Popeye the Sailor Man

“I’m Popeye the Sailor Man, 
I’m Popeye the Sailor Man. 
I’m strong to the finich 
Cause I eats me spinach. 
I’m Popeye the Sailor Man.” 

This is the first thing that comes to me when I look at spinach.

I don’t make keerai as much as I would like to, as I hate cleaning it. The keerai/spinach bunch you get here is freshly picked and hence has the roots too. So unless you clean it thoroughly, you will end up eating ‘sand-y keerai’.

This time, my father cleaned and cut the leaves for me. I was planning to make a simple keerai thoran (dry curry with coconut). I started off confidently and soon after noticed that there is way too much water in it. In my hurry to cook , I had forgotten to let the leaves drain!! So instead of making a watery version of a dry curry, I switched modes and made Harry’s favorite puli keerai masial.

This puli keerai masial (spinach cooked with tamarind and mashed nicely) has been on Harry’s weekend menu for a long time. He hasn’t displayed any superhuman strength like Popeye yet,  but who knows – this weekend’s spinach dosage might just do the trick :-D!


Keerai/Amaranth/Spinach : 1 bunch, cleaned and chopped

Tamarind : a small gooseberry sized, soaked in water

Asafoetida : a pinch

Salt : to taste

Oil : 1 tsp

Mustard seeds : 1 tsp

Urad dal : 1 tsp

Dried Red Chillies : 1 or 2

Optional (But I did it anyway):

Coconut : 1/4 – 1/2 cup

Jeera/Cumin seeds : 1/2 tsp

Green chillies : 1 or 2


  1. Extract juice from the soaked tamarind or use 1 tsp tamarind paste.
  2. Cook the keerai in a heavy bottom kadai with 1/2 cup water, tamarind extract, salt and asafoetida.
  3. Mash nicely with a ladle while it is cooking.
  4. When the keerai is cooked and mashed nicely, keep aside.
  5. Heat oil in a small pan. Add mustard seeds.
  6. When it splutters, add urad dal.
  7. Add to the keerai masial and serve.


You can grind coconut (1/4 – 1/2 cup),  jeera (1 tsp) and green chillies(1 or 2) and add this mixure to the masial while its cooking.

 Easier version:

  1. Pressure cook the cleaned spinach with tamarind extract for 1 whistle and let it cool.
  2. Blend in a mixer (I prefer food processor with chopping blade).
  3. Heat oil in a pan. Add asafoetida and mustard seeds.
  4. Add urad dal, after mustard splutters.
  5. Add to the keerai masial and serve.

3 thoughts on “Popeye the Sailor Man

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