Chinese Spinach

I am grateful to the creator of the well renowned TV series, The Popeye show, for motivating my son, a picky eater, to have a liking for an insipid spinach even at his tender age. Though he did not like to take spinach with rice, he enjoyed taking plain spinach just like his hero, the great Popeye, gobbled it up! This cartoon show successfully conveyed a profound theory, “we are what we eat”, even to the kids.  Hence it made my job easier to convey the importance of taking all the greens including Chinese spinach.

keerai-6 Chinese Spinach
Keerai sadam, a nourishing baby food

We prepare kadaindha arai keerai (mashed Chinese spinach) and mix it with rice to serve as keerai sadam (spinach rice) as shown above mainly for toddlers. For adults & children we serve keerai kadaiyal with rice and tangy morkuzhambu (yogurt curry) or pulikuzhambu (tamarind curry) for lunch as shown below.

keerai-7 Chinese Spinach
Meals with keerai & morkuzhambu

Chinese spinach in Siddha medicine:

According to Siddha medicine, arai keerai (Chinese spinach or Amaranth leaves or Amaranthus Aristis) is useful to treat fever, cold, cough, and other pulmonary disorders. So arai keerai masiyal is ideally suitable even for babies and also children who are getting frequent colds.

araikeerai-in-siddha Chinese Spinach
Arai keerai in Siddha medicine

Recipe for Chinese spinach (arai keerai) masiyal:

keerai-3 Chinese Spinach
Chinese Spinach Masiyal


  • A bunch of arai keerai
  • 1 or 2 pods of garlic
  • ½ tsp of salt
araikeerai Chinese Spinach
Arai keerai

Chinese Spinach (arai keerai) masiyal:

  • Chop off hard fibrous stems and wash them twice or thrice.
  • Steam arai keerai for 5 min and leave aside until it reaches room temperature.
  • Grind steamed keerai with garlic and salt until smooth.
  • Transfer to a bowl and serve with rice.
keerai-9 Chinese Spinach
Arai keerai masiyal

Recipe notes:

  • You may find this unpalatable if too many garlic pods are used in here. (I have garnished this with sliced garlic only for presentation.)
  • My grandmother used to add a pinch of slaked lime (chunnambu) while pureeing these greens.
  • You may use any other Amaranth leaves like mulai keerai (Amaranthus blitum), or siru keerai (Amaranthus tricolor) instead of arai keerai.

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  1. My children too detest green, for reasons that I cannot seem to understand but spinach is a staple inspite of all their protests. I use variations of spinach with potatoes, spinach stuffed in parathas. But never found a recipe so simple. Need to look about for this variety of spinach though. As always, my eyes are on your plate with that assortment of yummy delicacies.

    1. Yes, every mother would feel contented only when her children take enough portion of spinach. 🙂 Hope you would like to reproduce the same meal in your kitchen and you all relish it as much as we did. Thank you!

  2. Fabulous and it is so nice to be eating Spinach, it is so good for health. Awesome presentation, Megala and even me I loved the little Popeye, such a cute guy. Thanks for the wonderful share. Today I too have made this bhaji with khichdi. It tastes very well.

  3. When I was a kid, I was afraid that I would get such pop eyes like Popeye if I ate too much spinach. ^0^
    Thank you for sharing the nice recipe! I usually make stir-fried spinach. Now I am going to try your recipe! (the color is amazingly beautiful~)

    1. Hahaha, what a wild imagination! Ever since my childhood I always feel like all the green-colored fresh produces necessarily indicate health. 🙂
      I hope you would like this spinach puree. Thanks so much for reading my posts.

  4. I usually eat spinach in salads, but I like the idea of mashing them and serving them with rice. I did watched Popeye with my son too when he was younger.

    1. Typically it is a baby food, there is a popular action song for toddlers in Tamil “keerai kadai, keerai kadai” meaning “mash the spinach, and mash the spinach”. 🙂
      Thanks Dominique!

  5. We have spinach (two varieties) growing in our veggie garden. I would never have thought to grind/puree them; I do love eating spinach, Megala, quite regularly!
    Your platter of food looks absolutely yummy.. What a very special treat for a young boy… 🙂

    1. We make lentil rice, yogurt rice or spinach rice specially for toddlers, but most of them don’t like to take spinach rice. Popeye came as a savior for the mothers like me 🙂 Now my son has just grown into an young adult, and he still enjoys the meal with spinach.
      Thanks a lot for your constant support.

  6. Its so true, I was also lucky that due to Popeye, my kid also enjoyed spinach since childhood. We have to be consious of which cartoon our kids are watching. It helps a lot in there growing years.

    1. Yes, it is so nice to make such a positive change in the minds of kids through a cartoon show. I am sure many of the children like to take this mainly because of Popeye, the sailor man. 🙂 Thank you !

  7. Thank you for another lovely recipe. My son also loved spinach when he was a baby, which was a mixed blessing as everything was covered in green stains!

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