Amaranth or Chaulai is a great vegetable to add to your diet, especially if you are Vegan or a Vegetarian. As a vegan, I am always on the lookout for foods that supplement the nutritions required by the body and I recently found lovely bundles of green and red amaranth at a local organic shop. Growing up in India I have had many types of leafy vegetables like Sarson, Bathua, Methi and Palak. Yet Amaranth was more commonly known for the seeds as they were primarily used during fasts.
Amaranth leaves are a super food in themselves. They are packed with vitamins and are a great source for vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, Niacin and minerals like calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, copper and many more! They provide roughage to the body, thereby supporting the smooth functioning of the digestive system. So get yourself fresh bunches of Amaranth and make a tasty and appetising saag.
- 2 bundles of fresh Amaranth leaves
- One large onion chopped
- 4 – 5 garlic pods
- 3 – 4 stems of fresh curry leaves
- 1 cup of chopped fresh coriander leaves
- 1 – 2 green chillies chopped
- 1 tea spoon turmeric
- 1 – 2 tea spoon red chilli powder
- 1 tea spoon mustard seeds
- 2 – 3 tablespoon oil
Wash the Amaranth leaves thoroughly, then roughly chop to include the stems. Keep this aside while you prepare the seasoning.
Heat oil in a large pan. When hot, add the mustard seeds and let them splutter. Then add the chopped garlic followed shortly by the curry leaves and enjoy watching them splutter and spread their fragrance! Saute a bit. Then add the onions and chillies and saute some more. Let this cook for a minute or two then add turmeric and red chilli powder. Mix this and add the chopped Amaranth. You can increase the flame while the Amaranth begins to wilt enough to fit nicely into the pan. Then reduce the flame and let this cook on a open pan. There is no need to cover this, just saute every now and again. After few minutes you will notice that the leaves and stalks seem to have softened and are looking more like a saag consistency. Let this cook till the stalks are soft and there is no excess water in the bottom of the pan. Now with the help of a wooden spoon mash the saag around the sides of the pan. This will aid in mashing the stalks to combine with the saag well. Stir this around till you are happy with how this looks. Now add the salt. This must always be added in the end as saag reduces a lot in quantity after cooking. Adjust salt and chilli to your taste and if you are happy you can turn off the flame. Now add the finely chopped coriander leaves (yes I actually used a full cup of coriander leaves but you can reduce the quantity if you like). Mix well and leave it in to merge with the saag.
This is it. Your Amaranth saag is ready. Serve with roti or rice and if you like, include dal also in the meal.That will make it traditionally Indian. Bon Appetit!
Ms Aditi Pathak is based in Singapore. Widely travelled and from a Services background, cooking is one of her many passions.