As a child, the more common greens used in Indian cooking today like spinach, mustard greens, fenugreek greens, etc., were exotic stuff because they were not used in South Indian cooking. We only got to eat those on the rare occasions when we visited family in the Northern parts of the country, who were a bit more adventurous in their cooking and cooked chappathis and parathas unlike the traditionalists. While greens of any kind weren’t exactly favourites, I used to like some of them cooked in certain ways. Mulagootal (vegetables/ greens and lentils cooked with coconut) made with a variety of greens called “arkeerai” is an all-time favourite. Keerai Mulagootal with Parippu Thogayal ( a thick, coarsely ground chutney of coconut and roasted lentils) is an unbeatable combination, as it is with “Curd Rice” (South Indian rice with yogurt). “Keerai Poduthuval” (stir-fried amaranth with rice and coconut ) which I shall post one of these days, is another favourite as is “Keerai Mashiyal”. The name is self-explanatory as “Keerai” means greens and “Mashiyal” means mashed. Keerai Mashiyal is sheer green power in every sense because it is nothing but lightly seasoned and slightly spicy mashed greens. As is true with most of the preparations from our traditional cuisine, there is very little in the way of spices in this dish but thept the bare minimum and this really brings out the freshness and flavour of the greens.
I do not find thethe variety of greens available back home in the South, but spinach comes a very close second in taste when used to make this Mashiyal. Serve as a side dish with sambhar or have it the way I like best, with “Curd Rice” (South Indian rice and yogurt).
Keerai Mashiyal (South Indian Style Seasoned Mashed Spinach/ Amaranth Leaves)