Saturday, December 19, 2009

Keerai Thuvaiyal Varieties ( Blended spinach curries of Tamilnadu)

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Keerai Thuvaiyal Varieties (Blended Spinach curries)

This table lists Spinach blended curries from 000 to 999. The three digits denote the base, flavouring & additives Master Recipe :: Heat a spoon of oil. Add a base from column 1. Add a small bit of tamarind / tamarind paste. Stir and cook on medium for 5 minutes. Sprinkle some water if it gets too dry.. Add to a blender with additives from column 3. Add two pinches of salt and a dry red chili. Blend to a smooth paste. Mix in flavouring from column 2.

Base (1 handful)



0.: Vallarai Keerai Take four handfuls of chopped vallarai keerai ( Brahmi / pennywort).

0.: None

0.: None

1.: Thooduvalai Keerai Take four handfuls of chopped Thooduvalai keerai.

1.: Mustard + Red chili Heat half a spoon of oil. Add a pinch of mustard. Wait till it stops popping. Add a dry red chili.

1.: Coconut Take half a handful of grated coconut or a spoon of coconut milk.

2.: Manathakkali Keerai Take four handfuls of chopped Black nightshade leaves.

2.: Green chili + Curry leaves Heat a spoon of oil. Add a pinch of mustard, a slit green chili and a couple of curry leaves.

2.: Dals Take a spoon of roasted urad dal / tuvar dal / chana dal.

3.: Ponnanganni Keerai Take four handfuls of chopped Sessile joyweed. Alternanthera sessilis leaves

3.: Cumin Heat a spoon of oil. Add a pinch each of mustard, cumin, a couple of curry leaves and a red chili.

3.: Sesame Take three pinches of sesame seeds.

4.: Murungai Keerai Take four handfuls of chopped moringa leaves.

4.: Asafetida Heat a spoon of oil. Add a pinch of mustard, two curry leaves, a red chili and a pinch of asafetida. .

4.: Garlic Take a clove of garlic

5.: Paslai Keerai Take four handfuls of chopped pasalai keerai.

5.: Fenugreek Heat a spoon of oil. Add a pinch of mustard, 2 curry leaves and a pinch of fenugreek. Sir for a minute.

5.: Ginger Take a small bit of ginger.

6.: Vendaiya Keerai Take four handfuls of chopped fenugreek leaves.

6.: Lentils Heat a spoon of oil. Add a pinch of mustard, 2 pinches of urad dal, a pinch each of curry leaves & asafetida.

6.: Peanuts Take half a handful of roasted peanuts/ cashewnuts.

7.: Gongura Take four handfuls of chopped (sour spinach/ sorrel/ Pulicha keerai ). No need to add tamarind.

7.: Garlic Heat a spoon of oil. Add a pinch of mustard, a couple of curry leaves and a finely chopped garlic clove. Stir for a minute.

7.: Shallots Heat a spoon of oil. Add 2-3 chopped shallots & stir fry for 2 mins..

8.: Arai Keerai Take four handfuls of chopped Amaranthus tricolor.

8.: Roast & Ground Spices Heat a pan. Add a dry red chili, two pinches each of coriander seeds, tuvar dal, a pinch each of pepper & Bengal gram. Dry roast and grind.

8.: Jaggery Take a pinch of jiggery ( usually added when spinach is bitter).

9.: Fusion Take four handfuls of your favourite chopped edible greens Bok choy / kale / chard etc or use a combo of the above.

9.: Fusion Use your favourite flavouring or use any combination of the above.

9.: Fusion Use your favourite additive or use any combination of the above.

Sample Recipes :: Vallarai Thuvaiyal 018 :: Gongura Thuvaiyal 700 :: Vendaiya Keerai Thuvaiyal 648::

Almost all edible greens can be stir fried and blended with tamarind, red chilies and salt into a Thuvaiyal. Though not looked upon as spinach, Thuvaiyal made from cilantro, curry leaves and mint are popular across the south. These herbs require no cooking and can be blended straight with tamarind, chilies and salt. You can try experimenting with very briefly stir frying the spinach or blanching it or microwaving it before blending it. A combination of spinach is usually not used in a Thuvaiyal, but that is no reason you should not try them. Experiment with various greens found across the world and you’ll see that most of them can be turned into delicious thuvaiyals. An thuvaiyal has a souring agent ( usually tamarind) and red chilies. Replace the souring agent with lemon juice / wine / vinegar, the red chili with black pepper and Indian edible greens with Italian ones and a Thuvaiyal becomes the Pesto.

A Thuvaiyal needs is usually blended to be a thick paste. If you had added too much water, it is no more a thuvaiyal, but a chutney. Unlike thuvaiyals, most Tamil chutneys have some coconut blended in.

In the Thuvaiyal recipe, use boiled spinach instead of stir fried spinach, replace tamarind with lemon juice as a souring agent and dry red chilies with fresh green chilies and a Keerai Thuvaiyal becomes a Keerai masiyal. Mix in boiled lentils with a masiyal and you get the popular paruppu keerai.

Keerai thuvaiyal / masiyal / chutney can be mixed in with hot cooked rice or as a dip for flatrbreads oe even as a sandwich spread. Mix it in with cooked pasta / noodles for a fusion experience.

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