Grow Your Own is an event started and usually hosted by Andrea of Andreas Recipes. This fortnight, GYO is being hosted by Jai and Bee of Jugalbandi. This is my entry for this edition of GYO.
I finally managed to out my kutti inner green thumb. My little amaranth is all growed up. Growing a food plant for the first time was interesting- it played into my little fantasy where all urbanites are forced to grow their own food in little pots on their window sill- driven by high costs of food transportation. Being a locavore(someone who eats food grown within a 100 miles) may be trendy now, but will soon become a necessity. When I first realised my grape tomatoes came all the way from the DOMINICAN republic and my Okra from CHINA, boy was I mad. Everybody is only now sitting down to calculate the true costs of flying your food in from all around the world.
My plants did not really look like any of the amaranths Ive seen at Indiras Mahanandi - perhaps it is a different sub species. So for my first experiment with Mulaikeerai or Amaranth - I decided to play it safe and made Mulaikeerai/ Amaranth Kootu( Amaranth leaf lentil curry).
I served this traditional Iyengar rendition of Kootu with crisp Brinjal Podi Karamad( Brinjal Dry vegetable curry with ground spices) , Carrot Kosumalli( Carrot salad) and yoghurt. It was finger licking delicious!!
For the Kootu Spice Powder:
2 tbsp Urad dal
1 tsp Black Pepper
3 Red Chillies or to taste
Saute in a heavy bottomed pan until the urad dal turn golden brown and you can smell the roasted urad. Grind. This will keep for ever and is enough to make Kootu twice.
For the Kootu:
Take two cups of fresh amaranth greens or any other greens you have with about 3/4 cup yellow moong dal, and pressure cook for about two whistles. Add a tablespoon of the Kootu spice powder, salt to taste and boil briefly until the Kootu bubbles.
At this point the Kootu is basically done. You could temper the Kootu wih mustard, curry leaves and perhaps a tomato. Tomatoes in my grandmothers times were expensive, so she used them but rarely. Today it is a question of taste.
The Kootu does need an acid , sometimes I use a tomato - sometimes I just go with a Kosumalli. Kootu is as difficult to photograph as soup - the result just looks like yellow goo. This kootu speaks of home and simple pleasures and is infinitely customizable and has too many variations to keep track of.