Monday, December 28, 2009

Keerai Masiyal (Spinach with split mung bean lentils)

The amount of food we eat during the winter seems to be inversely proportional to the temperature; as the mercury drops, so our intake increases! Add to that all the celebrations and parties in the festive season and before you know it, the pounds have piled on by February. All this is quite new to me - never having lived in a city which could claim to have a distinct winter season, we managed to maintain our average calorie levels right through the year. It doesn't seem to help that the increasing weight is nicely hidden out of sight under the many layers that we pull on :)

So, I am trying to increase the quantity of soups that we usually consume; but its tough though when all your body craves is carbs. Salads especially, which are quite welcome during the summer months, just don't seem to do anything for us in winter. Enter the protein quotient - lentil soups, legume soups, chicken salads - now these seem to do the trick of filling us up and at the same time reducing our carb and cheese intake, not to mention being very delicious and giving me a lot of choice to play around with.

In this category then falls one of my favourite comfort foods - keerai masiyal in Tamil. Its a very simple dish which involves cooking spinach till just tender, mashing it up (not pureeing!) gently and finishing with a light tempering of garlic and red chillies.

Adding lentils to it is optional - I do or don't depending on my mood of the moment. On a chilly afternoon, the addition of split mung bean lentils (yellow moong dal) brings a creamy consistency to the dish and fills one up pretty nicely. Pair that with a spicy kozhambu and a porial (foogath) and you are set for a rather satisfying meal. or simply serve with warm phulkas and that is a complete meal too.

Keerai Masiyal (Spinach with mung bean lentils)

Spinach - 1 small bunch, washed in several changes of water and chopped roughly
Mung bean lentils (yellow moong dal/paasi paruppu) - 1/3 cup
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
half a tomato chopped
1 green chilli slit
salt to taste

Oil - 1 tsp
1 dried red chilli
urad dal seeds - 1 tsp
Asafoetida (hing/perungayam) - (pinch)
4-5 garlic cloves sliced thin

1. Wash lentils in water, drain and mix with the cleaned and chopped spinach, turmeric, slit green chilli and salt.
2. Cook in a pressure cooker in just enough water (2 cups) for 8 minutes (2 whistles), wait for the pressure to drop. Or this can be cooked on the stove top by increasing the water for cooking (use a heavy bottome vessel)
3. Drain and reserve any excess water on the top and with a back of a ladle (or a wooden masher - mathu), mash together the lentils and spinach gently till well combined. Remove the green chillies if you like and adjust seasoning.
4. Heat oil for tempering, add the red chillies, garlic and urad dal and when they start to brown add the asafoetida and immediately turn off the flame, taking care not to burn the garlic.
5. Add to the spinach lentil mixture and serve warm with rice or rotis.


indosungod said...

The perfect comfort dish. I moved the family towards beans to avoid eating all those carbs.

Ushnish Ghosh said...

Dear Miri

1st time at your place!!!Very well written introduction indeed.
The seasoning is great! will try soon
Happy New year

Vaishali said...

You're right-- what is it with winter and food? I guess part of it has to do with the fact that I know I can hid all those extra pounds under a big coat :)
Your keerai masiyal sounds perfect for a winter night comfort meal. And here's wishing you and your family a very happy new year!

PJ said...

Such a perfect comfort meal for the winter! I make a similar dish but with mixed lentils (mostly red split masoor daal). This dish looks delicious and a nice click too!

Cham said...

I love massiyal plain without dhal but men in my house prefer this way!
Happy holidays!

Bong Mom said...

This is almost like spinach dal. Yellow Moong right ?

Happy New Year dear Miri to you, the little one, the Dad and everyone in your family

Miri said...

Yes S, its yellow moong - let me edit that!

bee said...

just posted this yesterday. happy new year to you, miri.

Sig said...

Dear Miri, wish you and yours a wonderful 2010 filled with love & joy!

Annarasa said...

Miri!! This is a dish that make very often too - its perfect for dinner.