November 5, 2005

Keerai (weekend herb)

Presenting to you My Dhaba’s weekend herb - the keerai, botanical name – Amaranthus Gangeticus, Indian version of the spinach but far more nutritious.

It is another leafy wonder considered to be as “the broom of the stomach” and is a wonderful cleaner. It is packed with riboflavin. One cup of cooked keerai contains a very high level of Vitamin A, foliate and thiamine which is the prescribed diet for pregnant and anemic women. Due to its high oxalic acid content, when used in moderation, it is a very good laxative.

There are many different varieties of keerai, all tasting slightly different – shiru keerai, ponnangenni, mullu keerai, etc. Even the gods eat their keerai! Lord Ranganatha at the great temple of Srirangam is routinely fed a preparation of keerai and lentils.

Here is the traditional recipe for making keerai poriyal.

Bringing ingredients together...

Keerai poriyal recipe (fried greens)

  • Serves - 4
  • Preparation time - 20 minutes

    Keerai – 3-4 cups of leaves, washed and cut into tiny shreds
    Onions – 2, medium size, finely chopped
    Garlic – 2-3 pods, chopped length-wise
    Oil – 1 teaspoon
    Ghee – 1 teaspoon
    Mustard seeds – ½ teaspoon
    Black gram dal – 1 teaspoon
    Dry red chillies – 2, medium size, medium hot, half broken
    Salt – ½ teaspoon, adjust to taste
    Bengal gram dal – 2 tablespoons, just sufficiently boiled for its grains to remain separate from one another.
    Coconut – 2 tablespoons, scraped

    Method: Heat a flat-bottomed vessel and pour in the oil and ghee. When very hot, add in the following order: mustard seeds to splutter, black gram dal to brown lightly, red chillies, then the chopped onions, and the flakes of garlic. Fry till the onions turn limp. Add the salt, sprinkle a little water, and cover with a lid. Cook till the greens are boiled and there is no water left. Just before removing from the heat, stir in the scraped coconut and boiled dal as garnishing. Serve hot as soon as it is made for a delicious flavor. Enjoy keerai poriyal.

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Blogger Kalyn Denny said...

Another fascinating and informative post. I can tell you are an amazing cook, as well as a great photographer.

Blogger Swamy VKN said...

Hi Julie - thanks for your feedback. Please try your luck at a local vegetable store for keerai. This grows fast and will get adapted to any soil environment. For seeds - anyone coming back from India after vacation? :-)

Blogger Swamy VKN said...

Thank you Kalyn. I am flattered :-) Glad to know that you liked it.

Blogger ammani said...

Must try this one and ragi dosai. A request, is it possible to change your settings so we can see a few more recipes on your index page instead of having to click on links.
Great recipes!

Blogger Swamy VKN said...

Hi Ammani - Thanks.

That is a wonderful suggestion. I will definitely work on it.

For the time being, all the discussed recipes are collated and categorized under "My Dhaba Recipe MENU" which you could find just at top-right corner of this page. Just one click and all recipes are there :-) Also, the "recent posts" show the latest 10 posts.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thiru Vkn:

excellent recipes.

A Suggestion:

Instead of using "fried" sort of liberally, would you agree stir fry might be the more appropriate term.



Blogger Swamy VKN said...

Vassan - Thanks for dropping by. Noted your suggestion.

I had to check my dictionary to ascertain which is more apt at this context :-) Here is my findings of the words 'stir-fry' and 'fry' from Webster's.

Stir-fry is normally used in Chinese cooking, to fry (diced or sliced vegetables, meat, etc.) very quickly in a wok, with a little oil, while stirring constantly.

Fry is to cook or be cooked in a pan or on a griddle over direct heat, usually in hot fat or oil.

Would you agree with me now that, 'fry' is the apt word at this context? Your opinions please.

Anonymous Anonymous said...


fry can be misconstruded as deep fried, sometimes.Thats' what I should've said earlier.

Will start trying your veg receipes soon & let you know about the results.



Blogger Swamy VKN said...

Hi Vassan - thanks for your reply.

Yes, I fully agree with you now that fry can be misconstruded as deep-fried, shallow-fried, or stir-fried. Now I know; I googled out again and found this interesting page I should have used the terms 'pan-fry' or 'saute' instead of just 'fry' at this context.

Interesting find, isn't it?

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi...Thanks for the entry...I think I am the last person to comment here....but actualy I was searching for a recipe that goes exactly with my Mom's way of cooking the keerai. And I found it here after a google search. Thanks for this one. I like this type of poriyal with almost all types of keerai..favorite one being araikeerai / paruthikeerai. Thanks a lot again


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