Leafy vegetables are used widely in my home. They are loaded with nutrition and packed with proteins. Thotakura which is referred as Amaranth (in english) is a delicious leafy vegetable related to spinach family and is used a lot in traditional Andhra cooking – stir fry’s, stews and dal. It blends very well with most of the vegetables and dals(lentils). Thotakura pulusu (stew) is a very simple and tasty dish spiced up with chillies and sweetened with jaggery. Pulusu, a clear broth (tamarind) cooked with vegetables and spices is served as a side dish along with rice. Basic ingredients in such stew always stays same only the additional ingredients either vegetables or lentils keeps changing.
Green, white and red amaranth leaves are available in India. Green and white leaves are used in stir fry’s or curries while the red one is often used in making stews. These leaves contain a very good source of vitamins including vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, riboflavin, and rich in dietary minerals and the stem contains a good amount of fiber. Amaranth is also known as Red spinach and Chinese spinach.
1 bunch or 3 cups tender amaranth leaves & stems (clean & chopped)
8-10 pearl onions (peel and trim the ends)
3 green chillies
1/2 tbsp besan (chickpea flour)
(Mix besan with 3 tbsp of water without any lumps and keep aside)
2-3 cups water (to cook)
2-3 tbsp tamarind pulp (thick)
1-2 tbsp jaggery/sugar (optional)
1/4th tsp turmeric
Salt to taste
1 tbsp oil
2 dry red chillies (broken)
½ tsp mustard seeds
1/4th tsp mustard seeds
Big pinch hing
Heat 1 tsp oil in a small pan. Add all the ingredients listed below seasoning and fry till mustard seeds pop. Turn off the heat and keep aside.
Heat remaining oil in a heavy bottom vessel. Add green chillies and onions and sauté for 3-5 minutes on medium heat. Add chopped leaves & stems, salt, turmeric and ½ cup water and cook until the leaves are done (3/4th) now add tamarind pulp, jaggery, besan mix, water and bring it to boil, keep stirring in the middle to avoid besan from curdling. Reduce the heat, adjust the taste add anything if need and simmer for 8-10 minutes. Crush the fried seasoning and stir into the pulusu (stew) and cook for 2 more minutes. Turn off the heat. Shift into serving dish.
Serve with steamed rice, dal and papad.
Notes and Tips
You can use frozen pearl onions or soak the onions in warm water for 10 mins, the skin will peel off easily. You can add garlic and tomatoes to this dish. If you are allergic to besan skip adding it.