Being brought up in a North eastern suburb of Mumbai, I hardly got to see many varieties of Greens. Moving to Singapore post marriage exposed me to a whole new world of Greens, not only greens that came from China which I had never seen in my life, but greens that came from India and Malaysia which are actually consumed by people who hail from Southern India, one such greens is the Ponnanganni Keerai, This is the simple molagootal also known as kootu in Tamilnadu, that is made with the Ponnanganni Keerai. Including greens in your daily diet is very good. Ponnanganni is the tamil word for this variety of the greens. It is known as Mukunawanna, Water amaranth in English, In Malayalam as coluppa, koluppa, minannani, ponnankannikkira, ponnannani. In Kannada as Honagonne/ honagone soppu, In Telugu as ponagantikura, ponna ganti-kura, In Marathi as Kanchari. And In Hindi as Gudrisag.
Every green leafy vegetable has certain nutritional and medicinal values. The Ponnanganni Keerai I learnt improves eye sight, is good for people suffering from Piles, It is good for improving complexion of the skin, Good for loosing weight and general flabbiness. I have clicked a picture of the Ponnanganni keerai for easy identification. Below is the recipe for this nutritious green leafy vegetable.
Ponnanganni Keerai – 1 bunch
Toor Dal – ½ cup
Fresh Grated Coconut -- 1 cup
Cumin seeds - 1 tbsp.
Red chillies - 1-2
Tamarind extract - 1 tablespoon
Turmeric – 1tsp
Asafetida - a pinch
Coconut Oil - 2 tsps
Mustard seeds – 1tsp
Udad dal – 1 tsp
Salt as per taste
Rinse the toor dal well. Pressure cook it until its soft and keep aside. Pluck out the leaves of the Ponnanganni from its stems. Rinse it well in a colander and chop the leaves.
Heat a kadhai (wok), Add one tablespoon of the coconut oil, when the coconut oil is hot, add the ponnanganni leaves, salt, asafetida and turmeric powder and sauté till the leaves shrink in size, mash well with a spoon, now add the cooked toor dal, mix it well with the cooked ponnanganni leaves, Add some water if required at this stage, let it come to a boil.
In a mixie, blend the freshly grated coconut, cumin seeds and red chillies, Grind until the coconut starts to release the milk. Pour this grounded mixture into the Keerai and toor dal mix. Stir well, allow it to simmer for a minute on low flame. Stir once more. Now, in a small pan, take some coconut oil, add the mustard seeds and when it begins to crackle, add the udad dal, when the dal turns pink pour the seasoning on top, mix well and serve hot with Rice.
Tip : Sautéing the greens in coconut oil enhances its taste.