Spinach Keerai (South Indian Spinach Stew) Recipe
Welcome to my kitchen! Today, I’m excited to share with you my recipe for Spinach Keerai, a delicious South Indian spinach stew that will warm your soul and tantalize your taste buds. This recipe is a favorite in my family, and I’m confident that it will become a staple in your home as well.
Spinach Keerai, also known as spinach kootu or spinach masiyal, is a classic South Indian dish that combines the goodness of spinach with lentils and a flavorful coconut base. This dish is not only healthy and nutritious, but it’s also easy to make and budget-friendly. Plus, it’s vegan and gluten-free, making it a perfect option for those with dietary restrictions.
I’ve been making this recipe for years, and I’ve perfected it to make it the best spinach keerai you’ll ever try. So, grab your apron and let’s get started!
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
If you’re looking for a hearty and healthy dish that’s packed with flavor, then you’ll love this Spinach Keerai recipe. This South Indian Spinach Stew is perfect for those who want to try something new and exciting in the kitchen. Here are a few reasons why you’ll love this recipe:
Firstly, it’s incredibly easy to make. With just a few simple ingredients, you can create a delicious and nutritious meal that will satisfy your hunger and taste buds. You don’t have to be an expert chef to make this dish, and it can be made in just under 30 minutes.
Secondly, this recipe is incredibly versatile. There are so many ways to customize it to your liking. You can add more spices or adjust the consistency to make it thicker or thinner. You can also experiment with different types of lentils to add more protein and texture.
Thirdly, this Spinach Keerai recipe is a great way to get your daily dose of greens. Spinach is loaded with essential vitamins and minerals, including iron and calcium, which are crucial for a healthy diet. This dish is a great way to incorporate more leafy greens into your meals.
Fourthly, it’s a vegan and gluten-free dish, making it perfect for those with dietary restrictions. This dish is also low in fat and calories, making it a great option for those who are watching their weight.
Lastly, this Spinach Keerai recipe is a traditional South Indian dish that is loved by many. It has a rich and complex flavor profile that is sure to impress your family and friends. This dish is perfect for a cozy night in or for entertaining guests.
Overall, this Spinach Keerai recipe is a must-try for anyone who loves Indian cuisine or is looking for a healthy and delicious meal. So, what are you waiting for? Give it a try and see for yourself why this recipe is so special!
Let’s dive into the ingredient list for this Spinach Keerai recipe. You will need the following:
- 1 cup of cooked moong dal (split yellow lentils)
- 1 and 1/2 cups of frozen spinach
- 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 2 tablespoons of cornstarch
- 1/4 cup of unsweetened coconut
- 1/3 cup of water
- 1 tablespoon of Urad Dal (split and skinned black lentils)
- 1 teaspoon of black mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds
Most of these ingredients are pantry staples in an Indian household. You can find them in any Indian grocery store or online.
The Recipe How-To
Now that we’ve covered the ingredients, let’s dive into the recipe. Spinach Keerai is a simple vegan curry made with spiced coconut base tempered with Urad Dal, Black Mustard Seeds, and Cumin Seeds. Here’s how to make it:
- 1 cup cooked Moong Dal
- 1 cup frozen spinach
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 cup water
- Begin by cooking the Moong Dal in a pressure cooker or Instant Pot with 2 cups of water and 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder. Cook for 10 minutes on high pressure and then allow the pressure to release naturally.
- In a pan, add chopped spinach and 1/2 cup of water. Cover and cook for 5 minutes until the spinach is tender.
- Add the cooked Moong Dal to the pan with the spinach and stir well.
- In a separate pan, dry roast the Urad Dal until golden brown. Add Black Mustard Seeds and Cumin Seeds to the pan and roast until they start to pop.
- Add the roasted spices to the pan with the Moong Dal and spinach.
- In a blender, blend the unsweetened coconut, remaining turmeric powder, and cornstarch with 1/2 cup of water until smooth. Add the coconut mixture to the pan with the Moong Dal and spinach.
- Add salt to taste and simmer for 5-10 minutes until the curry thickens.
- Serve hot with rice or roti.
This recipe is a great way to enjoy spinach in a delicious and nutritious way. The combination of Moong Dal and spinach creates a hearty and satisfying stew that is perfect for a cold winter day. It’s also a great way to get your daily dose of greens. Enjoy!
Substitutions and Variations
While this Spinach Keerai recipe is delicious as is, there are a few ingredient substitutions and variations you can try to mix things up.
– Lentils: Instead of using moong dal, you can use other lentils such as toor dal or chana dal. Each type of lentil will add a slightly different flavor and texture to the dish.
– Spinach: If you don’t have frozen spinach on hand, you can use fresh spinach. Just make sure to thoroughly wash and chop the spinach before adding it to the dish.
– Coconut: If you don’t have unsweetened coconut, you can use coconut milk instead. This will give the dish a creamier texture and a slightly sweeter flavor.
– Spiciness: If you prefer a spicier dish, you can add more black mustard seeds and cumin seeds to the tempering or add some red chili powder to the dish.
– Vegan: This recipe is already vegan, but if you want to make it even more plant-based, you can skip the cornstarch and use a different thickener such as arrowroot powder or tapioca starch.
– Variations: There are many different variations of Spinach Keerai that you can try. For example, you can make Keerai Kootu by adding lentils to the dish or Keerai Masiyal by making it into a mashed spinach dish. You can also try adding other vegetables such as potatoes or carrots to the dish.
No matter how you choose to make this Spinach Keerai recipe, it’s sure to be a delicious and healthy addition to your meal rotation.
