyal. I don't know the correct purpose of it. But they say the 'sunnambu' helps in absorption of some vitamins in the greens. That's totally optional.

Greens (spinach / amaranth) - 1 lb (4 handful)
water - 1/4 cup
shallot - 4
green chilly - 2
garlic - 4 pearls
cumin seed - 1/4 tsp
salt - to taste (very little only)
Lime (sunnambu) - a very small pinch (optional)

Pluck the leaves and young stems only. Discard the hard stems or reserve them for making sambar. Wash and clean the leaves well.

Take a wok and bring to boil 1/4 cup water. Remove the skin of shallot and garlic. Add them to the boiling water along with the chillies. After a minute (the onion and garlic should be half cooked), add the cleaned greens and cook them without closing the lid. Some people believe that cooking the greens with lids will spoil the nutrients.

After a few minutes, gently turn the whole lot and cook the other side too.

Check the stems if they are cooked. Wait till all the moisture is gone and put off fire.

Let it cool completely. Now add cumin, salt and blend in a mixer to a coarse paste.
(Just two or three pulse is enough).

If you want an authentic flavor try to use an earthenware to blend the greens.

Serving suggestions:
Serve as side dish with rice or as a curry over rice.
We generally prepare this masiyal along with fish curry and rice.

In my native place , they add a pinch of lime (calcium oxide , that we use along with pan leaves)while blending to get some medicinal value out of it. Its purely optional here.
No tadka / tempering is necessary.

Some folklore from my native place (arai keerai / small amaranth):
This masiyal can be prepared with black pepper instead of green chillies and consumed daily to reduce the obesity.
This masiyal without any tadka helps people to regain strength after some disease and also as a natural bowel healer.


Indian Khana said...

Fav too ....looks so gud..I dont make this way..will try

Unknown said...

comfort food..make this often for my son..packed wih so much goodness..

Sushma Mallya said...

Very healthy dish, have never used spinach this way but looks good viki..

Shama Nagarajan said...

mmm..yummy masiyal

Priya dharshini said...

Very nice keerai masiyal..beautifully explained..jus luv it..

Suja Manoj said...

Very healthy dish.nice color.
never tried this way..will try it.

Asha said...

Very nutritious dish, light spices in it sounds great.

Hamaree Rasoi said...

New recipe to me...Thanks Viki for sharing this with us.

Hamaree Rasoi

divya said...

New recipe to me...Thanks Viki for sharing this with us.

Swathi said...

Amma used to make this keerai masiyal more often. so that we can get some healthy things in our diet. Your looks really good, brought back my memories.

joven said...

hi, you have nice blog.. u can view also mine..

Mangala Bhat said...

wow!new recipe thanks for sharing

Ash said...

Very healthy & awesome prep... The color looks so splendid & tempting.... I loved it..... It is forever ten on ten prep.....


Life is beautiful !!! said...

Arai keerai masiyal is one of my favourite. I love coming to ur blog bcoz I feel at home. Love the pic :)

Simplyfood said...

THis dish looks so fresh and natural.Beautiful vibrant colour.

GayathriRaj said...

Hey i loved ur blog like anything..the way u thanked for evrything..nice pics at evry step is also too good to be ur frnd too....nice recipes menu too...thanku so much...

priya said...

great info and healthy too!..thx for sharing!

Rachana said...

What a healthy dish! looks really tempting :)

SathyaSridhar said...

Viki, epdi irukeenga..keerai masiyal super ah irukku enakku rombhavum pidikkum apdi sudu saadhathla keerai masiyal apdiye konjam ghee mela oothi appalathoeda saapta hmmm besh besh.

San said...

Keerai masiyal is so pleasing ,like to have it with rice n ghee along with papad.Very healthy as well.