Mangalore Basale Curry (Malabar Spinach and Whole Moong in coconut gravy)

Mangalore Basale Curry (Malabar Spinach and Whole Moong in coconut gravy)

Basale soppu or Malabar /Ceylon Spinach is also called as mayalu in Marathi and poi in Gujrathi . It’s very common to see houses in Mangalore growing it and Basale ghassi or Basale koddel is a specialty of the region. Malabar spinach is rich in vitamins A, C, iron and calcium, and is also good source of soluble fiber.  The addition of green moong not only increases the protein conent of the dish but also adds a lot of flavour to it.

I was lucky to find the seeds locally and have been making this curry with homegrown organic basala. This is how Basala and payar (whole moong) curry is made in my family.

Ingredients for Mangalore Basale curry:

  • Green moong: 1 cup (wash and soak for an hour)
  • Basalla /Malabar Spinach: 3 cups (washed, chopped, both leaves and stems are traditionally used)
  • Tomato: 2 small or 1 Big
  • Salt: to taste
  • Tamarind paste: 1/4tsp

Grind together:

  • Grated coconut/dessicated coconut: 1 1/2 cups
  • Onion: 1 medium, sliced
  • Turmeric: 1/4tsp
  • Red chili powder(or 8-10 whole dried byadagi chilies roasted): 1-2tbsp (as per your heat tolerance)
  • Coriander powder (or 1 tbsp corriander seeds roasted): 1tbsp
  • Cumin powder: 3tsp
  • Mustard seeds:1/2 tsp (optional)
  • Garlic: 2 cloves

Method:

  1. Pressure cook the moong and the basale (leaves and stem) without adding salt for one whistle.
  2. Grind the ingredients mentioned under grind together to a smooth paste and keep aside.
  3. Open the pressure cooker (if it’s too small, then transfer contents to a deep vessel), add the ground masala, little water, cut tomatoes, tamarind paste and salt.
  4. Allow the curry to boil vigorously for five minutes, check for salt, tamarind add more if required. Adjust the consistency if needed before switching off.
  5. It is traditionally served with rice, but tastes great with chapathis too.

Note: You can add seasoning/tadka if you want, but it isn’t added in our family recipe.

 


Green Apple and Mint Chutney

I had picked up 3 Granny Smith apples in the hope of turning it into a chutney that a friend had made.Well,the recipe involved some cooking and since I was feeling too lazy for that, thought I’d make it like raw mango chutney.So,I peeked into the fridge and got out all the stuff that goes into a regular chutney-mint leaves,cilantro,ginger,lemon,green chilies and put them all in the blender with the cored and peeled apples. The resulting Green Apple Chutney which came out of the blender reminded me of the “chaat” taste and so I blended some sugar and a little roasted cumin seeds,and the result was great. The Green Apple Chutney can be eaten with meals,mixed with yogurt and used as a dip, or used as a spread in a sandwich.Here’s what I blended together for the Green Apple Chutney:
Ingredients for Green Apple and Mint Chutney:

  • Granny Smith apples/tart cooking apples-2 nos.(peeled,cored and chopped)
  • Mint leaves-10 numbers
  • Coriander leaves/Cilantro-2 tablespoons
  • Green chilly/Serrano-1 no.
  • Ginger-1/2″piece
  • Lemon juice-2 tablespoons
  • Jeera/Cumin seeds-1 tsp(roasted)
  • Jaggery/Stevia-2 tsp/to taste (optional)
  • Salt-to taste

Method:

  1. Put all the ingredients into a blender and blend till you get a fine paste.
  2. Adjust salt and sugar according to your taste.
  3. Serve the Green Apple Chutney with sandwiches, as a dip or as a salad dressing.

Collard Upkari (a Mangalorean style stir-fry)

LoveToTakePhotos / Pixabay

Collard Greens

“Upkari”(or stir-fry) is a very simple vegetarian dish which is a regular in most Mangalorean households. You can make ‘upkari’ with any vegetable (cabbage,beans,radish, string beans,etc) or with any green leafy vegetable. ‘Upkari’s’ are traditionally made by adding the chopped vegetable/leaves to the tempering along with one or two slit green chillies and cooked till done. At the end, a garnish of freshly grated coconut(Mangalore is a coastal town in Southern India and has an abundance of coconut trees,and hence the use of coconut in almost every dish) is added which gives it the characteristic flavor.
I’ve modified the recipe for the collard upkari by adding some chopped onions, and a pinch of asafoetida(hing) as I like the flavor it adds to the dish.

