Sunday, February 17, 2008

Keerai Chundal

Keerai (Amaranth leaves) is available in numerous varities. As a child, I knew about Arakeerai and thandukeerai. These two varieties were sown and nurtured meticulously in my house. The thandukeerai doesn't require much attention. But the arakeerai needs care like a baby. The preparation of the bed before the seeds are sown itself calls for many details. These keerai has to be watered atleast 4 times through out the day at specific intervals. These days hardly anyone takes interest to prepare such beds and grow the greens in their house, since it is easily available in the market. But it just cannot match the home grown variety. I am trying last few years to get the seed for arkeerai, but in vain. What the market sells as arakeerai seeds will trun out to be some other variety when they grow. My attempts to grow the authentic arakeerai has failed every time. In my house, thandu keerai variety grows on its own out of the seeds fallen during the last season. One stroll around my garden, I can get around 2 bunches of the green. When Srivalli, announced the theme as Green for MEC, I had many options to think of. I was waiting for the leaves to grow. Today finally I managed to prepare keerai chundal in the MW. This is palakkad iyer speciality.
Red variety or thandu keerai or arakeerai will be suitable for this. Even drumstick leaves can be used to prepare the dish

Keerai - 2 bunch
Grated coconut - 2 tblspn
Turmeric - a pinch
salt as required

For powder
Raw Rice - 2 tbl spn
Red chilly - 1
Oil - 1 tblspn
Mustard- 1/2 tspn
Urad dal -1 tspn
Wash the keerai in 3 changings of water. Finely chop them. Tender stems can also be included.
Take a MW safe bowl. Do the seasoning. If your not combfortable with seasoning in MW, do it on stovetop and proceed.
Add the chopped green, turmeric and salt. Sprinkle handful water. MW high for 6 minutes. The timings may vary depending on the quantity and type of keerai used.
Wash and dry the rice. In another MW bowl, add the rice and MW for 3 minutes. The rice should turn light brownAdd the red chilly and MW for 30 seconds. When cool, powder them in the mixer not too fine.
Add the powder to the cooked keerai and mw for a minute.Remove and garnish with fresh grated coconut.

Serve with hot rice and sambhar/rasam
This is off to Srivalli for her MEC-Greens theme.