Serving and Pairing
This spinach keerai recipe is a versatile dish that can be served in many ways. Traditionally, it is served as a side dish with rice, but it can also be enjoyed as a main course with some bread or naan.
For a complete meal, pair this spinach keerai with some steamed white rice, topped with a dollop of ghee or clarified butter. You can also serve it with some roti or paratha, which are Indian bread types.
If you’re looking for some additional flavors and textures, you can add some crunchy papadum or pickles. Raita, which is a yogurt-based sauce, also pairs well with this dish. The coolness of the raita complements the spiciness of the spinach keerai.
For a healthier twist, you can serve this dish with some quinoa or brown rice. This will add some extra protein and fiber to your meal.
Overall, the spinach keerai recipe is a hearty and flavorful dish that can be served in many ways. Its versatility makes it a great addition to any meal, whether it be a simple lunch or a fancy dinner party.
Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating
Spinach Keerai is a perfect dish to make ahead of time or store for leftovers. I often prepare a large batch of it and store it in the refrigerator for up to three days. To reheat, simply transfer the stew to a pot and warm it up over medium heat. You can also reheat it in the microwave, but be sure to cover it with a lid or plastic wrap to prevent any splatters.
If you want to make this dish ahead of time, you can prepare it up to the point where you add the cornstarch slurry. Store the stew in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two days. When ready to serve, reheat the stew and add the cornstarch slurry to thicken the sauce.
For longer storage, you can also freeze the spinach keerai. Allow the stew to cool completely and transfer it to an airtight container or a freezer-friendly bag. The stew can be frozen for up to three months. When ready to serve, thaw the stew in the refrigerator overnight and reheat it using the same methods as mentioned above.
One thing to keep in mind while storing the spinach keerai is that the spinach tends to release water over time, making the stew more liquidy. To combat this, you can add more cornstarch slurry or cook the stew for a few extra minutes to thicken it up.
Overall, Spinach Keerai is a versatile dish that can be made ahead of time, stored for leftovers, and reheated easily. Follow these storage and reheating tips to enjoy this delicious South Indian spinach stew even after a few days.
Tips for Perfect Results
Achieving the perfect Spinach Keerai is not rocket science, but it requires some attention to detail. Here are some tips to help you make the best version of this South Indian spinach stew.
1. Use fresh or frozen spinach
Fresh spinach leaves are always the best option for Spinach Keerai, but if you don’t have fresh spinach, frozen spinach is a good substitute. Make sure to thaw the frozen spinach before using it in the recipe.
2. Cook the lentils thoroughly
Undercooked lentils can ruin the texture of the Spinach Keerai. Make sure to cook the lentils until they are soft and tender.
3. Tempering is key
The tempering or tadka is the process of adding spices to hot oil to release their flavors. It is a crucial step in Indian cooking, and it is no different for Spinach Keerai. Make sure to temper the black mustard seeds, cumin seeds, and Urad Dal until they turn golden brown before adding them to the stew.
4. Adjust the spiciness and saltiness to your liking
The recipe calls for a moderate amount of spice and salt, but you can adjust them according to your preference. If you like it spicier, add more chili powder or green chilies. If you like it saltier, add more salt.
5. Don’t overcook the spinach
Overcooking the spinach can make it lose its vibrant green color and turn mushy. Cook the spinach until it is just wilted, and then add it to the stew.
6. Use coconut milk for a creamy texture
For a creamier texture, you can add coconut milk to the Spinach Keerai. It gives a rich flavor and balances the spiciness of the stew.
7. Serve hot with rice or bread
Spinach Keerai is a versatile dish that can be served with rice, bread, or even as a side dish. Serve it hot and enjoy the flavors of this delicious South Indian spinach stew.
By following these tips, you can make the perfect Spinach Keerai that is flavorful, healthy, and comforting.
In conclusion, this Spinach Keerai recipe is a must-try for anyone who loves South Indian cuisine or is looking to expand their taste buds. The combination of lentils and spinach cooked in a coconut base tempered with aromatic spices is truly a heavenly experience for your taste buds.
Not only is this dish delicious, it is also packed with nutrients and is a great vegan option. The versatility of this recipe also allows for substitutions and variations to cater to individual preferences.
Whether you are looking for a hearty main dish or a flavorful side, this Spinach Keerai recipe is sure to impress. So, give it a try and enjoy a taste of South India in the comfort of your own home.
Spinach Keerai (South Indian Spinach Stew) Recipe
- 10 ounces frozen spinach
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup cooked toor dal or 1 cup cooked mung dal
- 2 tablespoons grated unsweetened coconut
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 1 dried red chili
- 3/4 teaspoon rice flour or 3/4 teaspoon cornstarch
- 1 -2 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1/4 teaspoon black mustard seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon Urad Dal (optional)
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- Cook greens in the wok, adding water if necessary.
- Add salt and turmeric powder.
- Add dal and heat.
- Grind coconut, cumin, chili, and rice flower until fine. Add water if needed so it isn't chunky.
- Add ground spices to spinach/dal mix.
- Adding water if necessary, grind (with blender or immersion blender) until parts are a puree and parts still look like bits of leaves. You don't want a smooth paste. Consistency should be like a smoothie, only with leaf bits.
- In a small pan, heat the oil. Add mustard seeds and heat until they pop and turn grey.
- Pour oil and mustard seeds on the keerai, stir and serve.
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Lucy is a mom who loves to cook up a storm. She enjoys discovering, collecting, and experimenting with delicious, healthy recipes for her blog. With her passion for cooking, Lucy is always coming up with her own unique creations to share with the world.