Pasali Keerai Kootu


Sri Lanka has a variety of greens (keerai in Tamil) that are used in traditional meals and for their health benefits. Pasali Keerai is a type of Spinach that grows commonly in tropical weather. Leaves are thick and dark green with a slimy texture when squeezed or torn. Leaves and tender stems are used in cooking various keerai dishes.

Ingredients:

  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1 bunch Pasali keerai (yielded about 12 oz after removing thick stems)
  • 2 green chili
  • ¼ cup cooked toor dhal
  • 1-2 tablespoons thick coconut milk
  • Salt to taste

Method:

  • Remove thick stems from the Pasali Keerai bunch and discard.  Separate leaves and tender stems and wash thoroughly
  • Chop tender stems (when cutting, stems should not be fibrous) into small pieces – about ¼ inch pieces
  • Chop the leaves roughly and set aside
  • Peel and chop garlic into fine pieces
  • Add oil to a saucepan and once hot add garlic and fry for a minute or two.  Do not let it brown.
  • Add chopped tender stems and add ¼ cup water and cover and cook until water is almost absorbed
  • Add chopped Pasali Keerai and mix well until leaves are wilted.
  • Slit green chili lengthwise and add to saucepan.  Now add cooked toor dhal, salt and coconut milk and cover and cook for about 10 minutes or until water is absorbed and thickened.
  • Serve warm with Basmati rice. 
  • Yields: 2-3 as a side dish

Note: Pasali Keerai leaves has a slimy feeling when chopped.  This can be cooked as is or with lentils.  Since this Keerai has a slight bitter taste, it tastes good when cooked with Toor dhal.  Also adding Toor dhal enhances the flavor

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