Kerala / Palakkad Recipes. · Side Dishes for Rotis/Dosas/ Naan.

Instant Keerai Masiyal. (Quick Greens Gravy with Seasonings)

Spinach and other forms of greens have been an excellent source of vitamins and iron for the body. It is of no wonder that we discover novel methods of ingesting greens so that we can derive the intrinsic rich sources of vitamins for our benefit. This instant keerai masiyal is an express method of cooking and flavouring the greens so that a twist in the taste would make us feel we are eating a different vegetable in a different form.

Its also a quick addition to the regular vegetable everyday, specially for kids and toddlers, to be eaten along with their course. Traditionally, its made with “Ara Keerai” or Mola Keerai in our homes, but I use any green leafy vegetable that I have. Today I`ve used a combination of Spinach, collards and turnips.The variation in the taste is in fact,  the effect of the seasoning.


Spinach/Collards/Turnip/Kale     – 1/2 a packet or a bunch cleaned.




Coconut Oil, Mustard/Curry Leaves. Broken Urad Dhal, red chillis (3).


  • Take the washed and cleaned greens and pop in to a microwave safe dish and microwave on HIGH for 5 mins. Optionally, you could also sprinkle water and cook it on the oventop stove for 5 mins .
  • Do not allow the leaves to get bruised, but cook it only 60% or so.
  • Pulse the cooked and cooled greens along with salt in the mixer to a smooth paste. There is NO need to add water, as cooking itself brings out the inherent water in the leaves.
  • If you feel that there is still some raw smell of the greens, that is not agreeable, pop in in to the microwave for an extra 2 mins.
  • Warm a seasoning kadai on the stove and add 2 spoons of coconut oil.
  • When hot, add broken urad dhal, allow to slightly brown, red chillis, add mustard, hing, curry leaves and pour over the ground greens paste.
  • Serve as a side with rice, or over dhal rice, or as a course in itself to mix with rice.

Smells just as sweet….

Timid jasmine buds that keep their fragrance to themselves all day, but when the sunlight dies away let the delicious secret out to every breeze that roams about.” – Thomas.
Flowers  have always been some thing of a wonder to me. That creation has allowed such beautiful amazing colourful representation of itself in so many different forms. How many pictures have spoken a thousand words…how many have been captured and frozen in a digital frame?  A flower renders itself in so many different ways, fully aware that its going to last only a few days, and some varieties only a few hours. One such flower that captivates me with its sheer beauty is the Jasmine.  We had this huge jasmine creeper all over my front yard, many years ago in our home. Every summer evening, the sweet smell of the jasmine, would waft in to our windows and every now and then , I as a child, wouold catch a wiff in the air and get so excited. Then came the days of the apartment living…I missed my plants and trees, but never failed to recreate a small green patch wherever I lived…

When I was in Madurai, for my post graduation, i realised, that this was the place for the most exotic varieties of this flower….On the drive to Kodaikanal, there are places where people would hawk for a big roll of jasmine just for Rs.5!!! And you can see rows and rows of jasmine shrubs, all ready to be picked, woven in to strands by skillful hands, ready to be transported and adorned on the beautiful shoulders of the Lord, or his Lotus feet, or in the hands of a loving husband for his wife!!!

When I went to my mother in law`s place, in Trichy, I was happy to see a really tall, shrub of jasmines, that had worked it way up two floors and spread its branches all over the parapet wall….Her maid would dutifully collect the buds and weave them in to a lovely string, which my mother in law would give to me, to adorn on my braids…It was a variety that had sharper petals, but lush with fragrance…

When we relocated to Phoenix, I could`nt resist visiting the Garden Centre at Home Depot in Ahwautukee where we stayed. Phoenix, is so warm that there are so many varieties of plants that I could find in Madras! And there I saw the lovely jasmine shrub…and I joyfully  took it home with me. I followed the instructions for sunlight, and water and MagicGrow nutrition, repotting and the likes. I would take care of it like a little helpless baby, all through winter….And in summer, I got  sweet smelling jasmine flowers….that I would collect everyday and offer it to God, or collect it in a little uruli and place it on the dining area. It`s an amazing feeling to walk around your home,  smelling  fresh flowers and have the satisfaction that they are out of your own little garden.

Jasmine Flowers in a nursery in Eureka, MO.
Jasmine Flowers in a nursery in Eureka, MO.

Recently, we had been on a drive this summer to Eureka, MO and there was this lovely nursery filled with all kinds of blooms, chrysanthemums, roses of all varieties , hibiscus and even a huge jasmine creeper…The floor of the nursery was specked with little jasmine flowers…almost looking like a carpet…I picked out a few and enjoyed the fragrance for a few minutes…Shruti, another friend of mine, also shares my passion on jasmines. So when I went to my favourite Trader Joe`s , last week in the peak of the crazy january winter, and I saw little Jasmine Shrubs, shipped all the way from Florida…I picked one for her…She is waiting for the day, it would bloom and flood her with lovely fragrant flowers….And I am going to watch it grow in her place, and experience the delight as if it were my own!!!

Shruti`s Jasmine Shrub - Buds ready to bloom!
Shruti`s Jasmine Shrub - Buds ready to bloom!