Thotakura Pappu (Dal with Amaranth Leaves/ Harive Soppu/ Chauli/ Cholai )

Preparation time: 15 mins

Cooking time: 35-45 mins

Health Benefits: Green leafs are packed with vitamins, minerals, and essential nutrients that prevent cancer and many other diseases. The food pyramid recommends 3 cups of leafy green per week for an average adult. Of all the dals made with leaves, I relish amaranth leaf dal the most. It has a slight tangy taste which makes it quite different from rest of the leaves. You can use the same recipe for making dal with Palak (spinach), Methi, (fenugreek leaves), Bachali/Malabar Spinach (Basella rubra) or any other leaf.

DSC_2822 Amaranth in Greek means “everlasting”. Commonly known as Thotakura (Telugu), Harive  Soppu (Kannada), Cholai (Hindi), amaranth leaves come in many varieties – red, green, bicolored and are extensively used in South Indian cooking. These colorful leaves are nutritionally similar to beets, Swiss chard and spinach, but are much superior. High in calcium, these leaves have been found to contain more calcium than spinach and milk. For people who are lactose intolerant, amaranth leaves serve as a good source of calcium. In addition to this, amaranth leaves are excellent source of vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin B6, vitamin C, riboflavin, iron, potassium, zinc, carotene and protein. The way these leaves are used in cooking is quite similar to that of spinach. The younger leaves can be used in salads, and matured leaves can be cooked and used in soups, stews, dal or curries.

Amaranth leaves are extensively used by Homeopathic and Ayurveda experts for acne remedy, hair loss treatments, as a mouth wash for treating mouth sores, swollen gums and sore throat.

I have used Red Amaranth leaves which are widely available in Indian market for making the dal.


Toor Dal/Kandi Pappu – 1 Cup

Amaranth leaves – 3 cups

Tomato (cut into cubes) – 1 large

Onion (chopped) – ½ small

Green chillies (slit length wise) – 3 No’s

Tamarind – 1 lemon size (wash and soak in warm water)

Turmeric – 1/3 Tsp.

Salt – 1 Tsp.

Oil – 1 Tbsp.

Water – 3 cups

 My Secret Ingredient:

Green Tamarind Pickle  : 1 Tsp

Green Tamarind thokku/Chintakaya thokku/ Hunise thokku is available in many brands. You can pick it up from any grocery store or use the traditional home made thokku. I use “Priya Green Tamarind Pickle” or “Joshi’s”, a local brand in Hyderabad


Oil – 1 Tbsp.

Mustard seeds – ½ Tsp.

Jeera – ½ Tsp.

Urad Dal – ½ Tsp

Curry leaves – 1 sprig

Hing – 1 sprinkle


Finely Chopped Leaves


1. Wash and pressure cook the dal with 2 cups of water.

2. Pluck the leaves from the stems, wash thoroughly and chop in small pieces.

3. Heat a medium size kadai and add 1 Tbsp oil. Add the green chillies and fry for a minute, add onion and fry till it turns golden yellow. Now add tomato and close the pan with a cover. Let it cook for 2-3 mins.

(If you don’t want to use oil, check Tips and Tricks for Health freaks at the bottom)

4. Add the chopped leaves, mix thoroughly, add 1 cup water and cook under lid for 8-10 mins. You can now get the aroma of the leaves.

5. Once the leaves are cooked, transfer the cooked dal and mix.

6. Add salt, turmeric and tamarind pulp and mix.

7. Mix the green tamarind thokku in 1 Tsp of water and add to the dal.

8. Cook the dal by occasionally stirring for 5-10 mins.

9. For the seasoning, add the Seasoning ingredients in the given sequence and transfer onto the dal.

10. Serve it with rice, roti, or can also be eaten with cooked broken wheat.


Cooking Tips:

1. Chop of the roots and tougher stems and use the tender stems and leaves for cooking. The stems of the leaves contain equal nutrients as the leaves.

2. For cleaning the leaves, fill a large bowl with water, drop the leaves in the bowl and let them sit for a minute. Once the dirt settles down at the bottom, remove them and repeat with clean water for couple more times.

3. Always make green leafy dals in a kadai instead of a steel vessel for better taste.

4. Adding salt and turmeric while boiling the leaves changes the natural color of the leaf. Instead add them after mixing with cooked dal to retain the natural color.

5. Don’s miss my secret ingredient !!

Tips and Tricks for health freaks:

1. Skip Step 3. Boil tomato, chillies and onions along with dal. Add 2 drops of oil in a kadai. Continue from Step 4.

2. Skip the Seasoning.

Eat Healthy, Live Heathly !