Saturday, 31 December 2011




     1)    Red or green Amaranthus (a plant called cheera used in place of spinach in Kerala) – 500 gm.

     2)    Fresh coconut – ½
     3)    Hot green chilies – 2 Nos.
     4)    Onion – 200 gm.
     5)    Salt – 1 teaspoon
     6)    Coconut oil – 1 tablespoon
     7)    Mustard seeds – ½ teaspoon
     8)    Split black gram lentils (urad dal) – 1 teaspoon
     9)    Curry leaves – 2 sprigs

To Cook:

          Cut off the roots and hard stem, if any, from the Amaranthus plants. Soak the plants in a solution of 30 ml. of vinegar mixed in half a bucket of water for 30 minutes (the vinegar helps to clean the plants thoroughly).

          Peel the onion, chop to superfine pieces and set aside. Rinse the soaked Amaranthus plants nicely in 3 or 4 changes of clear water to remove all traces of dirt. Drain and chop to superfine pieces. Remove the stems of the green chilies and chop to superfine pieces. Grate the coconut. Transfer the chopped Amaranthus, the chopped chilies and the grated coconut into a mixing bowl. Sprinkle the salt and mix well, squeezing the mixture with your fingers. Set aside.

          Set a wok on high heat. Pour in the oil and throw in the mustard seeds. As soon as the mustard seeds are about to finish spluttering, tip in the split black gram lentils. When they turn golden brown, chuck in the chopped onion. Stir frequently. As soon as the onion turns a light brown, tip in the curry leaves.

          Stir once and put in the Amaranthus mixture. Stir well and turn down the heat. Cover with a lid. Every minute, open the lid and stir nicely. After 5 to 6 minutes, have a taste to check if the Amaranthus is cooked. If cooked, switch off the heat. Serve hot with rice or with bread.


     1)    Try to grow your own Amaranthus or buy organic Amaranthus whenever possible, since commercially available Amaranthus often contains lots of chemical pesticides. Amaranthus grows easily in a wide range of climes and elevations and is an excellent source of iron, vitamins, minerals and fibre.

     2)    Using a sharp knife to slice the Amaranthus into extra fine pieces makes the toran more scrumptious.

     3)    While buying Amaranthus or other leafy vegetables from the market, it is often better to choose those which have been chewed upon by caterpillars or grasshoppers since they are relatively free of pesticides.

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