September 2, 2013

Chuvanna Cheera Avial - Red Amaranth Leaves Cooked In Coconut'n'Yogurt

Cheera avial might sound like an oxymoron because avial is synonymous with multiple vegetables where as in cheera avial, cheera is the only vegetable (raw mango is optional). Now, since this is my mother-in-law's recipe and is also my husband's favorite, it is still an avial ;-)





How do I get hold of a bunch of red amaranth leaves in this part of the world? You would be really lucky if you stay near a Malayali grocery store where you might find an occasional bunch of red amaranth. The other option is to get the seeds and grow it yourself (only in summer months). Another option would be to become friends with an organic farm and have them grow it for you, which is what we did this summer :-)

Now coming to nutrition; cooked amaranth leaves are supposed to be rich in vitamin Avitamin C, and folate; (makes sense when we think of how women are fed this when they are pregnant or nursing) plus multiple dietary minerals including calcium, iron and magnesium. Enough reasons to love these tasty and beautiful leaves? 

The recipe as mother-in-law makes it has raw mango and/or yogurt. Mango chunks will be cooked along with the amaranth stems. Yogurt quantity should be adjusted or completely eliminated depending on how sour the whole thing becomes with the raw mango. 

Ingredients: 
  • Red amaranth leaves - 1 big bunch
  • Coconut - 1 cup 
  • Green chilly - 1-2
  • Cumin seeds - 1 T
  • Homemade Yogurt - 1/2 cup
  • Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Sea salt - as per taste
  • Virgin coconut oil - 1 Tbs

Directions:
  • Separate amaranth leaves from stems. Tender stems count as part of leaves. Only thick bottom stems need to be separated. Chop leaves fine. Cut a few stems into 2 inch pieces.
  • Grind coconut, green chilly and cumin seeds to a coarse mixture. Mix it with yogurt and keep aside.
  • Start cooking the cut amaranth stems in about half cup of water and turmeric powder. Cook covered on medium heat till they are about 3/4th done.
  • Add the chopped amaranth leaves and continue cooking till the leaves are just wilted. Stir to wilt them evenly.
  • Add the coconut-yogurt mix and salt and continue cooking till amaranth leaves are cooked just enough.
  • Drizzle coconut oil and serve warm along with rice. 




4 comments:

  1. What a great dish!
    And thank you - I didn't even know Amaranth had leaves ;) lol

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    Replies
    1. Lol, in fact it was the opposite here.. though we grew up eating amaranth leaves in India, didn't know about the seeds till recently when we started rediscovering ancient grains/seeds :)

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    2. hai madam, how ru. Iam from kerala.is there any difference btn red cheera and maranth leafs?how can we avoid pesticides from vegitabless and fruits before cooking?isthere any simple method/small machinery?what do u do? are u a cook?

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    3. Red cheera and amaranth leaves are the same..
      on pesticides, I have to admit that I am not an expert..
      Best way to avoid of course is to buy organic whenever possible.
      If that is not possible, what you should try is to buy from a reliable, small scale local farmer.
      If you must buy conventional fruits/veggies, I have some tips that I found on the web.
      Soak the fruits and veggies in water with salt or baking soda and optionally vinegar. This seem to wash away a lot of pesticide residue from the outside.
      I have also read that ginger and turmeric can counter act with a lot of toxicity which accumulate mostly due to pesticide residue in our food. So that is something that I would try too, including ginger and turmeric in whatever way possible in my cooking.
      Hope this helps :-)

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