Keerai Kadaiyal in Clay Pot

Keerai kadaiyal is yet another signature recipe of Tamil Nadu cuisine and I wanted to try this in clay pot / Manchatti as we say in Tamil. I went with regular spinach that we get here in US (pasalai keerai) but this can be prepared with any greens that you get. It is a simple steamed spinach which is then mashed with Thayir Mathu / Buttermilk churner (see notes below) and tempered with spices. I am super glad that the Indian stores here started to carry Thandu keerai / Amaranth leaves and also Manathakkali leaves/garden huckleberry.       

ManchattiKeerai3        

Our friend JV uses clay pot and she was suggesting the same to me too and I couldn’t find them at amazon but luckily found them here and ordered it right away. This is the penultimate recipe that I prepared for this A-Z challenge. (Between I am still a novice in photography. The steam photographs intrigued me a lot and tried in this recipe. All the steam became blurry and I got a some what decent one and that’s my featured. ahem ahem.. I can hear you laughing.. Any tip for steam photography would be helpful)

ClayPotWithChurner

Clay Pots:

Clay pots or Manchatti is made out of earthen clay. We all know clay is porous meaning it has lots of tiny holes and that property of clay provides the unique characteristics for the clay pots. As they are porous, they retain the moisture during the cooking process. It reduces the acidity of the foods and also their inert property (chemically inactive) makes them not to react with foods. But before using the clay pot you need to process them and make it suitable for cooking and stove top. I just followed the instructions given in the package, but pretty much all the clay pots follow the same.

ClayPot

  • Wash them first with Luke warm water with mild soap and rinse it well.
  • Then soak them in water or fill the clay pot with rice stock or water and leave it overnight.
  • The next day remove the water, wipe it dry and apply coconut oil all over the pot and keep on stove top and heat the empty clay pot under medium heat for 5 minutes.
  • Once it is cooled down, add water or rice stock again and leave it overnight.
  • Repeat steps 2 to 4 for four days.

ClayPot2

So here is the super simple, humble and healthy recipe, (both turmeric and pepper powder are used for killing any germs, in Tamil we say kirumi naasani)

ManchattiKeerai

Ingredients:

  • Spinach (I used the regular spinach, you can any other spinach variety) – 10 oz pack 1
  • Oil – 2 tsps
  • Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp
  • Turmeric Powder – a pinch
  • Salt – 1 tsp
  • Pepper Powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Red chilies – 3

Steps:

  • Clean and chop the spinach.

Choppedspinach

  • Heat the clay pot and once it is hot add the oil.
  • Once the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, hing.
  • As they start to splutter, reduce the heat to medium and break the red chillies and add it to the same.

KeeraiKadaiyalStep1

  • Fry for a minute and then add the spinach. (As my clay pot was small, I added half of the spinach and covered it for 2 minutes and then added the remaining half)

KeeraiKadaiyalStep2

  • Cover and cook for 2 minutes.
  • Now add the turmeric powder, salt and pepper powder.

KeeraiKadaiyalStep3

  • Cover and cook again for 3 to 4 minutes.

KeeraiKadaiyalStep4

  • Now using the butter milk churner or matthu, mash the spinach nicely.

KeeraiKadaiyalStep5

  • Cook till all the water evaporates or if you want to be like gravy, add 1 cup of water and mash it again and as it starts to boil turn the heat off.

KeeraiKadaiyalStep6

 

 

Notes:

  • For this quantity, we can add 4 to 5 shallots for additional taste.
  • Mashed moog dal can be added like kootu.
  • Adjust the red chillies and salt according to your preference.
  • As I couldn’t find spinach masher/mathu I went with buttermilk churner / thayir mathu.

