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Recipes |Four Easy & Healthy Indian Curries with Amaranth leaves, Lentils and Bean Sprouts

1 April 2014 8 Comments

Healthy lentils, beans and greens Indian curries

While the lentils cooked, I started chopping the red Amaranth on my cutting board, watching the two tiny squirrels play catch-me-if-you-can on the mango tree outside.

As I stood there silent, my mind began to wander and I started reminiscing about my childhood days…yet again.

When in school, I and my brother disliked leafy foods in any form. So much so that our school lunchboxes never saw any vegetables other than potatoes and Okra for as long as I remember.

Who on Earth loves eating this laal chawli bhaji (red Amaranth) mom. It looks so yuck?” I would make faces in vain after seeing that slimy mass on my plate, hoping that she would stop making the same…someday.

A long angry look from mom and we would continue to shovel that slimy Chawli bhaji without uttering another word.

My food habits changed completely when I was away from home for higher studies. Bored of eating canteen food, I longed for mom’s simple food…yes, even that slimy Chawli bhaji (red Amaranth curry) every single day.

Growing up, I started taking food seriously and became more interested in the effect of a diet higher in greens and natural food products.

I introduced more of natural and simple Indian food to both my children at a very early age. And now when I see my son enjoying many of these so called fuss-foods for children, I feel a sense of achievement.

My daughter..well, I still have hope :)

Mom used to cook red amaranth mostly with green gram or sometimes she would just temper it with cumin seeds, a little raw rice and a dried red chilly.

Amaranth leaves (chawli ki bhaji)  is a regular feature in my kitchen now and I make good use of all the recipes handed over by my mom (west India) and my mother-in-law (south India) with a few changes now and then to suit both, my cooking time and taste.

Here are a few recipes of Amaranth and lentils that I cook at home regularly. Most of these recipes are quick and easy to prepare as my cooking starts quite early in the morning so that I can pack my hubby’s lunchbox before 6.30 am.

1. Red Amaranth in assorted Lentils, beans and grain sprouts

Healthy lentils, beans and greens Indian curries

(Serve 3)

  • 3 cups tightly packed chopped red Amaranth leaves
  • 1 cup assorted beans, lentils, grain
  • 1 Onion
  • 3 Garlic pearls
  • 1’ ginger
  • 1 tsp. Lemon juice
  • Water as required
  • Salt to taste 

Spices;

  • 2 tsp. coriander powder
  • 1 tsp. red chilly powder
  • 1/2 mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp. Turmeric powder
  • A pinch of asafoetida powder

Healthy Indian Curries with lentils, beans and greens

Method; I have used an assortment of spouted lentils, beans, seeds and grains for this recipe which is readily available in my farmer’s market.

The list of assorted sprouts I use in this recipe are;

  • Whole green gram (moong dal)
  • Black-eyed beans (chawli)
  • Horse gram (kulaith)
  • Fenugreek seeds (methidana)
  • Black chickpeas (kala channa)
  • Whole black gram (urad dal)
  • Kideny beans (rajma
  • Wheat Berries

I love the extremely chewy texture of wheat berry sprouts in this assorted pack.

Wash and chop the Amaranth leaves (Chawli bhaji). Peel and chop onion, garlic and ginger finely.

Add all the sprouts, chopped onion, ginger, garlic and turmeric powder in a pressure cooker and cook for 5 whistles. Remove from heat and let it cool before opening it.

Heat oil in a frying pan and crackle mustard and cumin seeds in it. Add asafoetida powder (hing) and coriander powder in it and switch off the heat.

Add chopped Amaranth leaves and the above tempering in the pressure cooker, close the lid and cook for one more whistle.

Cool the pressure cooker, add lemon juice and serve the spicy sprouts with Indian flat breads or plain rice.

2. Assorted Lentils, Beans and grain Sprouts Curry

Healthy Indian Curries with lentils, beans and greens

Ingredients;

(serves 4)

  • 2 cups assorted lentil, beans and grain
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 3-4 garlic pearls
  • 1’ginger
  • 2 tbsp. yogurt
  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice
  • Salt to taste
  • Water as required
  • Coriander leaves for garnish

Spices;

  • 2 tsp. coriander powder
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. chilly powder
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garam masala powder
  • A pinch of asafoetida powder

Healthy Indian Curries with lentils, beans and greens

Method; I used the same assorted lentil, beans and grains for this recipe. 

Wash and rinse lentils, beans and grain you are using for this recipe and tie in a muslin cloth for sprouting. Sprinkle a little water and leave the cloth in a cool place for atleast a day or two to get sprouts.

Peel onion, ginger and garlic. Grate onion and tomato with a garter. Crush garlic pearls and ginger or chop them finely.

Add grated onion-tomato, crushed garlic-ginger, turmeric powder, sprouted lentils, beans, grain and about 3 cups of water in a pressure cooker and cook for 5-6 whistles.

Mix garam masala, chilly powder, coriander powder, salt, in yogurt.

Heat oil in a pan and crackle cumin seeds. Add asafoetida powder and yogurt mix in it. Sauté for 2 minutes on medium heat and pour this over cooked sprouts. Check the quantity of water in the recipe, add extra water if you want it to be more liquid.

Add lemon juice and chopped coriander leaves in the sprout curry and serve.

