There is nothing more comforting, wholesome and nutritious than a bowl of rice and dal cooked with greens. Simple, honest food at its best is what I’d describe lentils cooked with greens. It was thotakura pappu and beetroot vepudu (stir-fry) with rice for lunch today.
Thotakura aka amaranth leaves are available in Vizag almost all year round and regular at our home. These fantastic power packed nutritious greens are usually used in dal, vepudu and pulusu preparations.
The proteinous lentil and iron rich greens combine, thotakura pappu, is an earthy, tangy, healthy-tasting dal dish, which calls for the use of tamarind, other than onion, garlic and green chillis. This dal might lack visual appeal but let me tell you, its one of the best tasting pappu akkura (lentil-greens) of Andhra cuisine.
Thotakura Pappu Recipe
Prep & Cooking: 40 mts
Serves 4-5 persons
3/4 cup tur dal (kandi pappu) pressure cook until soft and mash (shouldn’t be watery)
2 cups tightly packed thotakura leaves (not the stalks)
1 big onion finely chopped
4-5 green chillis slit length wise
1/4 tsp turmeric pwd
lemon sized tamarind (soak in a cup of warm water and extract)
1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp split black gram dal
1/2 tsp channa dal
4-5 dried red chillis (tear into pieces)
5-6 garlic flakes crushed
10-12 curry leaves
1 Heat oil in a heavy bottomed vessel, add mustard seeds, let them pop, add the cumin seeds, split gram dal and channa dal and let them brown. Next add the garlic, red chillis, curry leaves, chopped onions and green chillis and sauté till onions turn slightly pink.
2 Add the thotakura and stir fry for 3-4 mts. Add the turmeric pwd and salt and combine. Cover with lid and cook till the greens cook (approx 7-8 mts). Using the back of the ladle, mash the contents slightly.
3 Add the cooked and mashed dal to the onion-thotakura mixture. Cook for another 4-5 mts on medium heat.
4 Add the tamarind extract and combine well. Cook for another 9-10 mts or till the rawness of tamarind disappears. It should not be a watery dal but have more of a thick consistency dal.
5 Serve with white rice or hot rotis.
Alternately, you can separately pressure cook the onions, greens, garlic and green chillis and combine with the mashed dal and follow the rest of the procedure.
Read more about Amaranth