Learn how to make Vegan Harive Soppu Bendi /Amaranth-Coconut Curry ~ Vegan green amaranth cooked in mild coconut gravy
Life in India is like living in food heaven for someone who loves fresh and local farm produce. One of the best things about living in India is availability of local and seasonal vegetables and greens in abundance without the need to travel for hundred of miles to Asian speciality stores! For someone who loves cooking and eating local produce, the early morning call from the vegetable vendors delivering the fresh vegetables and greens plucked with dew drops along with the mud and sand stuck on their skin and roots is enough to make my heart skip a beat!
Organic Tender Green Amaranth Leaves ~ Fresh from farm
Mild Amaranth-Coconut Curry
But what makes my heart sing is the fresh produce straight from our estate or from the farms of our extended families. There is no better gift than a fresh home grown, organic produce gifted by loved ones. Last time when I visited my Doddamma’s home, they sent us back with car boot full of home grown produce from their farm and backyard vegetable garden. One such produce was these tender amaranth leaves plucked straight from backyard vegetable garden. I didn’t waste time in making good use of it and made this simple coconut based curry from my native Udupi-Mangalore.
The amaranth leaves have always been a part of traditional and ayurvedic Indian cooking. Amaranthus or amaranth’s leaves are available in range of colours from red to green, pink to gold are common green leafy vegetables and they grow throughout the country, from the Himalayas to coastal regions in the South India. We cook them in making a simple stir fry called palya, tangy and spicy coconut based curry called huli, mild coconut curry called hashi and bendi in my home town.
With their higher protein, iron and calcium content, we Indians have been using both the seeds and leaves in traditional medicine and ayurvedic cooking for years! Little did I know when my grandmother and mother forced me to eat them regularly that they were helping me to build good immune system. The amaranth leaves are a natural home remedy for hair loss and premature greying as well as for treating skin problems like eczema. Along with the amaranth leaves, the seeds are effective in treating diarrhea and excessive menstruation. No wonder that amaranth seeds have been declared as the next ‘wonder grain’ in the western world. Bu did you know that Amaranth has been cultivated in throughout India for over 8000 years?! So remember to take a second helping next time when your grandmother or mother ask you to eat your greens. :)
The recipe I am sharing with you today is called Harive Soppu Bendi as we call in my home town. Bendi is a simple, mildly spiced coconut gravy made using gourds like bottle gourd, pumpkin, ash gourd or greens like spinach, malabar spinach, green/red amaranth etc. The only spice used in the coconut gravy is cumin and a green chilli or two for light kick of heat. This Harive Soppu Bendi makes a perfect curry for little ones or those who can’t handle too spicy curries. With no overpowering spices competing, naturally astringent amaranth leaves flavour comes through the mild coconut gravy. Try this simple and flavourful Amaranth Coconut Curry when you feel like eating some light and healthy food and see your taste buds thanking you! :)
Harive Soppu Bendi (Green amaranth cooked in mild coconut gravy)
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cooking Time: 15-18 mins
Recipe Level: Easy/Beginner
Spice Level: Low
Serves: 4-6 people
Shelf Life: Best served fresh but can be refrigerated for up to 2 days
Serving Suggestion: With rice and pickle
1 bunch tender Harive Soppu/Green Amaranth Leaves (Around 2½ - 3 packed cups)
1 tsp Jaggary/Palm Sugar
Salt to taste
For Coconut Paste:
1½ packed cups grated Coconut, fresh or frozen
1 tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds
1-2 Green Chillies, slit
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
1 Dry Red Chilli, cut into 2-3 pieces
A pinch of Hing/Asafoetida (Optional)
A spring of Curry Leaves
½ tbsp. Oil (Preferably coconut oil)
- Clean and wash the tender amaranth leaves. If you are not using the home grown greens or from organic shops and instead have brought it from market, it is best to soak it in a bowl of water with a tsp of salt for 10-15 minutes. This helps in cleaning any residues of pesticides clinging to the leaves. After it has been thoroughly washed, chop them to stripes of 1 inch thickness. Use the tender stems as well, and cut them into 1 inch long pieces. Set aside until needed.
- Cook the amaranth leaves in 1 cup of water along with its stems, jaggary and salt to taste. Cook it only until it wilts and doesn’t lose its vibrant green colour, about 3 mins.
- While the leaves are getting cooked, grind grated coconut along with cumin seeds and green chillies by adding little water to make smooth and thick paste.
- Add this coconut paste to the cooked greens and reduce the heat to low. Adjust the salt and let it cook uncovered until small bubbles start to appear on surface, about 5-7 mins and turn off the heat.
- While the curry is simmering, prepare the tempering/tadka by heating the oil in small pan. Once the oil is hot, add mustard seeds, red chilli pieces and hing. When the mustard seeds start to pop and splutter, add curry leaves and turn off the gas.
- Transfer the tadka to the Harive Soppu Bendi and mix them well. Cover and let it sit for 10-15 minutes for the flavours to develop and blend well.
- Serve this delicious and healthy Harive Soppu Bendi with a bowl of steaming rice and pickle and enjoy!
Harive Soppu Bendi ~ How to make Amaranth-Coconut Curry
- If you are not using the home grown greens or from organic shops and instead have brought it from market, it is best to soak it in a bowl of water with a tsp of salt for 10-15 minutes. This helps in cleaning any residues of pesticides clinging to the leaves.
- Do not cook this curry for long as it will lose its flavours.
- If you don’t get amaranth leaves in your neck of woods, just replace it with spinach and follow the recipe instruction.