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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

Fish in Banana leaves

Ever since I saw this grilled Trout I wanted to have it with the side salad. However I dont have a grill. I had to rely on the conventional oven but then cooking fish does not take a lot of time. The fish I used was Canadian Mackerel – It was very fleshy. I had 2 fish – Used 2 different types of rubs to suit our individual tastes.Thank you Sig for the recipe !


1 long green chilli – chopped
5 curry leaves,
3 slices of onion
2 slices of lemon

Rub the outside of the fish with a thick paste of red chilli, turmeric, salt and lemon and stuff with all under stuffing.I rubbed another fish with pepper powder, cumin powder, salt and lemon and the same stuffing except the chillies

Wrapped them in banana leaves and enclosed in aluminium wraps just like Sig blogged. Left the fish packets for an hour to marinate before popping them inside the oven at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. Then opened the packet and broiled it for 4 minutes to crisp up the skin. I served with a simple garden salad with corn with a home made yoghurt dressing.

It was very filling – I think it would make a good lunch than a dinner because it felt a little heavy.

We finished the salad with a sorakai halwa ( Duddhi, Bottlegourd ). Grate 1 bottlegourd and saute with one teaspoon of ghee until most of the water is evaporated. Use a low heat. Add 2 and half tablespoon of sugar and keep sauteing until more of the water evaporates. Add another 2 teaspoon of ghee and keep sauteing until all the water evaporates. The whole halwa will roll like a ball without sticking to the pan. Sprinkle a couple of pinches of cardamom powder. Serve with crushed almonds.
The taste was very very good. But I might not do it often because for one bottlegourd it took almost 3 tablespoon of sugar. Ravi and I shared it.

January 10, 2008 Posted by | Everyday food, High Fibre, Low cholesterol, Weight-loss | 8 Comments

Onion greens & Strawberries

What do you do when you are very hungry you can eat **anything** and ravage the fridge to find “Absolutely Nothin ” [ read Rush Hour style ].Thats what happend to me last Saturday. Generally when I am hungry I hardly have any patience. I get into the “Grrrrrrrr” mode. Ravi knows that is the time to be as faaaar away as possible from me… I have really worked on this bad habit of mine and now I am more patient when I am hungry. But then I dont have much choice !!!!

So this is what I did –

Washed and added a cup of rice, 3/4th cup of toor dal. Then I added the following
– peeled onion chopped into 4
– halved tomatoes. I had two so used them up
– 3 garlic cloves
– one teaspoon chilli powder
– half teaspoon turmeric.

Pressure cooked with 3 cups of water for three whistles and let it sit for a while. It took about 15 minutes.

I wanted to add some veggie but with absolutely no veggies at home, I was thinking what to do – then I remembered the onion plants I had planted a while ago. Snip snip snip I cut quite a few leaves.

And while the rice was getting cooked, tempered a couple of teaspoons of oil with cumin, mustard and added two handfuls of chopped onion leaves. Sauteed for a minute and added tamarind puree to it. Probably 1/4th cup. Added this mixture to the rice after the pressure had released from the cooker. Added some salt. Voila !!

I really really did not think it will turn out this good. It was a bit of kichidi and bit of sambar rice. I was really pleased with the way it tasted so I thought it was worthy of a post…I loved the end result, I even managed a foto. And then since I used the onion leaves that I grew, it also qualified for GBP –

onion leaves

onion flower- GBP Green Blog Project

Strawberries from farmers’ market – Drizzled with honey garnished with home grown mint

June 24, 2007 Posted by | Everyday food | 19 Comments

Yennai Kathirikai Kozhambu & Jasmines

Yennai kathirikai kozhambu – ( Vankaya pulusu ) – Hmm in English if I were to translate it will be Eggplant curry sauce in oil !!This is the dish I chose for JFI-Brinjal. Anyways there is a lot of misconception I have seen in the blog world about this dish.. This dish is not a stuffed eggplant recipe. Its often often mistaken for Andhra gutti vankaya koora – the famous sesame-peanut-stuffed-eggplant recipe.

Yennai kathirikai kozhambu – Brinjal curry sauce in Oil – JFI – Eggplant

All good things are simple – so is yennai kathirikai kozhambu.. But let me warn you before hand. This recipe calls for a lotttt of oil. The soft whole scored eggplant soaked in the honey-like spicy sauce wakes up the most sober palatte. Here is the recipe without much ado.
From the pantry:
gingelly oil
sambar powder – if no sambar powder add chilly powder and coriander powder ratio 1:2
turmericFrom the Fridge:
round brinjals ( eggplant )
curry leaves

1. Soak a big lime sized tamarind ball in water.
2. Chop one indian-medium sized onion
3. Chop one medium sized tomato
4. Remove the stalks of brinjals, and slit them vertically but not till the end leaving the brinjal whole.
5. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a kadai
6. Temper oil with half tsp each of fenugreek, mustard, one tsp of cumin and 7 to 8 curry leaves.
7. Add the chopped onion when the mustard splutters and saute for a minute
8. Add two more tablespoons oil and add the brinjals . I actually added 1/3rd cup 🙂
9. Saute for another couple of minutes.
10. Add quarter teaspoon turmeric, two teaspoons sambar powder.
11. Close and cook in medium low heat without adding any water. Cook until brinjals are half done. For approximately 15 minutes
12. Add chopped tomato and after a minute of sauteing, add salt and one and half cups water
13. Cook for another 10 minutes until honey like consistency.

Serve hot with idlies, rice. Best next day. !!

Jaadhi Malli – Chinese jasmine( Jaaji malli, Chameli ) Picked up during one of our morning strolls

June 17, 2007 Posted by | Ammas' Specialities, Everyday food | 10 Comments