Vallarai keerai Kootu | Brahmi leaves- Kootu made with finely chopped Vallara keerai greens, one of the healthiest greens, native to India.
"Unave Marunthu, Marunthe Unavu" - coined by Siddhar,(Siddhar is a word in Tamil for someone intellectual) translates to Food is Medicine & Medicine is Food in English. A simple saying with a profound meaning. The star ingredient of today's post is very apt for the above saying. Vallarai keerai, native to Indian soil, is one of the healthiest greens. It is considered as a brain-booster! Yes, it increases the performance of brain and also helps to improve your immune system.
Greens are very prominent in South Indian cuisine. Growing up, I used to have them almost once every week. It is usually a weekend treat as the prep work takes time. There are so many dishes that come under a weekend fare, as my working-mom needs time to prep them. Also, those are supposed to be relished bite by bite in leisure! I'll discuss them in another post. The Vallarai keerai is one of the rare greens that I had as a child. It's due to the fact that it is not so tasty as Spinach. Yeah, let me be honest. This is one ingredient that solely comes under a healthy category with a taper in taste. Nonetheless, if paired rightly with other side dishes, it is as good as Spinach.
The spread in the picture consists of Vallarai Keerai Kootu, Sepankizhangu roast, Rice & Nei & Parupu Podi. Now, tell me isn't that a good meal? A weekend fare!
Kootu made with finely chopped Vallara keerai greens, one of the healthiest greens, native to India.
- 5 Cups finely chopped Brahmi leaves, along with stalks if they are tender Wash and rinse well
- 1 Tbsp Coconut oil
- 2 Tbsp Channa dal
- 1 medium sized Onion, finely chopped Optional
- 1 medium sized Tomato, chopped
- 1/4 Cup Tuvar Dal
- Salt to taste
- 1 Tbsp Coconut Oil
- 1/4 tsp Mustard Seeds
- 6-7 no's Curry leaves
- 2-3 no's Red Chillies, adjust based on the heat in the chilli variety
- 1 tsp Urad dal
- 1/4 tsp Asafoetida Omit if you are gluten allergic
- 2 Tbsp freshly grated coconut, substitute - unsweetened dessicated
Heat 1 Tbsp of oil in a pan. Once it is hot, add the onions and sauté until it becomes translucent. Sprinkle little salt to fasten the cooking process.
Then add the tomatoes and let it soften, no need to fry it. Immediately add the green leaves and keep the flame on medium. Let it cook. Add little salt and water to ease up the cooking. The brahmi leaves takes more time to cook than spinach or other indian greens.
Once the leaves are wilted and softened to bite, add the ground coconut paste, tuvar dal and little water. Bring it to a boil and switch it off after a minute.
The consistency should neither be thick nor thin. If you are mixing it with rice it can be medium thick. If you are using it as a side dish, as a subzi, then reduce the amount of water. So add water accordingly and it will also thicken a bit as it cools.
Heat another pan, add a tbsp of coconut oil. Once it is hot, add the mustard seeds and let it start sputtering. As it starts spluttering, add the red chillies, curry leaves and urad dal. Turn off the flame as soon as the dal starts becoming brown. Add the asafoetida powder.
Pour this tempering on the cooked greens. Mix well and serve it with rice.
- The greens are mildly bitter. It will not be prominent most of the time as it is getting cooked. But if it is more, you can add a pinch of sugar to balance it while cooking the greens.