Chaulai (marathi) or amaranth greens are readily available now in Pune. The tedious part is cleaning and plucking the leaves but its a necessary chore. Once you have that done, the next steps are relatively easy. The traditional way of making this subji in our household is a sautee with finely chopped onions. These leaves have a distinct strong flavor and the onion adds some sweetness and mellows it out a bit. It is also common in Maharashtrian cooking to add jaggery or brown sugar to take away the bitterness.
Greens cook down a lot and two big bunches generally become a small bowl. Palak corn or spinach with corn is another of our favourites and I thought about using corn here too. This not only helps bulk it up quantity wise and fibre wise, but the natural sweetness of the corn takes away some of the bitterness without adding too much sugar. The method used is pretty simple and even simple seasonings such as some cumin/coriander powder and fresh garlic will go great with this. The recipe is as follows -
2 large bunches Amaranth greens or Chaulai
2 medium onions chopped
2-3 large cloves of garlic chopped
1 cup fresh or frozen sweet corn
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 pinch hing or asfoetida
1 tsp mustard seeds and/or cumin seeds
1 Tbsp light oil
salt to taste
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp any curry powder or garam masala of choice
1-2 Tbsp tomato sauce or tomato paste
1) Pluck the leaves along with fine stems, discard thicker part of stems from the greens. Chop and soak in huge tub of water.
2) Pull out greens and place in colander. Discard the water along with the mud that will have settled down. Repeat this process until the greens are clean and no dirt settles down or water does not look murky.
3) Heat oil and make a traditional tadka – for the uninitiated – Heat the oil in a wok. As it smokes, add the mustard and/or cumin seeds. You can use either or both. Add the pinch of hing, then turmeric and cayenne. Immediately add the onion to avoid burning of the spices.
4) Saute onion until slightly softened. Add the greens gradually and keep stirring. The greens will cook down quickly.
5) Cover with a lid and keep sauteing until the greens darken in color and are cooked.
6) Add corn, curry poweder or garam masala, tomato sauce or paste and stir it all together.
7) Cover again and let it all cook together.
8) Add salt and pinch of sugar at the very end. The greens will have completely reduced by now and you will get a better idea of how much salt is really needed.
9) Serve hot with Roti or tortillas or pita bread, or as a side dish with a main grilled protein.
Amaranth is packed with nutrition like all greens, and this is a highly nutritious meal you can indulge in.
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