Every week, on alternate days, I used to get three types of leafy vegetables home delivered and I had opted for a bunch of spinach, methi and amaranth leaves. But on a couple of days, when methi was not available, they had sent me this Nela Basale Soppu ( soppu means greens in Kannada ), a local leafy vegetable. Verdolaga is the botanical name of these greens and you can check here to know more about the health benefits of it. The first time, I made a simple stir fry with it along with onions and tomatoes, but the second time, I tried out this Basale Soppu Koddel, a Mangalorean style sambar with them. We don't use sambar powder for this sambar, instead we make a fresh paste with coconut, chillies and other spices and we also add peanuts and small onions, This gives a nice taste to this sambar and it goes very well with white rice..
Need To Have
- Tuvar Dal/ Split Pigeon Peas - 1/4 cup
- Basale Soppu/ Malabar Spinach - 1 bunch
- Small Onions/ Shallots - 10 - 12
- Raw Dry Peanuts - 2 tablespoons
- Tamarind - cherry or goose berry sized ball
- Turmeric Powder - 1/4 teaspoon
- Mustard Seeds - 1/2 teaspoon
- Garlic - 3 cloves, crushed
- Byadgi Chillies - 5
- Urad Dal/ Husked Black Gram - 1 teaspoon
- Cumin Seeds - 1 teaspoon
- Fenugreek Seeds - 1/4 teaspoon
- Grated Coconut - 1/4 cup
- Jaggery - 1-2 teaspoons
Original recipe here
Remove the rough end of the malabar spinach and chop it coarsely and keep, came to about 4 cups. Soak the tamarind in 1/2 cup warm water for at least 20 minutes, then squeeze out the juice, strain and keep, add another 1/2 cup water and do the same, so totally we'll have 1 cup of tamarind extract. Pressure cook the tuvar dal with water and turmeric powder, till it's soft and mushy.
Now heat some oil in a pressure pan, add the small onions and saute for a minute or two, then add the chopped basale soppu, peanuts, tamarind water and another 1/2 cup of water, cover and cook for 2 whistles. Let the pressure get released by itself from the cooker.
In the meantime, using a little oil, roast the urad dal, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds and byadgi chillies till the dal turns golden. Then switch off, add the coconut and mix it in the heat of the pan. Let the mixture cool, then grind it into a smooth paste along with the jaggery and keep.
Once all the pressure is released, open the pressure pan, add the ground paste and the cooked dal , mix and cook for 10 minutes ( if too thick, add some water ).
Then heat some coconut oil in a pan, add the mustard seeds, once it starts sputtering, add the crushed garlic, saute till it turns golden, then add this to the sambar and serve.
You can do the sambar with regular spinach too.
Coconut oil gives a nice flavor to the dish, but if you don't like, then regular oil can be used.
Byadgi chillies are a variety of chilly, they are less spicy but give a nice color, if you can't find them then regular chillies can be used in its place, but use just 3 or more depending on its spiciness.