‘Soppu’ is the kannada word for green leaf vegetables. There are many different varieties of greens, like Menthya(fenugreek), sabasige(Dill), palak(Spinach), pudina(Mint), etc, used in making innumerable numbers of dishes. One of the popular varieties in Bangalore is the Dantina soppu or Green Amaranthus. The pictures can be seen here http://www.missouriplants.com/Greenalt/Amaranthus_spinosus_page.html
The young stems and green leaves of the plant are used for making delicious sambhar and curry (Palya in Kannada). It is very nutritious, with high iron content, and is said to be an excellent food for people who are anemic. It is a great food for pregnant women.
This recipe is for a curry made using the Dantina soppu. I usually substitute palak for this, since Dantu is not easy to find in Grocery stores here. This dish goes great with hot rice and ghee.
Ingredients (To serve 4)-
Amaranthus or Palak- 1 large bunch, finely shredded
Green Chilies-2 or 3
Toor Dal- ½ cup
Peanuts- a fist full
Tamarind- ½ Tspn paste or a small lemon sized ball soaked in water
Jaggery or sugar- ½ Tspn
Vangibhath powder (Any store bought brand) – 1 Tspn
Sambhar powder (Any store bought brand) – 1 Tspn
Jeera- ½ Tspn
Fenugreek seeds- ½ Tspn
Fresh Coconut- 1 Tbspn
Curry leaves- 1 sprig
Mustard Seeds- ½ Tspn
Asafetida- a pinch or two
Oil/Ghee for Tempering
Salt- To taste
Dry roast the jeera and the fenugreek seeds. Add these to the greens. Pressure cook the greens, toor dal, peanuts, green chilies, jeera and fenugreek seeds with a little oil, turmeric, and some salt, for 2 whistles. Do not add too much water. The peanuts should also be cooked.
To the cooked mixture, add the tamarind, the vangibhath powder, sambhar powder, jaggery, and the coconut. Heat the oil in a small hand held kadai, add the mustard seeds, after they stop spluttering, add the asafetida, and the curry leaves. Add the tempering to the Curry and check for seasoning.