Summer is the season to consume lots of leafy greens - some more than the others - because of their nutritive value. Take Amaranth leaves, or chawli, for example. Due to sweating, you lose a lot of minerals and other micro-nutrients stored in the body, and you need the right diet to replenish them.  “Amaranth leaves are a rich source of beta-carotene, iron and selenium,” says Neelanjana Singh, a nutrition consultant at Heinz Nutrilife clinic and president of the Delhi chapter of the Indian Dietetic Association. “It’s best to consume seasonal vegetables anyway, as nature automatically adapts to the nutritive needs of that season.” It's easy to go on a diet in the summer - the hot weather brings on a distaste of anything fried and spicy and the tendency is to tuck in to a salad or nibble on leafy greens. But you don’t have to do anything quite so drastic: we have put together three recipes using amaranth leaves, which are not only easy to prepare, but also easy on the system.  

Harive Hashi

01 summer veggie guide amaranth leaves

This easy dish is made using blanched amaranth, yoghurt and ground coconut – it’s akin to a raita, in fact. And it works gloriously on hot summer evenings. Besides, it can be made in a jiffy. Ingredients: 4 cups amaranth leaves, finely chopped ¾ cup thick yogurt 1 cup fresh/frozen coconut 2-3 green chilies 1 tsp sesame seeds For Tempering 1 tsp coconut oil ½ tsp black mustard seeds 1 dry red chilli Preparation: Steam or cook the amaranth leaves with as little water as possible. Cook the leaves only until they wilt and not till they’re mushy and lose their vibrant green colour. Fry green chilies and the sesame seeds in a drop of coconut oil, until the sesame seeds begin to pop. Blend coconut, green chili and sesame seeds with a little bit of salt in a smooth paste. Add the yogurt and the cooked amaranth leaves and mix everything well. Temper the mustard seeds and dry red chili in a little oil and pour it over the hashi. Recipe and Image Courtesy: Love Food Eat  

Chaulai Dal

02 summer veggie guide amaranth leaves

This is an easy dish, with simple flavours, which could very well turn out to be comfort food. It provides everything from protein to fibre and iron - eat it with a couple of jowar rotis for a healthy meal. Ingredients: ½ cup toor dal Salt to taste 1 lemon-sized ball of tamarind 1 bunch amaranth leaves 1 onion 10 curry leaves 5 cloves garlic 3 green chilies, slit vertically ½ tsp dry red chili flakes 1 pinch turmeric powder 1 pinch asafoetida ½ tsp cumin seeds ½ tsp mustard seeds 2 tsp oil 1 tsp kasoori methi (fenugreek leaves) Preparation: Soak the dal in plain water for 30 minutes and pressure-cook in 1 ½ cups of water, and a pinch of turmeric powder. Set aside to cool and mash the dal lightly. Soak tamarind in half a cup of warm water for 20 minutes and extract the juice. Chop garlic and onions finely. Wash amaranth greens well. Pick the fresh leaves and tender stems for use. Heat oil in a pan and add the spices, garlic and slit green chilies. When the garlic turns golden, add curry leaves and chopped onions and fry till golden brown. Add chopped amaranth leaves, and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes. Pour tamarind extract into the pan and allow it to simmer till the leaves are cooked and combine with the mashed dal. Serve! Recipe and Image Courtesy: Steaming Pot  

Amaranth Green Salad with Asian Dressing

03 summer veggie guide amaranth leaves

Dal may taste great, but a chilled salad is what we all crave in this weather. Ingredients: 1 big bowl of washed, trimmed amaranth greens Seasonal veggies, chopped into bite-sized pieces ¼ cup olive oil ¼ cup soy sauce (dilute with water if it’s too strong) 3 or more tbsp fresh sesame seeds 1-3 tbsp toasted sesame seed oil 1-3 cloves finely minced garlic 1 tbsp or more fresh grated ginger Black pepper to taste 1-3 tbsps finely chopped fresh basil Preparation: Mix the greens with the other salad veggies (or simply sprinkle the non-leafy veggies on top). For the dressing, mix the oils, soy sauce, sesame seeds, garlic, ginger, black pepper and basil in a bowl and whisk until emulsified. Just before serving, pour the dressing over the salad and use clean hands to lightly toss the vegetables until they are thinly coated. Serve! Recipe and Image Courtesy: Appalachian Feet

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