I have this most weird habit of picking up a new vegetable or a new grain without any slightest idea of what I am going to do with it or how to use it. If I see something new, it peeks my interest and draws me like a magnet and the next thing I know its somehow sitting in my grocery cart!
It was one level of craziness picking up things that are new but this time I crossed a line: I actually picked up something without even knowing its name. Okay, now I am not this crazy person who would feed anything to my family; I mean, the leaves were sitting next to the spinach, anything that sits next to spinach has to be eatable and tasty too, I bet!
So I picked up these most unique looking green leaves (size of small spinach leaves) with red veins running into them. I had no idea what they were, the store did not have a name-tag next to it. I called the store people and asked them what it was, they said they had no idea. I picked them up anyway, thinking I would google them.
I come home, try a lot of Google image search first (Green leaves with red veins), nothing that looks even remotely to what I have turns up. More Google search, nada. It gets to the point that I am thinking I would have to take a picture and send it to my mom in India for identification when I try the last search criteria "indian grocery green leaves red" and voila, there comes an entry from Mahanadi with a picture of the exact leaves that I have!! Score! So, today's mystery ingredient is amaranth leaves.
Not knowing how they taste, I made a quick hard-to-go-wrong sambhar (with store bought sambhar powder it's a jiffy -- sorry Sambhar police.. just didn't have the patience to start from scratch today, it happens, you know). The sambhar was yummy delicious with freshly made rice and a side of lemon pickle.
So turns out my so-called weird habit of picking up mystery ingredients isn't too bad afterall!
3C loosely packed washed and dried amarnth leaves
3/4C toor daal
1/2C tiny shallot onions
1 tomato - chopped
1tsp sambhar powder
1.5tsp tamarind paste
1/4tsp turmeric powder
salt & sugar to taste
vegetable oil (may be 2Tbsp)
1/2tsp mustard seeds
1/2tsp cumin seeds
pinch of asafoetida
1 large chopped garlic clove
- In a large pot, add amarnath leaves, water, toor daal and salt. Cover and let cook until the daal turns mushy.
- Add onions, tomato, tamarind paste and sambhar powder to the daal. Cook covered for 10more minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat oil for tempering in a small pot. When hot, add mustard seeds. When they start popping add cumin seeds; followed by garlic and asafortida.
- Add the tarka to the toor daal. Mix well, adjust the seasonings and serve hot with rice!