Everyone knows the health benefits of greens-I don't have to enumerate them here. But what if you combined the goodness of greens with the strength of proteins? The nutritional points would shoot through the roof! So here we have a leafy green paired with eggs. If you attempt this with spinach leaves (paalak), it becomes a watery mess because spinach leaves ooze out a lot of water. This is commonly made in Kerala with a variety of greens which in Malayalam is called "Cheera". Although traditionally shredded coconut is added at the end, I think eggs were an addition that is more common to the North of Kerala or Malabar region. In English, this leaf is called Amaranthus or amaranth (to get a clearer picture, click here and here).
Even though this is a dish I grew up having, in my home now it's my husband who is the official specialist for this dish. There's something to be said about the warmth and togetherness of cooking side by side with your spouse. So for lunch the other day, when we called some friends over for an informal Kerala-style lunch, my husband made this stir fry while I made some pepper chicken (recipe to follow) and dal tadka (for recipe, click here) to go with plain rice (which hubby spruced up by throwing in some coriander leaves and fenugreek seeds with the water!).
To serve 4
- 4 bunches of Amaranthus greens (you normally get this in bunches and each one reduces to half the amount on cooking. Cut out the roots, wash well with some turmeric and salt, and chop finely. Keep in a colander to drain off excess water).
- 1 sprig curry leaves
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 large onion, chopped fine
- 1 green chilly, chopped fine
- A pinch of turmeric
- A dash of freshly ground pepper
- 2 eggs
- Salt to taste
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- In a pan, heat the oil and throw in the curry leaves and mustard seeds.
- When the seeds sizzle, add the onions and green chillies and fry on low heat until translucent.
- Now add in the chopped greens and turmeric and stir around to mix everything well.
- Cover and cook on low heat until the leaves have shrunk and the water has evaporated.
- Now make a well in the center and crack the eggs into it. Wait for a minute until the eggs coagulate, then scramble them up, mixing with the greens.
- Now add salt and pepper to taste.
- Stir fry, adding a little more oil, until it gets a little crispy.
- Take off the heat and serve with rice. This also goes well with roti and dal.
If you want to keep this purely vegetarian, just substitute the eggs for fresh coconut (grind 1/4th cup fresh coconut in your blender with half a teaspoon of jeera (cumin) seeds and a pinch of turmeric). Add at the same stage as the eggs, making a well in the center and mixing through.