Bachali Koora (Malabar Spinach) Pappu

Bachali Koora (Malabar Spinach) Pappu

When I was a kid I hated eating bachali koora (Malabar Spinach) or chukka koora (Green Sorrel) or paala koora (Spinach). The green leafy veggies just made me sick. I hated it so much that my sister and I would try to escape without eating it. I really hated it. Mom and Dad were adamant that I had a huge portion of it. Mom made sure that she gave me the same in my box. We would hate it so much when our friends would love it and I wouldn’t understand why. Our home had dal every day for 6 days and we had to eat it. Sometimes there was leftover dal and we had to eat it for dinner too. We would groan and whine and make a scene. Dad would just get his stern eyes out and mom would ask us to stop bickering, but we never did stop. Mom made it good, but we hated it because we had to eat every week. And green leafy vegetables were cheap and really healthy. Growing up in a middle-class family, parents are always thinking about how to get enough nutrients into the kid. Only since I’ve become a mother I learned how hard it is. Not only should I think about the nutrients but also the taste. If Arlo feels that there isn’t enough salt in the food, he won’t even get it near his mouth (kids these days!)

When I moved to the US, I thought yay, I don’t need to eat dal six times a week. And I would make it like once a week. And then I started to miss mom. And then I started to miss all her pappus. I suddenly wished I hadn’t whined about them and that she was trying her best. Growing up my mom didn’t know a whole variety of dishes to make and there wasn’t YouTube or Google at home yet to help her out. There weren’t many cooking shows on TV either. As I started getting into my teens, I would pester my mom for noodles, for fried rice, for biriyani, for pani puri, for pav bhaji, for chole and a whole lot more and she didn’t know where to learn them. She kept trying every single time. She would get this whole pack of noodles and try to make them in different ways. She taught me to experiment with cooking. She taught me that the first time it won’t be great and everyone would probably hate it, but as you keep trying you get better at it. She never verbally told me this, I just saw how hard she tried to impress us and I was such a brat and gave her a hard time. Whatever she made was amazing and tasty, even Pooh loved it. So here is the recipe to the dal I hated so much and now love it too much.


Bachali Koora (Malabar Spinach) – 1 bundle (or 4 cups chopped)

Raw Mango – 1/2 cup (I used dried mango)

Turmeric – 1/2 teaspoon

Salt – As needed

Chili Powder – 1 teaspoon (I used 1 tablespoon)

Channa Dal – 1 tablespoon

Urad Dal – 1 tablespoon

Mustard Seeds – 1 teaspoon

Asafoetida – 1/4 teaspoon

Cumin Seeds – 1 teaspoon

Curry leaves – a few

How to Make

Step 1: In a bowl take the toor dal and wash it twice, add 2 cups of water, chopped malabar spinach leaves, a few mango pieces a pinch of turmeric and pressure cooker it for five whistles (I used the instapot and did PIP method in Pressure Cooker Mode High Pressure for 20 minutes).

Step 2: Once the steam is released, mix it well and add salt and red chili powder.

Step 3: In a small pan, once hot add oil, then the channa dal and urad dal. As the dals start to change color add the mustard seeds and asafoetida. Once the mustard seeds start spluttering add the cumin seeds and then the curry leaves. Add the tempering to the dal and give it a good mix.

Step 4: Serve it with steaming rice and a nice urudumirapakaya (buttermilk chili) or paapad. 


  1. Instead of using mango, you can use a tomato or 1 tablespoon of tamarind. When using the tamarind add it after pressure cooking with the salt and red chili powder.


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