I am thankful to the creator of The Popeye show for motivating my son, a picky eater, to have a liking for insipid spinach even at his tender age. This cartoon show made my job easier to convey the importance of taking wholesome food and also made a small kid to understand a profound theory, “we are what we eat”. He did not like to take spinach with rice when he was a kid, instead he enjoyed taking plain spinach just like the great Popeye did.
We prepare kadaindha arai keerai (mashed Chinese spinach) and mix 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.
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.
Now lets prepare arai keerai masiyal:
- A bunch of arai keerai
- 1 or 2 pods of garlic
- ½ tsp of salt
Keerai masiyal preparation:
- 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.
- You may find this unpalatable if too many garlic pods are used in here. (I have garnished 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.