Keerai Masiyal is a usually in our house depending on what is available fresh that week. Back in India, everyday keerai vendor comes with big basket full of fresh greens which I least cared as mom was cooking then never realised the importance of differen keerais/ greens. Today i go online, call my mom, check with the keerai lady who comes home, show my pictures to find out what exactly they are… There are so many varieties here and i can never find their Indian equivalent as they are all labeled “Spinach”, 🙄 Here is something which i learned ….
Basically they are all classified as “Amaranth”, but that is just very common there are about 40 to 50 varieties and I have to hit my head on the wall to find the Indian equivalent, lol
Siru Keerai – (This I haven’t seen in USA, its got tiny green leaves which is mostly grown only in the tropical counties. This is mostly very tender and i would say the very first stage to any Amaranthus family) .
Mulai Keerai – (This is available in USA, most Indian stores sell as Thotakura / Chinese spinach / Tandaljo, this is second stage or slightly mature Amaranth with very tender stalks ,(mulai referes to initial stage)
Arai Keerai – (This is also available in USA, most Chinese stores carry this- there is only a a slightly difference between mulai and arai keerai- its only a matter of time and growth height- when mulai keerai is left to grow little longer then that is termed Arai Keerai ) It also called as Spleen Amaranth / Shen Choy / Red Chinese Spinach ) It comes in green and red or with red stripes too.
Thandu Keerai – (This is also available in Chinese Stores – basically its fully grown Amaranth with mature leaves and stalks. The stalks get very thick that they almost look like a vegetable with fully purplish green leaves. I would assume that Arai keerai with thick stems indicate thandu keerai or fully matured plant. (Thandu Keerai / Chuli / matured thotakura / Chines Shen Choy)
Concluding that all these are basically good of health and can be made as stir fry, curry, mashed, mixed with dal… and tastes yum!
Coming to our recipe here, I have used Arai keerai or half matured Amaranth, used the leaves and tender stalk for this recipe. Matured stalk or Thandu can be used for making sambar or simple stir- fry dishes.
|Keerai (any variety)||6 cups (leaves lightly packed or 1 bunch)|
|Onion (sambar vengayam / pearl onion / shallot)||6|
|Garlic||3 (big clove)|
|Dry Red Chili||4|
|Mustard seeds||1 teaspoon|
|Split black gram||1 teaspoon|
|Cumin seeds||1 teaspoon|
|Asafoetida powder||1/2 teaspoon|
|Salt (preferably kallu uppu or rock salt)||1/2 teaspoon (or as per taste)|
|Oil (preferably coconut oil)||2 teaspoons|
Lets see how to make this keerai masiyal
Separate the leaves, tender stalks and matured stalks. Wash them thoroughly to remove all the dirt and keep aside. In a sauce pan put the leaves with 1/8 cup water and stir fry until they turn slightly wilted. Switch off and let them cool a bit. In another pan, heat oil splutter mustard seeds, followed by split black gram, dry red chilies and cumin seeds. Add in chopped onion and garlic. Stir fry for few seconds only and switch off.
In a mixer jar, add the tadka/ with salt, pinch of turmeric, asafoetida powder and pulse twice to blend. Then add the cooked Keerai/ greens and pulse 3 times to blend. There you go a simple keerai masiyal is ready for you, enjoy as a side or mix with hot rice topped with ghee!
- Yields about 3-4 adult servings.
- Tempering / tadka can be made later too but this way it taste better.
- Do not add too much water while cooking the keerai, as it will shed water as it scooks.
- Do not grind to make a maste, always use the pulse setting to blend.
- You can use any of the above variety for this recipe.
- Making it with coconut oil gives nice flavor.
- Adjust spice level by adding or cutting down on the red chilies. You can also use green chilies