Farmer’s Market Find: Purslane Dal(Paruppu Keerai Dal)

Look what I found at the Farmers Market.

If you have never been to your local farmer’s market. Let this post be a beckoning invitation to you. Farmer’s markets are one of my latest pet peeves right now. I make visits almost every summer..but not as regularly as I have been doing lately. You can find there a variety of vegetables that you cannot find elsewhere..not to mention the other perks such as buying local, buying fresh, buying organic and buying at a more sensible/bargain price.

One of the other perks that I love the the conversations that you can strike up with most people at the farm stands. You can get tips anywhere from how to cook it, how to store it and how it tastes and what wine it pairs with. It personalizes produce for me..And, while I stand washing and chopping the beautiful leaves of my mysterious greens, I envision how my produce was harvested and brought to me my the lady at the farm stand and her young son. Somehow it reminds me of that personal relationship that my mom had with the ‘keerai kara amma'(Greens Selling Lady), back home in India.

I remember the lady selling greens..Her sari pleats tucked in on an angle, she comes bearing on her head a wide basket full of fresh greens, tucked away behind a wet towel to keep em protected from the sun..she walks down every street early in the morning…calling out the names of her merchandise in a rhythmic sing song voice…that kinda gets stuck on your head. And my mom calls her over, checks the produce and buys it from her…not without bargain. 🙂 I wonder how it would be, to have someone like that over here in the US. Of course they would do that in trucks or whatever….Hi-Fi it a little…but why don’t they do it?? surprised I was to find ‘paruppu keerai’ at the farmers market..After inquiring the lady selling it, I learned that it is eaten here in the US and is called Purslane. In the above picture you see two bunches of Purslane and all it cost me was 65 cents. Yep, these babies were 3 bunches for $1. I picked up two and made a delicious dal out of it.

2 small bunches paruppu keerai
1 cup masoor dal
1 small onion chopped
1 small tomato chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste

To grind:
1/4 cup grated coconut
3 red chillies
1 tsp cumin

For tadka:
1 tsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard
1/2 tsp urad dal
1/2 tsp cumin
1 pinch of asafoetida
2 red chillies
curry leaves, a sprig

Wash and chop the paruppu keerai, including the stems. Grind the ingredients under ‘to grind’ to a fine paste. Place the masoor dal, turmeric powder, salt, onion and tomato in a pan with enough water to cover. Cook until the masoor dal is cooked, but not too soft. Add the ground paste and the chopped greens to the pan and cook until everything comes together. Add the lemon juice and stir to combine.

In a small pan, do the tadka by heating the oil, splutter the mustard seeds. Add the urad dal and cumin seeds. Then add the red chillies, asafoetida and the curry leaves. Add it to the dal. Serve hot with white rice and paapads.

Verdict: The dal has a slight bitterness to it that was offset beautifully with the creamy dal and the tang from the lemon juice. The freshness of the greens made the dal so tasty….yum!

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  1. Looking forward to trying the recipe but FYI pet peeve means something that annoys you. I don’t think you meant to say that farmers markets are the latest thing that annoys you.

  2. This daal looks very delicious.Lovely write up of memories and I sure agree with you that it would be nice if they sell fresh greens here in the streets just like they do icecream for kids.

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