The Answer is Spinach!

Malabar spinach (vaali in Konkani, basale in Tulu) is a much loved vegetable at home. Apart from being rich in various nutrients and fiber, it tastes quite nice compared to other green leafy vegetables. Konkani cuisine has multiple preparations using Malabar spinach. The vegetarian ones include the garlic flavoured 'bendi' (addition of jackfruit seeds or horse gram makes it tastier), or the onion flavoured, dal enriched version called 'vaali-daali ambat' (raw papaya can be added).

Being a seafood lover, I personally like two other preparations of Malabar Spinach, one cooked with dry prawn, and the other cooked with clam (Khubbo in Konkani, Marwai in Tulu). Both these are authentic dishes, prepared more frequently in the rural areas, as every household would have the plant growing in the backyard. Dad always tells me that such curries remind him of his childhood, especially the monsoons when fresh fish was hard to come by.

             See also: Kichdi (Konkani style)  Maralva leaf fritters 

Sharing both the recipes (my grandmother's) here.

#1 Vaali ani sukkal sungat (Malabar Spinach + Dry Prawn)

What you need: 

(apart from Malabar spinach and dry prawns, of course)
~ Coconut gratings (one medium sized)
~ Tamarind (a small cube)
~ Chilly (as per taste, I use around 14 small ones which are spicier than the longer 'byadgi' chillies)
~ Coriander seeds, 3/4 teaspoon (optional)
~ Onions (One large, or two medium sized ones)
~Oil for seasoning (I prefer coconut oil for the flavor)

Prelims: 
*Clean the dry prawn properly, snip off the head. This is the most tedious part of the process, and the one that I personally detest. Soak in water and rinse well.
*Separate the leaves and stem. Chop the leaves roughly, cut the stem into equal sized pieces. Soak in water with salt for sometime. 
*Chop the onions finely
*I usually cook the spinach in the pressure cooker to make the process faster. Alternatively, you can cook it directly without using the pressure cooker.

Masala: Grated coconut + Tamarind + Chilly (+ coriander seeds, un-roasted, optional) = grind to a fine consistency

Method: In a large vessel, take the cooked spinach, add salt judiciously (the prawn will have salt too) and bring to a boil. Add 3/4th of the chopped onion, and finally the prawn (discard all the water used for soaking, else the curry will stink); cook well together till you can appreciate the fragrance of each of the ingredients. 
Add the finely ground masala, and bring to a boil.
Season with the remaining chopped onions, using coconut oil for the added flavor. Cover immediately, leave it undisturbed for atleast half an hour, so as to let the flavors mix.

Goes very well with hot boiled rice. I personally love the combination with akki rotti.



#2 Vaali Khubbo (Malabar spinach + Clams)
What you need: 

(apart from Malabar spinach and clam, about 100)
~ Coconut gratings (one medium sized)
~ Tamarind (a small cube)
~ Chilly (as per taste, I use around 14 small ones which are spicier than the longer 'byadgi' chillies)
~ Coriander seeds, 3/4 teaspoon 
~ Hing water
~Coconut Oil (1 teaspoon)

Prelims: 
*Separate the leaves and stem. Chop the leaves roughly, cut the stem into equal sized pieces. Soak in water with salt for sometime. 
*Cleaning the clam: 
-Soak in salt water for sometime. You can see the clams opening slowly. Rinse thoroughly as there could be a lot of hidden sand particles. 
-Boil in water and salt, till all the clams are wide open.
-Once it's cooled, carefully separate the top water as all the sand particles would be settled at the bottom by now.
-Separate the flesh out. You can retain some shells if you like.

Masala: Grated coconut + Tamarind + Chilly + coriander seeds, un-roasted = grind to a fine consistency

Method: In a large vessel, take the cooked spinach, add salt judiciously as the clams also would have been cooked with salt, and bring to a boil. Add the cooked clams along with the water used for cooking them; cook well together till you can appreciate the fragrance of each of the ingredients. 
Add the finely ground masala, and bring to a boil.
Add the asafoetida (hing) water and cook. Lace with one teaspoon of coconut oil, and cover. Let the flavors mix.

Goes very well with hot boiled rice or Akki rotti.

PS: The pictures aren't of great quality, as I clicked them hurriedly with my phone whilst cooking.

HAPPY COOKING!



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