South Indian Style Seasoned Mashed Spinach/ Amaranth Leaves

The Guajillo (wha-hee-oh) chile is the most common dried chile in Mexico after the Ancho. The flavor of the Guajillo is distinct, slightly fruity with a strong piney, berry under taste. Guajillo flavors dished easily so a little goes a long way. This chile is between a 2-4 on the heat scale of 1-10. Guajillo, combined with the Passilla and Ancho, form the holy trinity of chiles used to prepare the traditional mole sauces.

Suggested Use:
A mildly hot chile. Use in sauces, salsa, soups and your favorite chile. A little goes a long way.

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3 large bunches of spinach
1/4 cup water
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste
1 1/2 tsp sesame seed oil (or any oil of choice)
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 1/2 tsp black gram lentils (urad dal)
2 or 3 dried red chiles, broken into 2 or 3 pieces
1/4 tsp asafoetida powder


Pick the leaves along with some part of the stem (tender part) and wash them well. Immerse the leaves, for half an hour, in water to which about a couple of tsps of salt has been added. Drain the water out and rinse the leaves a couple of times.

Lightly steam cook or microwave the spinach leaves with very little water. Usually, turmeric is added to the spinach leaves while cooking. I prefer to add my turmeric much later as it keeps my Mashiyal a nice bright green colour rather than a slightly yellowish green. The taste is much the same and its just a matter of preference.

Let the spinach cool and then mash them well. Alternately, break down the leaves using a hand blender. Traditionally, the leaves should not be puréed but have a bit of texture to them. I however do not like small bits in my Mashiyal, so tend to purée the spinach.

Put the mashed spinach into a pan and place it on the stove top. Add salt to taste and turmeric and just bring to a boil and then let it simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Take it off the heat. Transfer the Mashiyal into a serving dish.

In a small pan, heat the sesame seed oil and add the mustard seeds. When they splutter, add the black gram lentils. Stir till they start browning and then add the red chiles and the asafoetida powder. Do not let it burn. Stir once or twice and pour the tempering into the mashed spinach.

Stir well and serve warm as a side dish with rice. This recipe serves 3 to 4 people.