Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Chinese Spinach Curry (Thotakura)

Thotakura Palakura Tomato Kura:

The summer season for vegetables is coming into full swing here in Seattle. It’s overwhelming to see so many American as well as Asian vegetable varieties and it is getting impossible not to lose mind and money. The choice is endless and I love to be greedy. But, how many and how much one can buy, cook and eat? So, I am trying very hard to keep my cool at farmers’ markets and pick only the ingredients I’ve known from my childhood days that speak to my heart.

One fresh vegetable that I am enjoying to the fullest along with green brinjals is fresh amaranth. (Thotakura in Telugu). The label at the local farmers’ market says Chinese spinach or red spinach and one bunch is usually priced at one dollar. I have been buying this vegetable almost every week since May simply because I love the fresh amaranth taste. It is one of those “looks simple and yet yields results far outweighing the effort” kind of vegetable. In today’s recipe, another Nandyala classic, the fresh amaranth is paired with spinach and tomatoes. A stellar combination and a scrumptious curry!

Chinese Spinach, Red Spinach, Fresh Amaranth, Thotakura
Bunch of Fresh Chinese Spinach/Red Spinach/Amaranth/Thotakura ~ From Local Farmers Market


1 teaspoon peanut oil
¼ teaspoon each -cumin, mustard seeds and curry leaves
1 big onion – finely sliced, about one cup
2 tomatoes – finely chopped, about one cup
5 green chillies -finely chopped
1 teaspoon – ginger garlic paste
½ tsp each- turmeric and salt
1 bunch fresh amaranth (leaves and tender stems) – finely chopped, about 5 cups
1 bunch fresh spinach – finely chopped, about 5 cups
I have also added about ½ cup chori/adzuki beans (pre soaked in water overnight). This is my choice and optional. Chickpeas, kala chana etc also taste good.

Heat peanut oil in a wide skillet. Add cumin, mustard seeds and curry leaves and let them sizzle a moment before adding the sliced onion, tomato, green chillies and red beans. Also stir in the ginger-garlic paste, turmeric and salt.

Let everything stew together for about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the whole thing comes together into cooked soft mass with tender chori (adzuki) beans.

Now add the fresh amaranth and spinach. Stir to mix and cook covered on medium-high for about five minutes until the leaves wilt. Remove the lid and cook another five minutes. Turn off the heat. Let the curry sit for few minutes so that the flavors could mix well.

Serve the curry warm with chapatis or sorghum roti and a cup of yogurt plus fresh fruit for a complete meal.

Chapatis with Fresh Amaranth-Spinach-Tomato Curry

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra,Red Beans (Chori),Spinach,Thotakura (Amaranth) (Monday July 2, 2007 at 9:12 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Chana Dal~Amaranth Curry from Nandyala

Sanagaballa Thotakura :

Fresh Amaranth Leaves (Red Spinach, Thotakura)

Regional Cuisines of India (RCI), a fresh food blogging event is started by Lakshmik of Veggie Cuisine last month. I loved this event idea very much. Great opportunity for those of us who would like to move away from restaurant created regional cuisine constraints. For example, stereotypes always associate dosa, sambar, green beans-coconut curry/poriyal and laddus with South India. The four southern sister states of India, share these. They are the Kohinoors, I agree but explore further, the chance to write/learn about the khajana of gems that sustain individual home plates are plenty. Certain recipes are much hard to find than others and that location is different for every enthusiast. You never quite know where you will find that great regional gem recipe that speaks to you. That’s why I am attracted to this concept very much. For this month, RCI is celebrating Andhra Cuisine and is hosted by lovely Latha of Masala Magic.

Although I am from Andhra Pradesh, India, I don’t dare to speak for all Andhra vasi. What can I do is to share my family recipes from Nandyala. My mother and father, my in-laws, they are all from this town and surrounding villages. The relations we have in this town go back at least 4 generations. The roots are deep. Nandyala may be a tiny town in Andhra but it sparkles like an electric dream at my blog, Mahanandi. Vijay and I are the first ones in the family who moved so far away from Nandyala. I think, that explains why the pull is so strong for us.

RCI provides me another chance to share Nandyala bounty. One special recipe is Chana dal-Amaranth Curry. The ingredients are all from around here (Seattle), but the method is from Nandyala. Fresh amaranth leaves and chana dal saut�ed with onions, grated coconut and green chillies make a deeply satisfying curry that tastes great with sorghum roti or with chapatis. Very tasty, very much Nandyala! Another must try for amaranth fans.

