Amaranth Leaves (Pigweed) Bhaji
Cholaii Saag Bhaji
Late Sri Suresh Chandra Gupta
Note from Mamta: this is something my father used to cook. Having spent his childhood in the small village of Barhapur, Uttar-Pradesh, he grew up surrounded by farms and mountain rivers, where this vegetable probably grew wild. He was fond of unusual saags (leafy vegetables) that are not often seen in city shops. He always grew a selection of leaf vegetables in his garden. I too grew this saag from a seed packet (properly certified, disease free seeds). This one is red Amaranth, but green is more common in India.
Keep the spices in this dish as low as possible and avoid adding garlic, onion, ginger etc., in order to get taste the leaves. Serves 2-3
2 cups fresh, red or green amaranth leaves
1 small tomato, chopped or 1/4 lime
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
1 green chilli, chopped, or 1/4 tsp. chilli powder
1/2 tsp. salt, adjust to taste
Wash and drain leaves, remove any hard stalks. Chop the leaves and tender stalks roughly.
Heat oil in a wok. Add cumin seeds.
When seeds crackle, add chopped leaves, turmeric and salt.
Fry for a few seconds, then turn the heat down and cook covered until leaves look fried, about 10 minutes. You can add a small chopped tomato or a few halved cherry tomatoes, as shown in the main picture here. Alternatively, you can add a squirt of lime juice, just to give it a little bit of bite.