Thotakura Pappu - Amaranth leaves and lentils

thotakura pappu, Chinese spinach, callaloo, bayam, kulitis, kalunay, chaulai, chua, harive, cheera, mulai keerai, shravani maath, khada saga, koora thmpala, choraiya bhaji
Thotakura Pappu is a delectable blend of green leaves and lentils cooked with spices. Here for green leafy vegetable amaranth leaves have been used. This recipe is in the name of Thotakura pappu, a Andhra cuisine. Cooked amaranth leaves are a good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, and folate; they are also a complementing source of other vitamins, such as thiamine, niacin, and riboflavin, plus some dietary minerals, including calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, copper and manganese. 

Also known as Chinese spinach or callaloo in Caribbean cooking, amaranth is a tall plant with broad leaves. The green leaves are sturdy and have a good, slightly sweet flavour. In Indonesia and Malaysia, leaf amaranth is called bayam, while the Tagalogs in the Philippines call the plant kilitis or 'kulitis'. The Ilocanos (Philippines) call it 'kalunay'. In the state of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar in India, it is called Chaulai and is a popular green leafy vegetable (referred to in the class of vegetable preparations called saag). It is called Chua in Kumaun area of Uttarakhand, where it is a popular red-green vegetable. In Karnataka state in India, it is called Harive. In the state of Kerala, it is called 'Cheera'. In Tamil Nadu State, it is called 'Mulai keerai'. Andhra Pradesh this leaf is called thotakura. In Maharashtra, it is called 'Shravani Maath'. In Orissa, it is called 'Khada saga'. In Sri Lanka, it is called 'koora thampala'. Fiji Indians call it choraiya bhaji. 


1. Split Red gram lentil (Tur dal) - 1/2 to 3/4th cup
2. Amaranth Leaves (Thotakura) - 1 bunch (take only the leaves leaving the stems)
3. Green Chillies - 5 to 6 nos.
4. Tomatoes - 2 nos. (if its cherry tomatoes increase the no. to 6 to 7)
5. Onion - 1 no.
6. Garlic pods - 5 to 6 nos.
7. Curry leaves - 5 to 6 nos.
8. Mustard seeds - 1 tsp.
9. Asafoetida - a pinch
10. Oil - 2 to 3 tsp.
11. Salt to taste

Cooking Method:

1. In a cooking pot add cleaned tur dal, green chilies, tomatoes, a pinch of turmeric and sufficient water. Bring this to boil as shown in the picture below. Once its boiling, now close the lid, and if using pressure cooker lock the lid.

2. Do not over cook the dal. Cook it 3/4th as the dal again gets cooked with the green leaves as well.

3. Once done, remove the lid of the pressure cooker after the steam is released and now at this point add amaranth leaves (thotakura).

4. Cook till the green leaves are tender. Add salt at this point and mash it with the spatula. and keep the flame low once done.

5. Heat oil in the pan seperately and add mustard seeds. Once this splutters add curry leaves, garlic pods (remove the skin of it) and onions into it. After 2 min add this tempering into the dal and cook for 5 min in a low flame giving it a thorough stir.

6. The thotakura pappu is done and can be best relished with rice or any Indian breads like chapathis and rotis, adding little ghee/clarified butter.

thotakura pappu, Chinese spinach, callaloo, bayam, kulitis, kalunay, chaulai, chua, harive, cheera, mulai keerai, shravani maath, khada saga, koora thmpala, choraiya bhaji


1. In place of amaranth leaves, even other leafy vegetable can be used in the same way. Spinach leaves, fenugreek leaves, or any other depending upon the avilability.

2. Two or more variety of leafy vegetables also can be combined for a different taste and the cooking method can be followed as it is.

3. While pressure cooking, along with lentils even the leafy vegetables. But to retain the nutrition value do not over cook the leafy vegetables.

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