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Malabar spinach – Another andhra delicacy

When I was preparing this dish today, it suddenly occurred to me why I had not blogged about this recipe.. It is in the top 5 of Ravi’s favourites and a typical andhra preparation. These days I dont cook much for myself. Its either kichdi with some veggies or soup and veggies as I am trying to get on a diet.  I am not forcing Ravi to do the diet thing with me – its a sheer torture for him given his work load and study load. I added a handful of spinach to my soup for lunch and prepared bachalakoora for him for dinner.

Greens are little heavier on the digestive system so at my home in India “No greens for dinner “. I dont remember my mother ever serving any kind of greens for dinner.  Naturally even now I refrain from eating greens at night. 

This spinach preparation is very interesting. Usually the tamarind added to any curries is ripe ones but for this dish raw tamarind juice is added. Raw tamarind unlike the ripe ones cannot be deshelled.  So it is crushed with the shell and made into a coarse paste with salt and stored.  Just before using a tablespoon of the paste is diluted in water and the extracted juice is strained of any shells and added to the spinach curry.

Malabar spinach is the indian variety of spinach – very different from the actual spinach we get here in US. Its leaves are broader, thicker and slimy. The berries of malabar spinach are violet/indigo in color – we used to crush the berries and use it for April fools’ day –

See here for the image and more information

Three cups chopped malabar spinach
Four green chillies chopped
half an onion chopped
Juice of one tablespoon raw tamarind paste (Optionally use regular tamarind paste )
Oil – 2 tbl
half cup – Boiled channa dal ( half boiled )
Turmeric half tsp
chilli powder two tsps
For seasoning – Mustard, cumin – half teaspoon each

Heat oil and when the oil is hot add mustard.
When the mustard splutters add cumin, green chillies and onions.
Saute for a few minutes.
Add chopped spinach and saute for 5 minutes. Spinach cooks in its own water.
Seperately boil half cup channa dal for 5 minutes
Strain the water from the channa dal and add the dal to the sauteing spinach
Add juice from the tamarind
Add salt, turmeric and chilli powder
Cover and cook until most of the water is absorbed.

Raw tamarind

Raw tamarind paste

Malabar spinach

Malabar spinach with Channa dal

February 12, 2008 Posted by | Andhra Cooking, Everyday food, High Fibre | 1 Comment