"Vaali" is what we call Malabar Spinach in my mother tongue, Konkani. This is called "Basale Soppu" in Kannada. The Malabar Spinach is a climbing vine much akin to the usual spinach. It is also called Vine Spinach. This plant has numerous health benefits.
Even with the limited space available in a balcony garden, I have grown Vaali in pots which comes in handy from time to time. You can easily grow them by planting the firm stem in a pot.
Elsewhere in this blog you will find other recipes for dishes made with Malabar Spinach such as:-
Today's recipe is for another popular Konkani dish- made with Malabar spinach - called Vaali Bhendi.
In our cuisine, a bhendi is a spicy coconut-based side dish made with legumes or vegetables topped with a seasoning of garlic.
In this side dish, we use both the leaves and the stems of the spinach which we call Dhento.
Tip: I usually add 1 tsp of raw rice while grinding the masala to improve its texture.
- Vaali ( Malabar Spinach), one bunch or about 250- 300 gms
- Coconut Gratings, 1 cup
- Roasted Red Chillies, 6-7
- Tamarind, size of a small marble
- Raw Rice, 1 tsp
- Salt, to taste
- Garlic Cloves, lightly crushed, 8-10
- Oil, 1 tbsp
Wash the Vaali leaves and the stems
Remove the Vaali leaves from the stems and chop them roughly
Select the tender stems and chop them. Keep aside
In a vessel cook the Vaali leaves and tender stems in adequate water
Chop the remaining not so tender stems (Dhento) into 1" pieces
Cook the dhento in a pressure cooker or in a vessel separately as these take longer to cook
In a mixer jar grind together the coconut gratings, roasted red chillies, tamarind and raw rice to a smooth paste adding just the required amount of water
Add the ground paste and salt to taste to the cooked Vaali leaves, tender stems and the dhento and mix well
Adjust the consistency by adding required amount of water and bring to a boil
Then lower the flame and let it simmer for 4-5 minutes stirring from time to time
In a small seasoning pan, heat 1 tbsp of oil and when it gets hot add the lightly crushed garlic cloves and sauté till they become golden brown
Add the seasoning to the Vaali Bhendi
Serve hot with steamed rice