Ingredients for Collard upkari:

  • Collard leaves (or any green leafy vegetable) : 1 bunch (chopped)
  • Green chilly:1-2(slit length wise)
  • Onion-1/2 medium (finely chopped) optional
  • Coconut: 2-3 tbsp(freshly grated/frozen)
  • Salt to taste

For the tempering:

  • Oil: 1tsp
  • Mustard seeds: 1tsp
  • Urad dal: 1tsp
  • Asafoetida/hing: a pinch(optional)
  • Curry leaves: 3-4 (optional)

Method:

  1. Heat the oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds and urad dal.
  2. When the mustard starts to pop, add the asafoetida and the curry leaves.
  3. Add the chopped ginger,slit green chillies and onions and saute till the onions turn translucent.
  4. Add the chopped collard (or any of the other vegetables/green leafy vegetables) and stir-fry for 10mins.
  5. Then add a little water, salt to taste and cover and cook till done.
  6. Garnish the collard upkari with the coconut scrapings. Serve hot with a dash of lime (goes well with dal and rice).
Note: You can add 1/2 cup of split moong(wash and soak for 15 mins-add at step 5 with the water) or cooked pulses(kabuli channa) to add some protein to the dish.

Q. Which is your favorite recipe with greens?


Crispy and Spicy Kale Chips

Kale is packed with vitamins A, C , E,K, calcium , fibre and protein. The protein in kale contains all the 9 essential amino acids and hence is comparable to the protein found in meat or poultry.

Other than making sabzi’s, smoothies and salads with kale, here is a quick and simple snack recipe with kale. Crispy and Spicy Kale chips can be eaten as a snack or in lieu of papad/pickle with your meals.

Ingredients for Crispy and Spicy Kale Chips:

  • Kale: 1 big bunch (wash and dry)
  • Salt: to taste
  • Red chili powder: 1/2 tsp (add more if you like it spicier or omit entirely if you want just salted)
  • Cumin powder: 1/2 tsp
  • Olive oil: 1-2 tbsp

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 275F  (135C).
  2. Dry the kale leaves thoroughly. You can use a salad spinner for this
  3. Remove any large stems from the kale, and tear the leaves up into bite-sized pieces.
  4. Put the kale in a salad bowl and add the olive oil, red chili powder, cumin powder,  salt and toss well until the leaves are evenly coated.
  5. Spread the leaves out on a baking tray in a single layer (do not overcrowd, make a second batch if there is more) and bake for about 20-25 minutes (till they get crispy). Keep a watchful eye on your batch to prevent burning.
  6. Cool and enjoy as a snack or as a crispy side with your meals.

Here are other Healthy Snack Ideas:

  1. Baked Sweet Potato Fries/snack
  2. Baked Carrot Fries/snack
  3. Fruit Chaat/ Fruit Salsa 
  4. Khaman Dhokla
  5. Handvo
  6. Fish Cutlets/Patties

 


Palak Chutney(Spicy spinach chutney)

If ‘Green smoothies’ (with raw palak)or ‘Spinach juice’ isn’t your cup of tea, then you can try out this spicy palak chutney which is a great way of adding green leafy vegetables to your diet.

Spinach is loaded with nutrients like protein, fibre, vitamins ( A, C, E, K , as well as vitamins B2, B6 , folate) and minerals like manganese, magnesium, iron, copper, calcium and potassium.

The original recipe uses tendli/tondli(ivy gourd) leaves,but since that isn’t available everywhere, had to substitute with palak. The resulting Palak Chutney was quite close to the ‘tondekai/tondli chutney’ that I remember. Here are the ingredients for the Palak Chutney:

Ingredients for Palak Chutney:

  • Palak(baby)/Baby spinach-2 cups chopped
  • Garlic-5 cloves(crushed)
  • Ginger-1″ piece
  • Cilantro/coriander leaves-1 cup
  • Green chillies-6-7nos(or according to taste)
  • Roasted channa dal-2 tbsp
  • Roasted groundnut-2tbsp
  • Hung yogurt/curd-3tbsp
  • Lemon Juice: 1 tbsp
  • Salt-to taste
  • Oil-1tsp

    Method:
    1)Heat the oil in a pan,add the garlic and green chillies and saute for a couple of minutes.
    2)Add the chopped baby spinach and saute till they are cooked.Let it cool.
    4)In a mixer grinder-add the channa dal,groundnuts,cilantro,ginger,salt and the cooked palak.
    5)Make a fine paste.
    6)Pour the palak chutney into a bowl. Add the lime juice, yogurt and mix well. Test for salt.

    Palak chutney tastes great even without the addition of the yogurt/curd at the end(add a little tamarind). I just love the creaminess that the yogurt adds to the palak chutney.
    Serve the palak chutney with idlis/dosas, as a spread for sandwiches,a dip or as a side with your meal.


