Authentic Recipes from the Kitchens of Shriya, Nithu & Arthi!

Mulai Keerai (Thotakura) Kootu – Amaranth Greens and Lentils Curry

Amaranth greens, a nutritious leafy vegetable is popular in Indian cuisine. They are a good source of vitamin A and C, folate, thiamine, niacin and other dietary minerals including calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, copper, and manganese. It is called mulai keerai in Tamil, thotakura in Telugu. In this dish, I have cooked Amaranth leaves in a spicy lentil curry. This can be served with steamed rice or roti (Indian bread).


  • A bunch of amaranth leaves (about 3 to 4 cups tightly packed)
  • Shallots (small red onions) – 10 (peeled and cut into small pieces)
  • Ginger – 1″ piece
  • Moong dal – 1/3 cup
  • Toor dal – 3 tbsp
  • Garlic pods – 2
  • One medium size tomato
  • Green chili – 1
  • Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
  • A pinch of asafoetida
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil – 1 tsp

For Masala:

  • Oil – 1 tsp
  • Coriander seeds – 1 tbsp
  • Dried long red chilies – 4 or 5
  • Cumin seeds – 1 and 1/2 tsp
  • Fresh or frozen shredded coconut – 2 tbsp

For Seasoning:

  • Oil – 1 tsp
  • Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • Curry leaves – 8 to 10 leaves
  • Urad dal – 1 tsp
  • Dried red chili – 1

Method of Preparation:

  1. Rinse and pressure cook moong dal and toor dal along with garlic cloves, tomato, green chili, asafoetida, 1/4 tsp of salt and turmeric powder.
  2. Pick amaranth leaves and plunge it in boiling water for 3 to 4 minutes and strain it and let it cool. Reserve some water.
  3. Pulse half of the leaves in a mixer grinder or food processor to form a very coarse paste. Don’t add water.
  4. Cut the remaining half of the leaves into small pieces.
  5. Heat a tsp of oil and add the shallots and fry until translucent and then add finely chopped ginger.
  6. After a minute add the ground and chopped amaranth leaves and cook over medium heat until everything is combined, for about 8 to 10 minutes.
  7. Heat oil in another small pan and add coriander seeds, 1 tsp of cumin, dried chilies and fry for 2 minutes and then add shredded coconut and turn off heat. Toss them for a few seconds and let it cool.
  8. Grind it along with remaining 1/2 tsp of cumin and a little water to form a thick paste.
  9. Mix it with the cooked dal and add it to the amaranth leaves and let it come to a boil over medium heat. Add some water if required.
  10. When you get the right consistency of a gravy or kootu, turn off heat.
  11. For seasoning: Heat oil and add mustard seeds and let it splutter and then add curry leaves, urad dal and dried chili.