Thotakura Pesarapappu fry | Amarnath leaves moong dal fry
Last Updated on July 15, 2023 by Santosh Allada
Thotakura Pesarapappu Fry (vepudu) is Andhra’s special dish. It is an easy and quick stir-fry dish made with the goodness of amaranth leaves and moong dal. It is very light on the stomach and goes very well with any Indian flatbread or steamed rice.
Leafy vegetables are an important part of the diet as they are nutritionally dense, low in calories and fat, full of fiber, and have many health benefits. But, unfortunately, they can be boring and one makes different faces to eat them. It was the same situation with me too.
Andhra cuisine has elaborate traditional dishes. For today, I have a delicious and healthy stir-fry recipe with amarnath leaves.
About Thotakura Pesarapappu Fry Recipe
Thotakura Pesarapappu Fry recipe is an authentic Andhra dish made with amaranth leaves along with lentils.
In the Telugu-speaking region, this leafy vegetable is called Thotakura and in Maharashtra, it is called Math Bhaji. During childhood, mom used to make dal by adding leaves to it. It’s one of the best-tasting dals. Will share the recipe soon.
Basically, I love this leafy vegetable stir fry served with our South Indian meals. People in the South are rice eaters. The order of a meal is to start with the first morsel with a pickle. This is followed by one or more koora varieties (dry/gravy curry).
A combination of hot steamed rice, and a generous amount of ghee, it’s a match made in heaven. Health bhi Taste bhi.
I had thotakura vepudu with rice at my aunt’s (mother’s elder sister’s) house and instantly liked it. The combination was one of the best. It had many different flavors. My aunt did not believe me when I said that I never had thotakura pesarapappu vepudu during childhood.
When asked for the recipe, it was surprising to know that the dish needs just 6-7 ingredients. She also suggested adding soaked moong dal.
I have tried both variations, thotakura with and without moong dal. Of the two, I liked moong dal. It adds bite to the dish and additional health benefits too. So, today I will share the recipe for Thotakura pesarapappu fry.
What are the health benefits of Amarnath leaves?
Amarnath leaves are much superior to most green leafy vegetables because they are a powerhouse of nutrients. After knowing the health benefits, it has become one of my favorite leafy vegetables after spinach and fenugreek (methi) leaves.
They contain high amounts of Vitamin A, C, K, and Folate which are good for the eyes and strengthen the immune system.
They are rich in Iron, magnesium, and phosphorus which are essential for overall health. Also, help to restore iron levels.
Consuming them frequently reduces the risk of hypertension and protects the heart.
Loaded with natural minerals and nutrients that reduce inflammation throughout the body.
A source of protein for vegans.
Fiber-rich food that promotes healthy bowel movements. Because of fiber, they are easy to digest.
Full of potassium which is higher than spinach.
Contains Calcium which strengthens the bones, and teeth.
Supports weight loss too.
1. Like with any leafy vegetables, the amaranth leaves reduce drastically after cooking. So make sure you start with a good quantity.
2. Soak moong dal for 30-60 minutes. It reduces the cooking time of the lentil and avoids bloating too.
3. If possible buy leaves which are small in size. They are tender, so they take less time to cook and taste better.
4. If the stem is tender/thin, you can chop it and include it in the dish. If the stems are thick, discard them.
5. Treat these greens as you would any other leafy vegetables. As they grow close to the ground, they can accumulate quite a bit of dirt/sand, so wash them properly.
6. Add sliced onions and saute them till soft. This adds a slight sweetness to the dish.
7. Fresh leafy green vegetables naturally contain little salt. So, add less salt while cooking and adjust if needed towards the end.
Leafy vegetable: In this recipe, I have used Amarnath leaves.
Lentils: moong dal, also known as petite yellow lentils, split mung dal, or split yellow mung beans.
Onion: I like to add onions as they add a crunch. However, it’s optional.
Ground Spices: turmeric powder.
Tempering: oil of choice, mustard seeds, cumin, garlic, curry leaves, green chilies, and dry red chilies.
