Recipes

Keerai Masiyal ~ Mashed greens

Last night I slept late in the night after watching bits of two movies. I was curious about the end of the horror movie but watching horror movies sometimes makes me queasy so I missed all the important scenes by switching over a French comedy on ‘World movies’. In the end I did not understand head or tail of both movies and ended up going to bed late.

I was fast asleep at eight this morning when the phone rang and my BIL asked whether I would like some fresh greens from the farm nearby. He knows I love greens and generally picks up a bunch of amaranth leaves or spinach leaves on his morning walks near the field. I prefer making spinach on weekends as it takes time to pick, wash and clean the leaves. After some time he greeted me with a beautiful green bouquet of spinach leaves.

I do not know whether there is an appropriate equivalent term in Western cooking for masiyal, but it is a form of cooking that is very popular in Indian cuisine. It is an act that consists of pressing out the cooked vegetable to extrude its juices to a certain extent while retaining a rough texture. Traditionally we use a ‘kadchi’, ‘kadayal’ or ‘mathna’ for this act. Since the handle of mine broke long back, I have been using a ‘pav bhaji masher’ instead. I find that it is more convenient. If using a grinder, you have to be very careful giving the cooked spinach a half-turn so that it doesn’t blend into a pulp. Just remember that masiyal has to be as grainy as a ‘hand made’ pesto. The texture makes all the difference to the taste.

Traditionally amaranth leaves (chowli) are used for masiyal but spinach makes an equally tasty substitute.

Dish: Keerai Masiyal | Spinach stew, Iyer style
Yield: Serves 4
Category: Inherently vegan dish from Palakkad Iyer cuisine

Ingredients:
5 cups – Picked, washed and finely chopped amaranth leaves or spinach
1/2 cup – Water to cook the greens
Salt – To taste
1/4 tsp. – Turmeric powder

Seasoning:
A tbsp. of coconut oil
Split black gram – 1.5 tsp.
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp.
Dry red chillies (if long then break into small bits) – 2

Method:
Cut the spinach into thin strips and cook with salt and turmeric powder, without covering till well-done in a pan. Now use a masher to mash the spinach till the juices exude and the rough texture remains as for a basil pesto. Set aside.

Heat oil. Splutter mustard seeds, add gram dal and fry with the red chillies till the dal changes into a shade of pink.

Pour the seasoning over the cooked spinach. Stir well and serve as a side dish with rice and rasam. I like it just mixed with rice or even with pasta! I could have a bowl of this without anything to go with it.

Optionally you could also add a few garlic cloves or chopped garlic to the seasoning and let that brown before pouring into the greens.

9 Comments

Harini is a vegan food photographer and recipe developer. She used to blog at tongueticklers.com but she found the space restrictive. She enjoys photography, feeding birds, reading, is crazy about films and TV series, loves music and takes pride in being a 70s child. She draws inspiration from childhood, lunch-boxes, tiffin breaks, nature, and movies, and believes in free-cycling. In this space she shares love for things inclusive but beyond food.

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9 Comments

  • blueberry32

    This is such a beautiful picture of keerai masiyal! Really like your recipe, thank you 🙂

  • Curry Leaf

    I echo Aparna.Never ever b4 this spinach or the masiyal has looked so beautiful.I too love the masiyal and always try with spinach.

  • indhu

    I love love the picture… Srimathi and I were discussing how wonderful it looks… your picture reminded me instantly of the masiyal my mother makes 🙂

  • AMA's AnythingVegetarian

    I always love the simplicity of the spinach greens.Just melting masiyal takes me to heavens.Pics looks just perfect.

  • Sunshinemom

    Thanks, Srimathi:). I will post a pic soon of the pav bhaji masher. It is something like a meat mincer but a lighter version.

    Aparna, I know what you mean:D! Thanks!

  • Aparna

    This is one of my favourites and the only reason I haven't posted it is because I couldn't take a good picture of it! LOL

    Never seen mashiyal look so beautiful, Harini.

  • simply.food

    Such a healthy nad vibrant colour dish.Simple yet delicious.

  • Srimathi

    Your photo of Keerai masiyal is the best I have seen of any masiyal.I love keerai a lot. I wanted to ask you what is a pav bhaji smacher?

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