Spinach – good for PopEye and for me!

Background:

Don’t really remember amma making too much of Keerai but once I started cooking, keerai or spinach is my last resort of sorts. If I have no other vegetable or if am in a rush then I make this. My fridge always boasts of 2 – 3 packs of cut frozen spinach.

Today was one such day when I woke up late and did not have time to mull other options. Here is what I do.

Stuff you will need:

1 pack cut frozen spinach
1/4 coconut shredded
3 dry red chillies
2 tsp cumin seeds/jeera
Salt to taste
Asafoetida
1tsp Turmeric
Oil for tempering
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp urad dhal
Thuvar dhal 1/2 cup

How to make it?

Boil about 2 cups of water, add pack of frozen spinach, a dash of turmeric, asafoetida and salt to taste. Let it cook on low medium heat till spinach looks done. While this is cooking boil about the thuvar dhal in the pressure cooker. Grind a handful of coconut, cumin seeds and 2-3 dry red chillies with little added water to make a smooth paste.

When spinach is done, add the paste, mashed thuvar dhal and let simmer for 5 minutes. Season with mustard and urad dhal tempered in oil.

Serves two

Special Notes:

This is usually served with Kuzhambu or Rasam.

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Ezhu kari kootu

Background:

Ezhu kari kootu or seven vegetable stew is a savory stew of vegetables in tamarind water garnished with a spice mix that replaces the sambar powder. This is usually served with Thiruvadhirai Kali or Chakkara pongal. It is customary to use seven, nine, eleven or odd numbered vegetables.

Stuff you will need:

Seven vegetables that are a combination of root vegetables, pods, over the ground vegetables etc. A sample list is as under. Cut these into equal sized bits. Ideally 1″ bits so they retain shape even when pressure cooked.

White pumpkin
Red pumpkin
Flat beans (Sabre beans)
Potato
Green banana
Yam
Seppan kizhangu (no idea what it is called in other languages)
Green peas
Mocchai (similar to lima beans)
Carrots
Chayote
Dry red chillies – 8
Bengal gram – a handful
Coriander seeds – 2 tsp
1/4 of a coconut shredded
Curry leaves – 2 – 3 twigs
Thuvar dhal – 2 handfuls
Salt to taste
Asafoetida
Turmeric – 2 tsp
Tamarind the size of a small lemon – soaked and extracted to a pulp
Oil for tempering
Black mustard seeds – 1tsp
Urad dhal – 1 tsp
Jaggery – 1 tbsp

How to make it?

Dry roast and grind the chillies, bengal gram dhal, coriander seeds, coconut gratings and curry leaves. Set aside. Pressure cook vegetables and thuvar dhal with salt, turmeric and asafoetida in little water. In a wok, heat oil, season mustard and urad dhal. When done add tamarind pulp, cooked vegetables/dhal, ground spice mix, jaggery and simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes. Turn stove off and garnish with coriander leaves.

Serves six

Special Notes:

This is usually served with Thiruvadhirai kali or Chakkara pongal.