Chopped Amaranth Leaves and Chana Dal (Pre soaked in water)


I bunch fresh amaranth – washed and finely chopped, about 2 quarts
Half cup chana dal – soaked in water for about 2 hours
1 jumbo red onion – finely chopped
2 tablespoons of coconut and 5 green chillies – grind to smooth

Popu or tadka ingredients –
1 tablespoon peanut oil
¼ teaspoon minced garlic, cumin and mustard seeds

Heat oil in a wide skillet. Add and toast garlic, cumin and mustard seeds.

Add and saute onion and chana dal on medium heat for about 5 minutes. Onions become soft and chana dal turns to crisp.

At this stage, stir in the chopped amaranth leaves, along with coconut-green chilli paste, turmeric. Mix once and cook on medium-high, covered for couple of minutes until the leaves wilt. Increase the heat. Remove the lid and cook another couple of minutes until the water evaporates from the skillet. Sprinkle salt in the end, mix and serve hot.

The soft nutty chana dal plus potent amaranth makes a great combination and tastes quite good when eaten with sorghum roti or with chapatis.

Sanagaballa Thotakura with Chapati (Chana Dal Amaranth Curry with Chapati)
~ A recipe from Nandyala to Latha’s RCI Andhra Cuisine Event

Recipe Source: Amma

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra,Chana Dal,Thotakura (Amaranth) (Tuesday May 8, 2007 at 10:37 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Dazzling Dals ~ Fresh Amaranth Dal

Thotakura Pappu:

In a cake culture, the main ingredients, flour, sugar and butter remain constant. By changing just one or two ingredients that add special touch to the cakes, they are given different names. Ex: If walnuts are added, the cake is named walnut cake, with bananas – banana cake, and the list goes on. The same thing applies to dals (pappu) as well. The protein part is constant, and the side ingredients that change with the seasons give us abundant varieties of dals. This amaranth flavored dal is one of them, devised by homecooks of Andhra, to make a dent in the mother lode of fresh amaranth that appear during summer time. Not only fresh leaves, tender stalks are also used in cooking. Ideal dal for a waste not, want not cook. Makes a nutritious meal when combined with rice.

Fresh Amaranth Leaf, Toor Dal and Tomato


Take about one cup of toor dal and 4 cups of finely chopped fresh amaranth – leaves and tender stalks together.

Add one each – tomato and onion (cut into chunks). Also stir in about 8 to 10 finely chopped small Indian variety green chillies, quarter teaspoon of turmeric and a tablespoon of tamarind.

Add about 2 cups of water. Mix once and cook covered until the dal reaches fall-apart stage, stirring between. Or simply pressure cook.

Add half teaspoon of salt and mash the dal coarsely.

In a wide vessel, heat about a tablespoon of ghee or oil. Do the popu or tadka = add and toast quarter teaspoon each – minced garlic, curry leaves, urad dal, cumin and mustard seeds in the order mentioned. When mustard seeds start to jump around, add this popu or tadka to the mashed dal. Mix and serve hot with rice or with chapati.

Amaranth Dal (Thotakura Pappu) ~ for JFI: WBB-Greens

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra,Thotakura (Amaranth),Toor Dal (Tuesday April 24, 2007 at 10:04 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Fresh Amaranth ~ Green Brinjal Curry

(Thota kura-Poluru Vankaya Kura)

I have written about a type of small, green colored brinjals called Poluru Vankayalu that’s available in Nandyala region. My mother prepares a special curry with green brinjals and red tinged pretty looking amaranth leaves. Fresh ginger is also added. The combination creates a deep flavored curry, which has a unique, indescribable taste. This curry, rice/chapati, dal and yogurt are the routine fare for us. But today, I have prepared pasta in tomato based sauce and added the curry before serving. Good meal.

Reddish Green Fresh Amaranth Leaves and Green Brinjals (Thota kura and Poluru Vankaya)


Prep work:
1 bunch fresh amaranth -pluck leaves and tender stalks, wash and chop finely.
12 green brinjals – wash, remove the petals and cut lengthwise into thin pieces. Add them to salted water
1 Rupee (dollar) coin sized ginger and 4 green chillies – grind to fine consistency

1 tsp of oil, ¼ tsp each- minced garlic, curry leaves, cumin and mustard seeds
Heat oil in a wide skillet. Add and toast garlic, curry leaves, cumin and mustard seeds.

