My earliest memories of eating Keerai sadham are of the time when I was around 14 years of age and every saturday morning my mother would get huge bundles of fresh spinach leaves from an old woman who sold it home to home where I lived in Madras; I remember how up until that time I had been that archetypal kid who hates all things green, but somehow eating the distinctly coloured green rice with mango pickle and crumbled potato chips seemed like the most natural thing to do on a Saturday afternoon, all while cosily watching Heidi on Cartoon Network with my sisters.
While I do not get fresh hand-picked Spinach brought to my doorstep on the 11th floor of a building in the middle of the city every weekend, I still make it a point to cook the dish just like my mother used to. For old times’ sake. Over time, I have modified it slightly and have come up with a microwave version that saves one a lot of time. Here’s the recipe for it…
For about 250 gr of Spinach, add two tomatoes, one onion, three green chillies and 8 cloves of garlic. Now I haven’t bothered to peel the Garlic pods here, all because it will slip out easily with a squeeze once it gets cooked down in the microwave.
After about 6 or 7 minutes in the microwave, this is what it looks like. After everything has steamed down to a mush, you could either use a potato masher or a hand blender to further squash it into a pulp. Now all that remains to be done is to temper it with some mustard seeds, cummin, urad dal, sliced onions and red chillies in hot oil and pour it right back into pulped Spinach. I like to eat it by mixing it in a bowl of hot rice, usually with a boiled egg, some chips or poppadoms.
And there it is, the best comfort food for my homesick soul.