ClayPotSpinachCurry

 

Keerai Kadaiyal in Clay Pot
A super simple, humble and healthy spinach recipe prepared in a clay pot in the traditional way and mashed using buttermilk churner.
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Ingredients
  1. Spinach (I used the regular spinach, you can any other spinach variety) - 10 oz pack 1
  2. Oil - 2 tsps
  3. Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  4. Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp
  5. Turmeric Powder - a pinch
  6. Salt - 1 tsp
  7. Pepper Powder - 1/2 tsp
  8. Red chillies - 3
Instructions
  1. Clean and chop the spinach.
  2. Heat the clay pot and once it is hot add the oil.
  3. Once the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, hing.
  4. As they start to splutter, reduce the heat to medium and break the red chillies and add it to the same.
  5. Fry for a minute and then add the spinach. (As my clay pot was small, I added half of the spinach and covered it for 2 minutes and then added the remaining half)
  6. Cover and cook for 2 minutes.
  7. Now add the turmeric powder, salt and pepper powder.
  8. Cover and cook again for 3 to 4 minutes.
  9. Now using the butter milk churner or matthu, mash the spinach nicely.
  10. Cook till all the water evaporates or if you want to be like gravy, add 1 cup of water and mash it again and as it starts to boil turn the heat off.
Notes
  1. For this quantity, we can add 4 to 5 shallots for additional taste.
  2. Mashed moog dal can be added like kootu.
  3. Adjust the red chillies and salt according to your preference.
Vidhya’s Vegetarian Kitchen http://www.vidhyashomecooking.com/
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42 thoughts on “Keerai Kadaiyal in Clay Pot

  1. Awesome post and recipe Vidhya. Love your clay pot, Personally I am a big fan of these kind of traditional props…I have some but your clay pot looks so beautiful..especially its lid :-) thanks for the wonderful recipe with a clay pot, I will try!

    • Thanks a lot Rani.. I love traditional props too. This one we can cook and use it as a prop too naa.. ;-) Please do try and let me know how you liked it. Thanks again.

  2. Wow this is an awesome post..not sure how I missed it!..its wonderful to cook in a new way and the results seem stunning as well..very healthy keerai!

    • Thanks a lot Mir. Ancientcookware site has good collection and they have store in amazon too. I got it from there only. Luckily ancientcookware had free shipping going on. So it was pretty convenient.

  3. SImply love the clay pot! I am going to ask my dad to bring one. He is a super good packer, so hopefully he can get me one without breaking it. I love keerai masiyal, but can never make like my mom does. Your version looks lovely. I am going to try it soon.

  4. Amara

    Never cooked in a clay pot. But my aunt uses clay pots for cooking a lot, it gives a earthy taste to the dish. The dish looks very healthy and yummy Srividhya. Beautiful clicks.

  5. gayathriraani

    I make this once a week in man chatti. There is quite a difference between using man chatti and other vessels. This is so flavourful and tasty…

  6. Butter milk churner for mashing keerai? :) There is separate mathu available for mashing dal and keerai, I brought it from india, but not this thayir mathu!! I think you have done the ulta! ;) :)
    Different way of keerai masiyal! Nice!

    • yeah yaar ulta thingy ;-) ;-) . I couldn’t get them here. I have the potato masher but didn’t want to use it on a clay pot. Then thought why not use the butter milk churner. So went with this. Keerai mathu doesn’t have the claws right?

  7. Awesome Sri.. you managed to get a clay pot! I am super impressed. I am trying to convince S that I need a clay pot too but because of the space constraints, he has been saying no. I love keerai masiyal too and your version sounds very nice. Mine is little different and I so want to try this!
    By the way, steam photography is so difficult to nail right?! I tried and tried for my coffee post and could get only one decent shot. I am yet to spend time and try out more! Your featured shot with steam is pretty nice :) can almost smell the keerai masiyal :D

    • Thanks a lot CH. M didn’t let me bring it from India. I agreed with him because I know how the checkin bags are thrown back and forth. Luckily found them online and got it. Space is one constraint for sure. Somehow I convinced. Yeah da, the keerai masiyal that amma does is also slightly different. I tried it like how my frnd’s mom does. Can’t wait your version. Please post it. :-) Ha tell me about steam photography. To be honest, I havent mastered the regular one itself but I dunno why I jumped on to this. What I read online was, for steam you need to use some artificial gas and stuff. But some say no also. As you said yet to spend time and explore. If you find something please do share. :-)
      Thanks for the feedback.

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