Remove from water and add green brinjal pieces to the hot skillet. When added to skillet, they have to sizzle, so keep the heat high. Stir fry for few minutes. When they are turning to soft, add finely chopped amaranth leaves. Also sprinkle the grinded ginger-green chilli, a pinch of turmeric and quarter teaspoon of salt. Mix and cook on medium-high heat for about 3 to 5 minutes, until the leaves wilt and curry comes together. Serve hot with rice, chapati or experiment as pasta topping like I did.

Fresh Amaranth ~ Green Brinjal Curry (Thota kura-Poluru Vankaya Kura)

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra,Thotakura (Amaranth),Vankaya (Brinjal) (Wednesday April 18, 2007 at 5:28 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Curry with Fresh Amaranth (Thotakura)

Fresh Amaranth (Thotakura) Leaves, In Different Stages of Development ~ for JFI-WBB: Greens

“The People of The World Shall Eat Amaranth” says a Richard Thomas and I agree.

Amaranth, like the temple Amarnath, has a devoted following. From India to Inca, amaranth is loved and praised for its nutritional benefits. If there is a vegetable valedictorian in green leafy vegetable world, then amaranth must be it. In our hometown, Nandyala in India, bunches of fresh amaranth leaves are a common sight at ritu bazaars (farmer markets) and sold under the name of Thotakura or Koyagura. Translation “garden leaf”. Just one seed is enough, amaranth spreads and makes the garden look vibrant with its beautiful red tinged-green leaves, so the name. Here, they are sold as Amaranth/Red Spinach/Chinese Spinach and available in most of the Indian and Southeast Asian grocery shops, during spring and early summer.

Amaranth (Thotakura) leaves start out green when they are tiny. As they grow, the red streak begins to appear and becomes prominent, almost covering the entire leaf in mature leaves. The leaves are stronger than regular spinach and on cooking do not ooze much water. The flavor of cooked amaranth leaves is more prominent and way better than that of spinach or other similar greens. Traditionally we prepare curries and also add the leaves to flavor dals. A quick stir fry, together with garlic, onions and green chilli-coconut powder is the popular method of cooking. And the curry is often served as a side dish to rice and dal, or chapati and dal. A cup of yogurt on the side makes this combination a complete meal for us.

Chopped Amaranth Leaves, Green Chilli-Coconut (Grinded and Shaped into a Round) and Onions


1. A bunch of fresh amaranth (thotakura), medium sized onion and garlic clove.
Pluck the leaves and tender stalks. Wash and drain. Finely chop the leaves, stalks and also onion and garlic to small pieces.

2. Four green chillies and a tablespoon of fresh or dried grated coconut.
Grind green chillies, coconut powder and a pinch of salt to fine consistency in a blender/spice grinder or in mortar with a pestle.

3. A teaspoon oil and quarter teaspoon each- urad dal, cumin & mustard seeds.
Heat oil in a wide skillet. Add and toast urad dal, cumin and mustard seeds, in that order.

4. Add garlic and onion. Stir fry to soft.

5. Add finely chopped leaves and stalks. Also, sprinkle green chilli-coconut powder and turmeric. On medium-high, cook until the leaves wilt. Sprinkle salt to taste and mix. Cook another couple of minutes and serve hot.

Amaranth (Thotakura) Curry with Chapati and Plantain Moong Dal

Fresh amaranth:
Nutritional Benefits
In Indian languages – Thotakura, Koyagura (Telugu), Cheera (Malayalam), Chaulli or Chowlii Chauli, Chavleri Sag (Hindi, Punjabi)
In Other languages – Red spinach, Rau Den, Chinese spinach, Hon-toi-moi, Yin choy, Eeen choy, Hsien tsai

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra,Thotakura (Amaranth) (Monday April 16, 2007 at 8:28 am- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi:

Thotakura (Amaranth, Red Spinach)

Thotakura (Amaranth, Red Spinach)
Thotakura (Amaranth, Red Spinach) Leaf ~ for this week’s Indian Kicthen

Traditional way to select and store wheat grains for the whole year
– from Pune, India by Pooja of My Creative Ideas.


Great news about ‘Cooking at Home with Pedatha’:

The book has won the Gourmand Award for Best Vegetarian Cookbook in the World ~ 2006.

Congratulations Pedatha, Pratibha and Jigyasa!


Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Indian Ingredients,Indian Kitchen,Thotakura (Amaranth),Zen (Personal) (Sunday April 15, 2007 at 4:36 pm- permalink)
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The New Home of Mahanandi: