I want to preface this post by saying this: if red amaranth is hard to come by where you live, this recipe works really well with spinach or other local greens too. You’ll get the same flavours (but without the bright pink hue of course).
Amaranth—both the green and red varieties—are ubiquitous to these parts and features regularly in our weekly lunch rotation. Amaranth has a slightly more robust flavour than regular spinach (palak). I personally like that, but if you find it too invasive you’ll be happy to know that mixing it with curd and coconut reduces its intensity. Here’s one with beets using a similar recipe.
A good raitha needs a good base. A simple and straightforward method to make a raitha is to grate and cook the vegetable, stir it through some curd, and temper with spices. But with a little more effort you can really elevate it. That ‘effort’ that I speak of: blend grated coconut, garlic, green chillies and cumin seeds to a coarse paste. Mix it up with the cooked spinach and tempering. Serve with rice and accompaniments or eat it by the spoonful. Choose your own adventure.
RED AMARANTH RAITHA
- 1 bunch of red amaranth leaves
- 6 shallots, finely chopped
- 200 grams thick curd/yogurt
- 2 teaspoons oil
- Salt, to taste
- ¼ cup grated coconut
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 2 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 1-2 green chillies, or to taste
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
- 1 teaspoon split urad dhal
- 1 sprig of curry leaves
- 2 dried red chillies
- 2 teaspoons oil
- Add grated coconut, green chillies, garlic, and cumin seeds to a small blender jar. Coarsely blend. Use only a spoonful of water, not more, if needed. Set aside.
- Only use the leaves and thinner stalks of the amaranth greens. Rinse several times, then chop into thin strips.
- Add oil to a pan and sauté the shallots until nicely browned. Add the amaranth and spread it out in the pan. Season with salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally – about 7 mins.
- Take the pan off the heat and stir in the blended coconut paste. Let cool to room temp before stirring in the curd. Season with more salt if necessary.
- Tempering: heat oil in a small pan and add mustard seeds and urad dhal. Once the dhal starts to brown, add dried chillies and curry leaves. Stir this into the raitha and serve.