Saturday, September 11, 2021

Ponnaganni Keerai Poricha Kootu

This is a delicious south Indian style poricha kootu with Ponnanganni Keerai aka dwarf copperleaf spinach, or ponnaganti. Poricha kootu is a traditional curry in Iyengar cuisine and is generally made with veggies as well as spinach. Instead of regular amaranth I have used this ponnanganni keerai which has numerous health benefits. It improves eyes, liver function and also enhances energy level. every 100g of this green has 5g protein and 510mg calcium. Thus, it is important to include this in our diet regularly and this recipe fits perfectly well.

In this traditional recipe, urad dal, dried red chilies, and whole black pepper are roasted in oil and ground along with coconut to a paste and added to the cooked spinach, which is simmered. The roasting of dal and spices adds immense flavor to this kootu or curry. Any greens can be used for this recipe. Veggies can be cooked in this style kootu but their quantity would differ than the greens and I would share a recipe soon with veggie.

This curry tastes amazing and lip-smacking with rice. Along with sambhar and rasam rice, this kootu tastes divine. The tempering in ghee gives a classic aroma to this kootu. This curry can be veganized by substituting this with oil and that tastes great too.

Did I tell you that it is easy to grow this plant? All you need is few stems. After picking the leaves, just plant them in good soil and water regularly. It grows well and spreads in all the area around. It can be grown in containers, bags, or barrels too. Harvesting fresh from the garden and cooking immediately adds tons of flavor and freshness to the dish.

This is my second post for this week's Blogging Marathon under the theme "Cooking With Greens". I have shared comforting Gonkura Dal/Gonkura Pappu for this event. This traditional poricha kootu with Ponnanganni keerai is as delicious as the dal. I am also linking this to Wonderful Wednesday.

Different type of greens can be used to make different curries. Check this link to Paruppu keerai in two ways - with dal and another tangy tamarind based curry. They both are addictively delicious. Radish Greens Kootu is another tasty curry and ground coconut-chili-cumin paste adds immense flavor to this curry. Whereas in the Ponnanganni Poricha kootu, the dal and chilies are roasted and then ground with coconut. Greens can also be made as dry curries like in this Agathi Keerai Curry and South Indian Kale Stir-Fry which again pairs great with rice or any cooked grain. Masicha Keerai is yet another curry made with Amaranth leaves and is just the greens mashed with salt and tempered. Try these collection of different curries made with healthy greens.


Ponnaganni keerai  4 cups, loosely packed
Salt - 3/4 tsp
Split moong dhal - 1/3 cup
Turmeric - 1/8 tsp
Water - 3 cups

Roast and Grind

Oil - 1 tsp
Urad dhal - 1 tbsp 
Pepper - 1/4 tsp
Red chilli -2
Coconut - 2 tbsp

For Tempering

Ghee - 1 or 2 tsp
Mustard - 1/2 tsp
Split urad dhal - 1/2 tsp
Cumin - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaf - optional
Asafoetida - 1/8 tsp
Water - 1/4 cup 


Cook the dal in a pressure cooker with a cup of water and a pinch of turmeric and set aside.

Heat oil in a pan. Add the dry red chili, urad dhal and whole black pepper till golden. Cool, add coconut, and grind to a smooth paste, adding water as necessary. Keep it aside.

Cook the greens with two cups of water on a medium flame. After about 5-7 minutes, mash them.

Add the cooked dal and salt, mix, and simmer for a couple of minutes.

Add the ground dal-coconut paste, adjust the consistency with water, check the salt as per taste and simmer for 2-3 minutes.

In a pan, heat ghee/oil. Add the torn red chilies and mustard seeds and when it splutters add the split urad dhal and cumin. Add asafetida, and fry for a few seconds. Pour it onto the kootu.

Transfer to a serving bowl. Serve with steaming rice.


  1. If there is one spinach that I miss here in the US it would be this ponnaganni keerai. Simply love the flavor of it and love poricha kootu with the same. Perfect recipe for this theme.

  2. I love kootu recipes made with both greens or vegetables. I don't have access to this greens locally but I know this kootu must have been a flavorful one.

  3. I love such keerai sadam..we don't get to make this variety that often, though it is so healthy!

  4. Wow! this is such a rare leaf for us here. Love the kotu recipe.