Keerai Masiyal is a simple and healthy dish prepared with mashed greens and cooked dal. Keerai Masiyal also known as Kadanja Keerai (kadanja means mashing in Tamil) or Keerai Kadaiyal is one of the favorite dishes of my family members.
Since my childhood, at my parents place, greens were served almost daily as part of our meals. We were lucky that we used to get varieties of fresh greens brought and sold by ladies from the nearby villages. Color and freshness of those greens would be so alluring that you would feel like grabbing the whole lot. The habit of having greens at least twice or thrice a week was inculcated right from my childhood and I have been following the same with my kids too. My daughter loves to have Keerai Masiyal mixed with steamed rice and a dollop of ghee. She calls it Green Rice.
I have learned this Keerai Masiyal from my Grand mom. Though she makes Masiyal in quite different ways, I frequently make this Masiyal which also includes dal as one of the ingredient. The only change I have adopted is to use a pressure cooker and a blender. She used to prepare it in a clay pot and used a mathu (wooden masher in Tamil) for mashing the greens. Using a clay pot and mathu imparts a unique taste to this Keerai Masiyal. Do definitely use a clay pot if you have one.
You can use any keerai variety for making this masiyal. I made this one with Palak (Spinach).
Any greens variety – 1 big bunch
Tur dal or thuvaram paruppu – 100 gms
Onion – 1 small
Tomato – 1 small
Green chillies – 2 or 3
Salt to taste
Oil – 1 tsp
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Urad dal – ½ tsp
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Prep time – 7-10 mins
Cook time – 15 mins
Total time – 25 mins
- Wash the dal, add 1 cup of water and cook it along with green chillies, halved onion and tomato for 3-4 whistles. Let the pressure release naturally. Set aside the cooked onion, tomato and green chillies. Also, reserve the water to be used later, if required. Mash the dal and set aside until use.
- Clean the greens by discarding the hard stems. Use only the leaves and tender stems.
- Wash the greens in plenty of water for 3 to 4 times to get rid of the dirt, sand and pesticides. You can also soak the greens in water for some time and then rinse it well. My mom cleans it this way. Remove the greens and set aside.
- Boil about ¾ th cup of water in a pan. Add the washed greens to the boiling water and cook for 3-4 mins. As the leaves begin to wilt, remove the leaves from water.
- Take the blanched greens, cooked onion, tomato and green chilli (kept aside from the dal) in a mixer jar and blend it. Do not blend it finely, it should be roughly mashed. You can use a mathu or wooden masher too if you have one.
- Add the mashed greens to the dal and mix well. Add salt to taste. Check for the consistency. If you do not want it too thick, you can add the water used to cook the greens.
- Heat oil in a tadka pan. Add mustard seeds, let it crackle. Add urad dal and let it turn golden brown. Add curry leaves just before removing off the stove. Pour this tempering to the dal-mashed greens. Mix well and serve.
Serve this tasty and healthy Masiyal with hot steaming rice and a dollop of ghee. You can serve any vegetable stir fry or poriyal or roast as an accompaniment. You can also serve this Masiyal as a side dish for chapathis, a combo which my dad loves. Keerai Masiyal can also be served as an accompaniment when serving Rice with Kuzhambu variety.
- Any green variety like Arai keerai, Siru keerai, Vendhiya keerai can be used to make this masiyal. Agathi keerai is not used because of the bitter taste.
- You can use tur dal or moong dal or a combination of both dals in equal quantity. If using moong dal, cook it only for 1-2 whistles.
- Consistency of Keerai Masiyal is usually thick. You can add water reserved after cooking dal or greens if you do not want it thick.
- Tastes best if consumed fresh the same day. It is said that greens should be eaten freshly cooked and should not be reheated.
- For the tempering, you can also use homemade vadagam, which gives a very nice flavor and crunch to this Keerai Masiyal.