Palak Paneer- Creamy, low- calorie version (Cottage cheese in Spinach gravy)

Here’s a low-fat version of Creamy Palak Paneer:
Ingredients for Palak Paneer (low calorie version):

  • Palak: 4 big cups or 250 gms
  • Tomatoes: 2 big
  • Garlic: 4nos.
  • Ginger: 1″piece
  • Green chilies: 2-3 (or according to taste)
  • Paneer: 250gms (cut into cubes)
  • Skim milk: 1 1/2 cups
  • Whole wheat flour: 1 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds: 1tsp
  • Hing(asafoetida): a pinch
  • Bay leaf: 1
  • Turmeric powder: 1/2tsp (or 1 tsp curry powder)
  • Coriander powder: 2tsp
  • Red chili powder: 1-2 tsp
  • Garam masala: 1/2 tsp
  • Salt: to taste
  • Oil: 3tsp
Method:
  1. Puree the tomato along with the garlic and ginger.
  2. Bring some water to boil and then blanch the palak leaves for 3-5 minutes. Take out the leaves and puree when cool.
  3. Heat the oil in a saucepan, add the bay leaf and cumin seeds, when they start to brown add the hing.
  4. Then add the tomato puree, garam masala, coriander powder, red chili powder, turmeric/curry powder and stir fry till you see the oil separating out.
  5. Then add the palak puree and mix well.
  6. Cover and cook for 10 minutes stirring in between.Add salt to taste.
  7. Mix the wheat flour in the milk and add to the saucepan. Mix well and then cover and cook for about 5mins.
  8. Add the paneer pieces and mix. Cover and cook for another 5-6 minutes while stirring gently in between.
Serve the creamy palak paneer with phulkas or plain rice and dal.

Drumstick Leaves Upkari (Moringa leaves stir-fry Mangalorean Style)

Did you know that the leaves of the drumstick tree are edible and are loaded with nutrients? Drumstick leaves are a common green leafy vegetable in most Indian homes especially down South.  It is known as Murungai in Tamil, Nuggekai soppu in Kannada, Muringa in Malayalam. Long known for it’s medicinal and nutritional properties in Ayurveda, it has of late been in the news in the West and is heralded as a miracle tree. Researches believe that the leaves can help in lowering blood sugars among diabetics, reducing cholesterol and also help in reducing inflammations, joint pain, constipation and cancers among others. Drumstick leaves are rich in calcium, potassium, Vitamin A &C and fiber. Drumstick leaves are sold in health stores in the form of powders and capsules.

I however love it as a stir-fry and make it whenever I find the leaves in the Indian store.

Here is a simple Mangalorean style stir-fry (upkari)made with drumstick leaves:

Ingredients for Drumstick leaves upkari:

  • Drumstick leaves: 1 big bunch (wash and separate the tiny leaves from the stalks)
  • Onion: 1 medium
  • Green chilies: 1-2 (as per your tolerance)
  • Coconut gratings: 2tbsp (fresh/frozen/dessicated)
  • Turmeric: 1/2 tsp (optional)
  • Mustard seeds: 1tsp
  • Urad dal: 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin seeds: 1tsp
  • Oil: 3 tsp
  • Salt: to taste

Method:

  1. Chop the washed leaves as fine as possible.
  2. Finely chop the onions and slit the green chilies.
  3. Heat a kadai, add the oil, then the mustard, cumin seeds and urad dal.
  4. When the mustard seeds start to pop, add the slit green chilies, turmeric powder (optional)then the chopped onions.
  5. Fry till the onions turn translucent. Then add the drumstick leaves and stir for a couple of minutes.
  6. Add some salt and mix well. Then add some water and let the leaves cook, stirring occasionally.
  7. Once the leaves are cooked, add the grated coconut, mix well and switch off.
  8. Since it’s a dry sabzi, it goes better with rice and a curry.

 

 

 


Kale Mallung / mallum with radish (Sri Lankan style stir fry)

Kale Mallung or mallum is actually made with just… kale 😉 I had one radish left-over after making the radish sambar and didn’t know what to do with it so I finely chopped it and added it to the mallung. It added a nice crunch to the mallung, but can be omitted as it’s not really a part of the original recipe.

Kale is a power house of nutrients and contains complex carbohydrates, high quality protein, Vitamins A,C,K and folate. Adding a dash of lime juice at the end helps the body to better absorb the iron from green leafy vegetables. This is a Sri Lankan easy stir-fry recipe and can be made with any green leafy vegetable(palak,radish leaves, amaranth, laal saag, mustard leaves) or even cabbage.