How to make Thotakura Pesarapappu Fry
1. Rinse the lentil well until the water runs clear and soak for at least 30 minutes.
2. Select the leaves with tender stems. If there are leaves with thick stems, chop the leaves and discard the stems.
Then, fill a wide bowl with water and immerse the leaves in the water. With your fingers swirl and wash the leaves thoroughly. Let the leaves float to the top and carefully scoop them out allowing the sand to settle in the bottom. Repeat this a couple of times if there is more dirt/sand.
Chop them roughly.
3. Heat oil in a wide pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add crushed/chopped garlic, mustard seeds, and cumin. Let the seeds crackle.
4. Next, add slit green chilies, dry red chilies, and curry leaves. Saute until the leaves turn crisp.
5. Then add the sliced onions and saute until they are soft.
6. Turn the flame to low and dd the soaked lentils without water. Stir for 30 seconds.
7. Add the chopped thotakura leaves and stir well.
The leaves will start to wilt down as it cooks.
8. Next add salt and turmeric powder. Stir well.
9. Cover the pan with a tight-fitting lid and cook on low flame until the leaves and lentils are tender.
10. After 5 minutes, remove the lid and give a good stir. Repeat the steps until lentils are cooked but retain their shape.
If the leaves do not release water, add a splash of water.
11. Lastly, simmer on low flame until the water reduces completely.
Thotakura Pesarapappu Fry is ready.
Serve this thotakura pesarapappu fry as a side dish with roti, phulka, chapati, plain parathas, jowar bhakri, or rice flour bhakri.
You can also serve it with plain steamed rice, or basmati rice.
Once the dish has cooled down to room temperature, you can store this dish or any leftovers in the refrigerator in a clean and dry airtight container for 2-3 days.
Before serving, reheat in a microwave or in a pan over the stovetop.
1. To make plain thotakura stir fry, you can skip the lentils completely from the recipe.
2. Can add urad dal and chana dal to the tempering as they add a slight crunch to the dish.
3. Can replace moong dal with toor dal or chana dal.
4. The thotakura pesarapappu fry recipe is pretty adaptable. You can skip onions.
5. Usually, red chili powder is not added to this stir-fry dish. But, if you prefer heat, add as per your taste towards the end.
More Related Recipes
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Thotakura Pesarapappu fry
- 250 gms Thotakura/Amarnath leaves (washed and chopped)
- 1/4 cup Moong dal (washed and soaked for an hour)
- 3 tsp Oil
- 3-5 cloves Garlic (crushed or chopped)
- 1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
- 2 numbers Dry red chilies
- 2-3 numbers Green chilies (slit)
- 1 medium Onion (sliced)
- 6-8 Curry leaves
- 1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
- Salt to taste
- Rinse the lentils until water runs clear and soak for at least 30minutes.
- Select the leaves with tender stems. If there are leaves with thick stems, chop the leaves and discard the stems.
- Then, fill a wide bowl with water and immerse the leaves in the water. With your fingers swirl and wash the leaves thoroughly. Let the leaves float to the top and carefully scoop them out allowing the sand to settle in the bottom. Repeat this a couple of times if there is more dirt/sand.
- Chop them roughly.
- Heat oil in a wide pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add crushed/chopped garlic, mustard seeds, and cumin. Let the seeds crackle.
- Next, add slit green chilies, dry red chilies, and curry leaves. Saute until the leaves turn crisp.
- Add the sliced onions and saute until they are soft.
- Add the soaked lentils without water and stir for 30 seconds.
- Add the chopped thotakura leaves and stir well.
- Next, add salt and turmeric powder. Stir well.
- Cover the pan with a tight fitting lid and cook on low flame until the leaves and lentils are tender.
- After 5 minutes, remove the lid and give a good stir.
- Repeat the steps until the lentils are cooked but retain their shape.
- Lastly, simmer on low flame until the water reduces completely.
- Thotakura Pesarapappu Fry is ready.