I have an unwritten rule at my place, greens once every week at the least. One of the favourite and easily available greens being Spinach.
There are so many ways of making spinach. This one is my mum’s all-time favourite. As a child I hated this stew and my brother loved it, because it had the tangyness element absent in it. I was always told off by my mum for being so fussy with food.
When I became a mum myself, I so understood how helpless my mum felt with me rejecting greens. So I decided to make sure my lad had it every week from a very young age. I am indeed lucky, that my wee man loves his greens and loves this spinach stew as it is very mild and has very simple flavours.
This dish hails from the south of India, specifically from the state of Tamilnadu and is popularly known as Keerai Masiyal. Keerai, meaning green leafy vegetable and Masiyal being bruised and mashed. There are many versions of this dish. Here I am listing the simple , no onion, no garlic way of making it, the way it was made in my mum’s kitchen.
This serves 4, and traditionally had as a side accompaniment to plain white rice ( not basmati, but small-grained rice ).
- Spinach – 200 gm ( washed well and chopped fine )
- Turmeric powder – 1/8th tsp
- Sugar – a pinch (optional. Used to retain colour )
- Salt to taste
- Fresh grated coconut or desiccated coconut – 1/4th cup
- Thin green chilli – ½ a chilli ( choice of your heat tolerance )
- Red dried chilli – 1 ( choice of your heat tolerance )
- Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
- Raw rice grains ( any variety ) – 1 tbsp ( optional )
For tempering –
- Brown mustard seeds – ½ tsp
- Urad dal – ½ tsp
- Broken red dried chilli – 1
- Hing – a pinch
- Coconut oil – 1 tbsp ( preferred )
To make –
- In a saucepan, add the spinach, turmeric powder, salt , sugar along with water just enough to cover the spinach leaves and boil without the lid. The spinach need to be completely cooked. Mash it coarsely with the back of your ladle.
- In a blender, grind coconut, green chilli, red dried chilli, cumin seeds, and rice grains along with enough water to a fine paste.
- Add the ground paste to the boiled spinach, stir well and simmer. Add some water to get it to your desired consistency. ( I made it to a poring soupy consistency ) Check seasonings.
- In a pan with heated coconut oil, add the mustard seeds and let them pop or crackle. Add the urad dal and wait for it turn light golden brown. Take it off the heat and add Hing and dried red chilli. give it a couple of seconds to sizzle in hot oil. Pour this fragranced oil into the simmering spinach mix. Take it off the heat and stew is ready to serve.