Indian spinach or malabar spinach, [Basella alba] a leafy vegetable is a perennial vine known as 'Vali ' in konkani, ' Basale ' in kannada or ' Mayalu ' in marathi. You will find this creeper grown mostly in the backyard of the houses across the konkan region or coastal Karnataka. This can be grown easily by planting its stem in the soil. The leaves of this greens are broader and thicker than the regular spinach.
We prepare different dishes from this greens such as ambat, bendi, randayi with different combinations such as addition of raw papaya or jackfruit seeds. The use of tender stems of this leafy vegetable in any dish makes it even more tasty. The seasoning can be with onions or mustard seeds and curry leaves. Today, I post the recipe of popular konkani curry "Vali Ambat"
Vaali/ Chinese spinach 1 bunch
Tur dal 1/4 cup
Coconut, fresh or frozen 1 cup
Red chillies roast in few tsp of oil
Tamarind marble sized 1
Jaggery 1 tbsp [optional]
Pluck the leaves from stems. Use the stems if only they are tender. Wash and clean the leaves as well as stems. Roughly chop the leaves and cut the tender stems 1 inches long.
Wash toor dal and pressure cook it. Mash the cooked dal and keep it aside. For masala/ gravy, grind roasted red chillies, tamarind and coconut to a smooth paste. Meanwhile, cook the chopped leaves along with stems and one diced onion separately in a vessel. Mix the ground masala, jaggery, salt as per the taste to the above vessel and add enough water to get desired consistency. Mix well and cook for some more time.
Now heat coconut oil in a spatula on low flame and add finely chopped onions. Saute it till the onions turn brown on low flame itself. Add this seasoning to the cooked curry, switch off the flame and cover the vessel with lid. Alternately you can use mustard seeds and curry leaves for seasoning in place of onions. Serve it hot with rice.