This is an Ayurvedic herbal preparation made with young leaves of the amaranth plant (known as “keerai” in ayurveda) and traditionally used for the treatment of jaundice and liver disorders. The leaves are picked fresh in the summer, peeled, and dried in the sun before being pounded into a paste with the aid of a mortar and pestle.
The best thing about being a food blogger is that you get to eat trial and error. You can taste each and every dish you make to see if it is any good, and that is what I do for this particular one. There are plenty of ways to make amaranth leaves poriyal, and this one is my favorite because the taste is so yummy.
Mulai keerai (amaranth leaves) poriyal is a traditional recipe from the state of Tamil Nadu in India. It is an interesting vegetable dish which is made from the leaves of the amaranth variety of vegetable. It is most popular in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu. The amaranth is a leaf vegetable and has a number of medicinal properties. The leaves of amaranth is used to make a vegetable dish in the south which is usually served as a meal with rice.
Mulaikeerai is also known as chauli, thota kura, and amaranth leaves. It’s served with porriyal as a side dish or with dals. Mulaikeerai, a green leaf, is cut with its thin stalks after being well washed with water. You may use any dal or simply the green leaf to make this dish. You may use spinach, which is readily available in India, or any other green leaf suitable for stir-frying in place of mulaikeerai. People in Chennai consume a lot of green leaf, and in the afternoons at lunch, they would have a green leaf meal, either dry or gravy (kottu). I used to observe the residents selling green leaf veggies in the mornings, and they used to sell them by shouting keerai amma, keerai (green leaf madam), and they would shout and repeat these phrases so that the women in the kitchen could hear them and come to purchase. Green leaves are high in iron and beneficial to the eyes, therefore I always include them in my meals. It may be eaten once a day or twice a week. I adore this as a stir fry (poriyal), and everyone does it differently. I’ll show you how I learned to make it from my mother and mother-in-law. Sukha bhajji, which means dry fry green leaf, is what we call stir fry green leaf at my house. We usually serve it with simple rice as a side dish, any dal prepared at home, or roti (chapathi). When I visit India, I make sure to consume a variety of green leaf (bhaji) dishes that I don’t find in the UK.
- 1 tbsp. oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 3 dried chilies
- 12 curry leaves
- 200 gms green leaves (mulai keerai)
- 3 garlic cloves (crushed)
- 1 onion (chopped)
- 3 green chilies, chopped
- 3 to 4 tablespoons shredded fresh coconut
- a pinch of salt (to taste)
- After draining all the water from the green leaf, chop it or shred it in a food processor.
- In a larger pan or kadai, heat the oil, then add the mustard seeds, dried chilies, and curry leaves. When the mustard seeds begin to sputter, add the garlic and stir well for a few seconds.
- Now add the chopped onions and cook until they are translucent and soft, about 5 minutes, then add the green chilies and stir well for 1 to 2 minutes.
- Now add the chopped green leaf and combine thoroughly with the remaining spices.
- Cook it on medium heat until it is reduced; there is no need to add water since it releases water as it cooks.
- Close the cover and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- When the green leaf is fully cooked, it will shrink and lose all moisture; it should seem dry and roasted; it may also be simmered and stirred carefully to avoid burning; then just add shredded coconut and combine well.
- Finally, add the shredded coconut and salt, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 5 minutes with the lid closed, to ensure that all of the ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
- Serve this mulai keerai with plain rice and a tsp of ghee; it’s wonderful and one of my favorites.
- It goes well with simple rice or roti as a side dish (chapathi).
- I sometimes add 1 garlic clove to the coconut and roughly ground it instead of shredding it; it adds a nice taste and flavor.
- Instead of cooking the green leaf on medium, cover the lid and cook it on low heat until it is cooked, then open the lid and stir it on medium heat until it is roasted and dry, no water should be present.
- Only shredded coconut is added at the end.
- Also, instead of mulai keerai (amaranth leaves) and other green leaves that may be stir-fried, I use palak.
From the greener side, the poriyals can be made with either the leaves or the seeds. If the leaves are used, the leaves should be chopped into small pieces. The same goes for the seeds. For the leaves, boil them in water for 5 minutes, and then drain. For the seeds, boil them for 5 minutes, and then drain. You can also make poriyals out of the leaves in a similar way to poriyals made from the seeds.. Read more about mulai keerai vs siru keerai and let us know what you think.