About This Recipe
According to Ayurveda, the tikta rasa, or bitter taste, is indicative of powerful detoxifying properties, and bitter foods are believed to help remove waste products from the body. In India, bitterness is almost universally associated with karela (bitter gourd) — a cherished healthy ingredient that many kids (including me, once upon a time) are bitter about having to eat. Growing up, I soon realized that bitterness is not singular; it comes in many forms. For example, the bitterness of coffee suits me, but not tonic. And while I’m still not a big fan of karela, I love local, seasonal bitter greens you find everywhere in India. I especially enjoy a combination of kale, amaranth (tambdi), and fenugreek (methi) — but use any locally available variation of seasonal bitter greens.
Though simple to make, this recipe is power-packed with good-for-you ingredients. Coriander is a quality source of vitamins A and K, and minerals such as manganese, folate and potassium. Besides containing anti-inflammatory volatile oils such as linalool and camphene, which may benefit the heart and stomach, coriander may also improve your body’s ability to detoxify the blood and lower blood sugar levels. Kokum is rich with antioxidants (anthocyanins, hydroxy citric acid and garcinol) that are linked to reducing inflammation, anti-cancer properties, and weight management. Fiber-rich amaranth leaves contain essential amino acids; are flush with calcium, phosphorus, zinc, manganese, and vitamin K; and also contain carotenoids, which support eye health. Fenugreek leaves add immunity-boosting antioxidants that also contribute to healthy skin, hair, and blood.
Note: To make the roasted coconut chips garnish, cut fresh coconut into thin slices and roast in an oven at 200°F/100°C for 30 to 40 minutes, until crisp. Store in an air-tight jar in a cool, dark place.
- 2 Tbsp (25 ml) coconut oil
- 2 sprigs curry leaves
- 2 tsp black mustard seeds
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 1 to 3 green chiles, chopped
- 4 to 5 pieces soft kokum, chopped
- 6 cups (500 g) tambdi (amaranth) leaves, chopped
- 1 cup (100 g) methi (fenugreek) leaves, chopped
- ½ cup fresh grated coconut
- 1 tsp pink salt
- Roasted coconut chips to garnish
Step 1Gently heat the coconut oil in a large pan, dropping in the curry leaves, mustard seeds, and coriander.
Step 2Once the mustard starts to pop, add the green chiles and kokum and sautée briefly on medium heat. Add the amaranth and methi and sauté on medium to low heat until the leaves have reduced to half their size. Leaves tend to get more bitter the more they’re cooked, so don’t overdo it. Add salt, adjusting to taste.
Step 3Turn off the heat and mix in the grated coconut. Serve garnished with roasted coconut chips.
Substitutions: If freshly grated coconut isn’t available, use frozen unsweetened coconut or rehydrated desiccated coconut instead.
Level Up: Make your own roasted coriander powder. Toast coriander seeds on a pan over medium heat until the seeds start to pop, release aroma, and darken, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove seeds from heat, allow to cool, then grind to a fine powder in a spice grinder or small blender jar. Optionally strain through a medium-mesh sieve to remove any larger bits. Store in an air-tight container in a cool, dry place.