Ingredients for Kale Mallung with Radish:

  • Kale: big bunch (remove the stalks and chiffonade the leaves)
  • Radish: 1 small finely diced (optional)
  • Red chili flakes: 1 tsp (or to taste) or 1-2 green chilies slit
  • Mustard seeds: 1tsp
  • Cumin seeds: 1tsp
  • Coconut: 2-3tbsp freshly scraped/frozen/desiccated
  • Turmeric: 1 tsp
  • Lemon juice: 1tsp
  • oil: 2tsp
  • Salt: to taste

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a kadai, add the mustard and jeera. When the mustard starts to pop, add the slit green chilies or the red chili flakes and the turmeric.
  2. Then add the finely chopped kale and radish(optional) and stir-fry till the kale is cooked.
  3. Add the salt and coconut and cook for another minute.
  4. Switch off, then add the lime juice and mix well (this is to increase the absorption of iron from green leafy vegetables)
  5. Serve as side with rice and curry.

Here’s another mallung/mallum recipe with turnip leavesTurnip leaves Mallung/mallum

 


Mooli Ki Sabzi (Dry Radish curry with leaves)

The recipe and photographs for this simple yet tasty ‘Mooli ki Sabzi’ (Red Radish Curry) are again courtesy Taranjeet Kaur!! Thanks TJ-and thanks Prateek for tasting and giving a ‘thumbs-up’ for this recipe. Coming from a person who normally isn’t too fond of radish speaks volumes about this dish and Taranjeet’s culinary skills 🙂

MooliSabzi

Mooli ki sabzi (with leaves)/Radish sabzi with leaves

 

Taranjeet’s Recipe for ‘Mooli ki Sabzi’:

Ingredients for Mooli ki Sabzi:

  • 2-3 bunches of red radish with leaves
  • 1 green chili
  • 2-3 cloves garlic (smashed)
  •  1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • Oil: 1tsp (enough to sauté the garlic)
  • Salt: to taste       

 Method:

  1. Wash and chop the radish and greens.
  2. Heat the oil in a pan ,add garlic,sauté for a minute and add turmeric powder.
  3. Add the chopped radish .Let it cook for a couple of minutes .
  4. Add the leaves and mix it well.
  5. Sprinkle salt as per taste. Cook covered for 5 mins.
  6. Serve the ‘mooli ki sabzi’  hot with roti. This also goes well with rice and moong dal.

Turnip leaves Mallung/Mallum (Sri Lankan simple stir-fry with greens)

I love trying out different cuisines and have been lucky to have wonderful neighbours from whom I have learnt different cooking styles. My love for Sri Lankan cuisine started back in the US when we lived in Minnesota for a brief period. There was one Sri Lankan restaurant in the neighbourhood and we loved the fiery food there. Though it is similar to South Indian cuisine(especially Kerala cuisine), they are heavy on the spices and it’s definitely not for those who have a weak stomach.

When we moved to Sydney, I was lucky to have a Sri Lankan neighbour who (once she got to know my love for Sri Lankan food) is always sending over food. This ‘mallung’ or mallum recipe I learnt from her. It’s a quick and easy stir-fry recipe for greens, where you have to finely chop/shred the greens. Since green leafy vegetables tend to reduce in quantity when cooked-don’t be disappointed if you end up with very little mallung.

I try to experiment with different greens and try to buy radish/turnips/beetroot with the leaves. And yes-please don’t throw the leaves of these vegetables as they are edible. Add them to your dals or make this Sri Lankan ‘mallung’ recipe 🙂

Ingredients for Sri Lankan Mallung: Serves 4

  • Green leafy veg: 1 big bunch (kale, turnip greens, moringa leaves, amaranth, lal saag)
  • Red chili flakes: 1 tsp (or green chili paste)
  • Turmeric: 1/2 tsp
  • Mustard leaves: 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp
  • Curry leaves: 3-4 nos.
  • Grated coconut: 1-2 tbsp (fresh or desiccated)
  • Lemon juice: 2tsp
  • Oil: 1 tsp
  • Salt: to taste

Method:

  1. Wash the greens and chiffonade (roll the leaves and cut them finely) them.
  2. Heat the oil in a non-stick pan, add the mustard and cumin seeds.
  3. When it starts to pop, add the curry leaves, turmeric powder and the red chili flakes (or green chili paste)
  4. Then add the greens and stir-fry for 5-6 mins.
  5. Add the salt and the grated coconut and mix well.
  6. Swith off and squeeze a dash of lime/lemon juice.
  7. Serve with rice and dal/sambar.

Note:

  1. Experiment with different greens. Cooking times will differ for different greens: like moringa(drumstick) leaves need more time to cook (and you may have to cover and cook for sometime).
  2. The red chili flakes add a unique taste to the dish, you can chop the dry red chilies and use that or use green chili paste.
  3. Always remember to squeeze some lemon/lime juice before you serve greens as the vitamin C will help in the absorption of the iron found in green leafy vegetables.

Sri Lankan mallung

Sri Lankan Greens Mallung/Mallum Recipe