Sometimes I feel that we are missing the goodness of our traditional eating habits. When I was young, definitely there would be some leafy vegetable serving for lunch. My paternal grandmother was an expert in making thoran( stirfry with coconut) of muringa( drumstick) leaves and all different varieties of spinach leaves. Being a joint family, the ladies could easily manage to make as many side dishes for the meal everytime and they always made sure that atleast one leafy side dish is served with every meal. And all the kids had to eat those servings even if you like it or not. Nowadays even if I get drumstick leaves in the local market, I find it difficult to clean and cook that just for myself as the other two do not like to eat them in any form.
This curry was something, the recipe of which I had almost forgotten. One day, I saw some leftover spinach leaves in the fridge. There were only four stems which was not enough for a stirfry. Then I thought I would add it to the dal curry I was planning to make. You can make this with or without coconut. I have done it without coconut here. Here is the recipe for the cheera parippu curry.
- Toor dal- 1 cup
- Shallots- 5
- Ripe tomato- 1/2 chopped finely
- Green chilly- 2
- Spinach leaves- coarsely chopped 1 cup
- Raw mango chopped- 1/2 cup(optional)
- Turmeric powder
- Salt to taste
- Chopped shallots(1), curry leaves, mustard seeds, dried red chillies and oil for seasoning.
- Pressure cook toor dal, shallots, tomatoes and green chillies with turmeric powder, water and salt to 5 whistles or until the dal is well cooked.
- With an egg beater or the back of a ladle, mash the dal very well. The cooked mixture should neither be runny nor too thick. Add water accordingly.
- Add the spinach leaves and mango(optional) and boil it without the lid for five minutes with occasional stirring until the spinach gets cooked.
- Heat oil and pop mustard seeds followed by shallots, curry leaves and dried red chillies.
- Pour this seasoning to the dal and spinach. Mix well and serve.
- If you love coconut in this curry, grind 1/2 cup coconut with 1/4 tsp cumin seeds and little water to a very fine paste. Mix with the cooked dal. Follow the remaining steps and make the wonderful curry.
- You can use drumstick leaves instead of spinach, but it is always better to pressure cook them with dal as it needs to be cooked thoroughly.