Green leafy vegetables are packed with vital nutrients. They have dietary fibre, flavonoids, vitamins and minerals. Helps building immunity, improves vision, lower blood pressure, etc
Tamil Nadu is famous for the green leafy vegetables boasting proudly the varitey of them in its Nature's basket. My bird's brain could remember only 21 of them now. The part of India I am in now has only palak & methi are found in abundant. But this season luckily i could find some molakeerai so making the traidional dish called 'molakootal' & 'masiyal' as much as possible as palak & methi will not suit this purpose. Arai keerai, molakeerai, siru keerai are the main varities which suits the dish best, however you can use palak too for it. But folks, I am forced to make you dependant on google search engine to get their names in different languages. (some food for brain!) :-)
Molakootal is a preparation without tamarind & strong masalas. So a sathvik food. It uses coconut & lentil which adds to its nutritional value. Goes well with white rice.
How to clean & use the leaves? :-
Clean the spinach & wash them (if you wash after cutting, it looses its nutrients) cut till the stem turns out to be tender. discard hard stem portion.
chop them into two & keep ready. This dish uses coconut.
- Green leafy vegetable - 1 bundle
- Grated coconut - 1/2 cup
- White urad - 1 tbsp
- Red chillies - 3 to 4 nos (or as you prefer)
- Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
- Toor dal - 1/4 cup
- salt to taste
- Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
- oil for tempering
- mustard seeds
- Prepare the leaves as mentioned above
- In a vessel put the leaves, add 3 cups water & when starts boiling, cook for 15 minutes in low flame.See to that you retain the green colour.
- In the meantime, pressure cook the lentil (toor dal)
- Filter the water & preserve it.
- The leaves, spread on a plate & let it cool
- Roast the white urad & red chilli applying few drops of oil till they turn golden in colour
- In a mixer add the grated coconut, cumin seeds, red chillies, white urad & adding little water, make a nice paste.
- Grind the boiled leaves & stems coarsely.
- To the ground paste, add dal & the filtered water you preserved (in which the leaves are boiled) and bring to boil in a low flame by stirring in between.
- To this add the ground coconut masala, salt to taste, Turmeric powder , required water - check the gravy consistency & bring to boil. When the foam forms on stop, remove from flame.
- Heat oil for tempering, add mustard seeds. after they crackle, add it to the gravy, mix.
- Greens gravy AKA keerai Molakootal - our main dish is ready.
Side dish suggestions :-
For this gravy, the side dish that suits best are puli inji / pulikachal (or) Puli / Thayir Pachadi (or) Pickle (or) salad (or. ) raitas / Vazhathandu pachadi (a variety of spicy sweet sour and salty gravy)
Now comes the most important part of serving :
To the hot white rice, add 1/4 tsp melted ghee, serve the molakootal on top........ and enjoy with the side dish of your choice.