3. Amaranth in Coconut gravy aka Keerai Kootu

Healthy Indian Curries with lentils, beans and greens

This version of lentils with Amaranth leaves or Mulai Keerai as called in Tamil in coconut is popular in South India. My mother-in-law follows the traditional way of cooking it by simmering the tamarind sauce for a while till the raw smell of tamarind disappears and then she adds the chopped greens in it. The greens are cooked till they become soft and mushy after which boiled pigeon peas is added in it.

Tamarind and coconut in this recipe makes the Amaranth taste slightly different from other versions cooked of the same in North India.

I normally avoid overcooking greens in lentils which makes it slimy and too mushy. I boil and store Pigeon pea in an air tight container a day before to reduce my cooking time the next morning and add just temper my lentil with chopped greens and a few spices.

Ingredients;

(serves 3)

  • 3 cups chopped green Amaranth leaves
  • 1/2 cup split Pigeon Peas
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 1 tbsp. tamarind paste
  • Salt to taste
  • Water as required

Ground to paste;

  • 1/4 cup grated coconut
  • 1 green chilly
  • 1 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp. raw rice
  • 5-6 peppercorn

Spices;

  • 1 tsp. mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp Bengal gram
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 dry red chilly

Healthy Indian Curries with lentils, beans and greens

Method; Wash Amaranth leaves and split Pigeon peas (Toovar dal) with plain water.

Chop Amaranth greens.

Cook Pigeon peas in a pressure cooker for three whistles, let it cool.

Healthy Indian Curries with lentils, beans and greens

Soak a small ball of tamarind in 3 tbsp. water to get thick paste. I used store bought Tamarind paste here.

Grind coconut, green chilly, cumin seeds, peppercorn (kali-mirch) and raw rice into fine paste.

Heat oil in a pressure cooker and crackle mustard seeds and cumin seeds in it. Add Bengal gram, red chilly, tamarind paste and 1/ 2 cup of water in it. Let it simmer for 4-5 minutes on high heat.

Reduce heat add chopped Amaranth greens, boiled Pigeon peas, ground coconut paste and cook for just one whistle.

Cool the cooker completely before opening. Serve this healthy Amaranth green in coconut and pigeon peas with flatbread or plain rice.

4. Amaranth leaves in Green Gram

Healthy Indian Curries with lentils, beans and greens

Ingredients;

(serves 3)

  • 3 cups chopped green Amaranth leaves
  • 1/2 cup split green gram
  • 1 onion
  • 1 tomato
  • 2-3 garlic pearls
  • 1’ ginger piece
  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • Salt to taste
  • Water as required

Spices;

  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp red chilly powder
  • 1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
  • A pinch of asafoetida

Healthy Indian Curries with lentils, beans and greens

Method; Wash Amaranth greens and split green gram (dhuli moong) in plain water.

Chop Amaranth leaves.

Peel and chop onion, ginger and garlic finely.

Healthy Indian Curries with lentils, beans and greens

Heat oil in a pressure cooker and crackle cumin seeds. Reduce heat and add asafetida powder, red chilly powder, turmeric powder, salt and chopped onion, ginger and garlic in it. Saute for 2 minutes.

Add green gram, chopped Amaranth leaves, about three cups of water in the pressure cooker and cook for 4 whistles.

Let the pressure cooker cool completely before opening. Add lemon juice and serve this healthy Amaranth greens in green gram with flat-breads or rice.

Healthy Indian Curries with lentils, beans and greens

These quick, easy to cook, protein-packed healthy curries with lentils, beans, grains, greens and flavorful spices is a wonderful addition to my Indian recipes.

Check the Glossary page  to search for the English & Hindi names of various foods and ingredients used in cooking,

Notes;

  1. Add 1/2 cup of coconut milk in the mixed lentil and beans curry for a wonderful creamy version.
  2. One or two tablespoons of Kasuri Methi (dry fenugreek leaves) in all the dishes would take the recipes to another level.
  3. If you love strong garlic taste in your Indian curries (subji), chop a few garlic pearls and saute in ghee till they turn brown. Add this tempering to the curries just before serving.
  4. Check the seasoning and water quantity according to your taste and wish.
  5. Adjust the quantity of water according to your need. Reduce water and the recipe could be served as an accompaniment to main meal. More water will make the recipes go well with plain steamed rice or Indian flat-breads.
  6. A dash of cracked pepper added to the recipes gives a wonderful flavor.

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8 Comments »

  • Nandita said:

    I so loved the recipes sanjeeta. I will be trying all of them soon :)

  • veenashankar said:

    very healthy dishes.. looks so yummy

  • Sujatha said:

    Well compliled and beautifully narrated.

  • Deepa said:

    Delicious and healthy looking sprouts preparation. Excellent pics as well.
    Deepa

  • Hari Chandana said:

    Super healthy and delicious curries.. awesome photographs as always :)

  • Sonal said:

    Nice healthy and simple way of cooking greens. Liked them all.

  • Joyti said:

    Wow, such a unique curry! And so healthy, yum!
    Joyti recently posted..Pistachio Yogurt CakeMy Profile

  • rebecca said:

    wow looks so good and healthy
    rebecca recently posted..Green Castle Estate JamaicaMy Profile

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