If you are a person insisting on a 'no waste kitchen', then here is a recipe. Amaranth is a tasty green included in most of the Asian cuisines. In my home town, the keerai (greens) vendor, generally the local farmer's wife, would bring many kinds of fresh greens early morning in a big basket. If we want to buy amaranth, then she would give it like a whole plant only, as they harvest that greens like that. Also we can get very young and tender amaranths by the name 'MuLai keerai' (முளை கீரை ) in cute little bunches . MuLai keerai can be used completely without rejecting the stems, but the stem of the normal amaranth are thicker. While buying the bigger amaranth plants, mom would make a stir fry using the leaves one day and save the stems for the sambar or any curry the next day. The stems can be refrigerated for a week and used in many dishes. I like the way we utilize everything from that beautiful amaranth plant.
other names: Chinese spinach stem sambar/ red spinach stem dhal/ Keerai thandu sambar
Amaranth (thandu keerai / thandankeerai - Tamil). Amaranth is a kind of greens like spinach, but with more medicinal value. Some tribes claim that it increases the life span , if consumed regularly. Click to read more from Wikipedia.
|keerai thandu sambar|
Ingredients:Amaranth stem (chopped) - 1 cup
tamarind - small gooseberry size
tomato - 1
sambar powder - 2 tsp
oil / ghee - 1 tsp
curry leaf - 1 sprig
shallot - 2
cilantro - few
mustard - 1/2 tsp
fenugreek / methi seed - 1/2 tsp
cumin - 1/2 tsp
To pressure cook:thuvaram paruppu (thoor dhal/red gram)- 1/2 cup
water - 2 cup
turmeric - 1/2 tsp
asafoetida (hing) - a pinch
onion - 1/2
garlic - 4 cloves
Method:Wash and soak the dhal for 30 minutes. Discard the water.
Pressure cook the dhal with 2 cups of water, hing, turmeric powder, garlic, onion for 3 whistles. Switch off and wait for the pressure to reduce. Take out and mash the dhal with 1/2 tsp cumin.
Soak the tamarind in 1/2 cup water and extract juice (thrice).
Peel the skin of Amaranth stem, if any. Chop the stem into 1 inch pieces and keep aside. Heat a tsp oil in a wok and slide in mustard, fenugreek. After the mustard crackles, put the curry leaves and chopped shallot. Then goes the finely chopped tomato and cook till it gets mushy.
Add the chopped amaranth stem and stir for 10 seconds.
Then add the tamarind extract and let it come to a boil. Heat till the raw smell vanishes (5 minutes). Add the mashed dhal to boiling tamarind. Put the sambar powder and bring it to a boil again.
Add required salt, finely chopped cilantro and switch off.
Amaranth stem sambar is ready!
Serving suggestion:Makes 4 generous servings.
Serve over hot rice or as side dish with idly, dosa, venn pongal etc.