‘Keera chundal’ used to be a frequent, regular item in most households when I was young. It would taste awesome when made with ‘arkeerai’ or with the leaves of ‘thandu keerai’ – fresh from the kitchen garden. Now I make this dish with market-purchased ‘thandu keerai’ (chowli leaves) – a bunch of red-and-green keerai leaves. Only the thin ‘thandu’ (stem) are to be used; the thicker ones can be kept aside to be used in sambar.
This side-dish forms a great combo with all sour koottaans.
Keerai – 2 bunches – finely chopped
Grated coconut – 3 tbsp
Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
Salt to taste
Oil – 2 tsp
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Urad dal – 1 tsp
Whole red chilli – 2 pieces
Wash the keerai well. Remove the thick stem (if you are using ‘thandu keerai’.
Chop the leaves and thin stems fine.
Heat oil in a kadhai and add mustard seeds, urad dal and whole red chilli pieces.
Then add the chopped keerai, squeezing out the water.
Add turmeric powder and salt and stir well.
Cook covered on low flame for 3-4 minutes.
Stir and again cook covered for 2 minutes.
If it is cooked, continue to heat on high flame till the water has completely evaporated.
Toss in the grated coconut and stir well.
Serve hot as side-dish.
Be careful while adding salt – use less salt because the large amount of ‘keerai’ will shrink to a small quantity when the dish is ready! That is another reason why you may require 2 bunches to serve 4 – if you are just making one side-dish.
Pressure-cook 2 tbsp of 'vella payaru' (black-eyed peas) and add to the keera chundal - it enhances the taste and health quotient!
© Copyright 2011. Brinda Balasubramonian.