Pacha Cheera, as spinach is known in Malayalam, is quite widely used in Kerala in thoran and in moloshyam / mulakushyam. Moloshyam or mulakushyam is a curry made with coconut paste and dal and can be made with ash gourd and pumpkin, spinach or tender drumstick leaves or cabbage and the name is "whichever vegetable" moloshyam. Today, the recipe I give here is for a pacha cheera moloshyam which is spinach moloshyam. Since spinach like all leaf vegetables shrink on cooking, you have to have a large quantity if you intend making a sabzi with it. So, on days you don't have enough spinach for a sabzi make this curry which does not over cook the greens making it a very healthy dish.
This moloshyam is adapted from the Palakkad Iyer style of cooking. As such, in Kerala moloshyam is made but without using coconut. Instead, coconut oil is used at the end to season it. For today, this Cheera Moloshyam recipe has ground coconut in it.
Spinach - 1.5 cups
Tuwar / Moong dal - 1/4 cup
Coconut, grated - 1/4 cup, tightly packed
Green chilli - 2
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric pwd - 1 tsp
Red chilli pwd - 1 tsp
Salt as per taste
Shallots - 2 / Onion - 1/4
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Dry red chilli - 2
Curry leaves - 5 to 6
Oil - 1 tbsp
Wash the dal and pressure cook it with 1/2 cup water. In a blender jar, add the grated coconut, cumin seeds and green chillies and grind it to a fine paste. The 1.5 cup spinach used is washed and cut leaves.
Put a saucepan to heat and add the cooked dal and spinach into it. Add a little water to make a medium thick curry consistency. Add the turmeric powder, red chilli powder and a little salt and cover and let the spinach cook on medium heat. It will not take much time for the greens to cook. Once cooked, add the ground coconut paste to the spinach and dal mixture and mix well. Check for salt, if necessary add some. Let the curry come to a boil and then take it off the heat.
Separately, heat a pan with oil, preferably coconut oil and when hot add the mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds splutter add the chopped onion or shallots and sauté till translucent. Cut the dry red chillies in pieces and add it to the frying onion along with the curry leaves and sauté till the onions are light golden. Pour this on to the curry and cover till ready to serve. Cheera Moloshyam is ready.
A cheera or red spinach moloshyam can be made exactly the same way by just substituting the spinach with red spinach.
My Cheera Moloshyam goes to :