Leafy greens are great for us. Haven't we heard it since we were kids? Malabar spinach/basella also has a very high nutritional value. It is extremely rich in antioxidants, be it fresh, steamed, or quickly boiled. It is a rich source of vitamin A, iron and calcium and is packed with so many many more nutrients that I don't want to bore you with. And Konkani's have tries to use it in every way possible in our cuisine.
The leaves (“pallo” in Konkani) and stems (called as “dentu” in Konkani) of Malabar spinach are used to make a delicious, spicy, coconut based curry called as vali randayi in Konkani. Vali refers to Malabar spinach in Konkani and randayi means curry in Konkani. Basella leaves are also used to make these Konkani cuisine dishes:
We also make spicy fritters (called ambado in Konkani) and spicy dosas (called as sanna polo in Konkani) for lunch, dinner using basella.
And we prepare a simple stir fry called as vali upakari in Konkani.
Here's the recipe for basella curry. A delicious curry with a flavourful garlic/onion seasoning, that is enjoyed with steaming hot rice.
Preparation Time: 40 minutes
1. Pressure cook toor dal using 1 cup of water until it's nice and mushy.
2. Remove Malabar spinach leaves off their stem, wash them well and finely chop them.
3. Wash well tender Malabar spinach stems if you like them and want to use in the curry. I use only the tender most stems that we can bite through & swallow. Me & my hubby do not enjoy eating mature fibrey stems. Use them too if you like eating them.
Chop them into pieces of 2-3 inches length.
4. Peel and finely chop onion.
5. Pressure cook finely chopped onion, stems of Malabar spinach, chopped basella leaves along with enough salt & 1 cup of water for just 1 whistle.
Adding salt while cooking the greens is important as they need to take up salt or else they'll taste bland.
Don't overcook the greens. Green leafy vegetables should never be overcooked or else they lose their nutrients.
You can also choose to cook these ingredients directly on a flame in a cooking vessel.
Preparing the masala:
6. Fry dried red chillies with few drops of oil in a tempering pan, on a medium flame.
Fry until you start getting aroma of fried red chillies. Put off flame and set it aside to cool.
7. Once the chillies cool down, grind them along with grated coconut, tamarind and salt into a very smooth paste, using just as much water as required to make a paste and keep it aside.
Preparing the curry:
8. Transfer all the cooked contents along with their stock into a cooking vessel - cooked toor dal, and cooked Malabar spinach. Add the ground masala to it and mix well.
9. Add water only if required to bring the curry to a medium thick consistency.
10. Bring the curry to boil. Check and adjust salt.
11. Once the curry comes to a boil, simmer it for few minutes until rawness of the masala goes off.
12. Remove it off heat and season it.
This curry can be seasoned with garlic or with onions. With both seasoning's the curry tastes awesome and they add their own taste to the curry.
1. Seasoning with garlic:
Peel the garlic cloves and smash them a little so that they give out their flavour while seasoning.
Fry garlic in oil in a tempering pan, until they start to brown. Add it to the curry, mix well and keep the curry closed.
2. Seasoning with onions:
Fry finely chopped onion in oil in a tempering pan, until they start to brown. Saute to ensure uniform frying. Add it to the curry and mix well. Then boil the curry for a minute so that the flavour gets infused into the curry.
Your curry is now ready to be served with a bowl of steaming hot rice. We enjoy this rice, curry combo with some papads and fritters at home.
Add 3-4 peeled garlic pods, 1/2 a small sized onion to the masala while grinding it, for added taste to the curry.
Find more Konkani cuisine curry recipes here.
Tags: Coconut curry, Vegetarian, Konkani recipe, Malabar Spinach, Luch, Dinner, Konkani cuisine, Udupi cuisine, Mangalore food, Konkani food, Vali randayi, basella