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A Beginner’s Guide to Tamil Greens: Wild Amaranths [Arakeerai] in Pasta and Rice

2016 August 14

This post has two inspirations: my first and truer one is just to explore what amaranths can do when taken out of the ambit of Indian cookery, while the second snarkier one is to poke fun at the hyper-trendy naming conventions that glorify all these purported latest super-foods (that the rest of the world has been eating routinely for decades before they became superfoods–bit like Columbus “discovering” the Americas).

paticheri_pasta with mushrooms and wild amaranth

Take-home point: Just eat lots of greens, ok? They’re good for you. But if you’re using arakeerais, bear in mind they’re warming foods, so better consumed in cooler months than in hot summers. In the summer months, substitute mulaikeerai or sirukeerai, instead. They’re all wild enough, and can be micro-enough. So that way you can have your trending superfood and eat it, too.


So, I present to you: Linguine with wild amaranths and mushrooms, and a Rice casserole with vegetables and micro-greens, seasoned with chipotle and guajillo.

paticheri_arakeerai stirfry2

paticheri_rice with paneer beans and wild amaranth

Chipotle-Guajillo Rice Casserole with Wild Amaranth Greens
  1. 1 cup of long grained rice, cooked
  2. 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  3. 5 cloves garlic, minced
  4. 2-3 shallots, diced
  5. 2 cups mixed vegetables and beans: any combination you like of diced peppers, pinto beans, corn, peas, and mushrooms.
  6. 1 slab panneer or Indian cottage cheese, cut into cubes (optional)
  7. 1 teaspoon dried guajillo powder (or 1/2 a dry guajillo chilli, powdered)
  8. 1 teaspoon chipotle powder (or 1/2 a dry chipotle pepper, powdered in an electric mill)
  9. Salt to taste
  10. 1 bunch Amaranth greens [Arakeerai, but any amaranth variety works as well], roughly chopped
  11. 1 cup of cheddar or other sharp cheese, grated
  1. In a wide pan or wok, heat the oil until it is nearly smoking
  2. Add the minced garlic, and sauté briefly -- then add the shallots and fry until they are translucent but not yet browning
  3. Add your vegetables: peppers first, if you're using, then peas, corn, beans and so on.
  4. Add the panneer, if you're using.
  5. Add the chipotle and guajillo powders, and salt to taste (about 1 1/2 teaspoons works fine)
  6. Mix well, and let the vegetables cook on a medium flame. Once they're done, add the amaranth greens a handful at a time, allowing them to wilt before adding the next handful.
  7. Next: slowly add in the cooked rice. Mix very gently, so as to incorporate without breaking the long grains up too much.
  8. Tip the rice into a baking dish, and sprinkle the grated cheddar on top.
  9. Bake at 350F/180C until the cheese has melted (about 5-7 minutes).
  10. Serve hot.
Linguine with Mushrooms Wild Amaranth Greens
  1. 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  2. 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  3. 2-3 shallots, diced
  4. A packet of button mushrooms, sliced
  5. A bunch of Amaranth greens [Arakeerai, but use any variety], cleaned and roughly chopped
  6. Salt and pepper to taste
  7. 1 cup of light cream
  8. Parmesan cheese to garnish and serve
  9. A few amaranth leaves, to garnish
  10. Linguine enough to serve 2-3 people
  1. Get ready to cook your pasta according to the directions given.
While that's happening, prepare the sauce/accompaniment
  1. In a wide pan, heat the extra virgin olive oil until it is near smoking.
  2. Add the minced garlic and stir quickly to keep from burning--then follow with the diced shallots. Fry these until they are translucent but not browning.
  3. Still on high heat, toss in the mushrooms and mix well. As the mushrooms start to cook, they will release water. Allow this to evaporate partially.
  4. Next, add the chopped amaranth, a handful at a time, waiting only until the greens wilt slightly before adding the next handful.
  5. Once you've added in all the greens, lower heat to medium-low, and add a cup of light cream and heat only until the cream is warmed thoroughly.
  6. When the pasta is al-dente, drain, add a touch of olive oil to keep it from sticking, and serve with the mushroom-amaranth mixture spooned on top.
  7. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and garnish with fresh amaranth leaves.

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2 Responses Post a comment
  1. August 17, 2016

    I keep meaning to grow these, and when I go I’m making that linguine! (Minus the mushrooms – the other half doesn’t like them 🙁 ). Thanks for sharing!

    • September 14, 2016

      Thanks for the comment! (and so sorry for my unpardonably late reply {smiles sheepishly}). If you do make, minus mushrooms and plus whatever else you please, I’d love a photo!

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