10 Jan 2012

Green Magic- Vallarai Curry Leaf Podi


January, the month of new hopes and aspirations for everyone especially the backbone sector of a growing economy like India - Our Farmers. This is the celebrated month of "Pongal", other wise known as "Thai Thirunal - தை திருநாள் ".

So let us stick to some of the traditional humble recipes for this month, so it is goodbye to chocolates, cakes and cookies for now.

India is the second largest producer of medicinal herbs next to China. Don't be intimidated by the whole idea of using herbs in your daily routine. It is a very simple concept of understanding what our cuisine is about and moreover vital herbs are included in our food even without us knowing it. After all "Ayurveda" and "Siddha" has India as their birth place.


To know more about Herbalism, visit this link
To know more about Ayurveda and Siddha, visit this here and here

Tumeric was used as medicine and condiment as early as 10,000 BC and extensive research is conducted on its properties today to validate its use. This makes us wonder how did our ancestors find out about its immense use without all the modern technology, laboratory or equipment..??


OK, lets get to the subject. The use of greens in our daily menu is an age old practice. I loved them mainly because of the "Keerakaara Amma - கீரைக்கார அம்மா " who used to come everyday balancing her basket of fresh greens on her head. She had a special tone and rhyme to call out to all the potential buyers as she walked down the street.

She would persuade the womenfolk of the household to buys some fresh greens and have a small chat with them as well. Bundles of Drumstick leaves [முருங்கை இலை], Indian Pennyworth [வல்லாரை], Coriander [கொத்தமல்லி], Mint [புதினா], Curry leaves [கறிவேப்பில்லை], Spinach [பசலை], Balloon vine [முடகத்தான்], Karpooravalli [கற்பூரவள்ளி], Ponnanganni [பொன்னாங்கண்ணி], Agathi [அகத்தி] etc overflowed her basket. On special requests she used to bring Karisalankanni [கரிசலாங்கண்ணி] and Thoothuvalai [தூதுவளை] also.

Coming to think of it, we are blessed to have fresh produce brought to our doorstep and the small chat which built the platonic relationship despite the social class differences and on the whole it was an immense energy booster...:))


I surely miss the whole experience. When I found my most favourite greens in the Asian store, I was super excited. I brought 6 large bundles without any second thoughts. Only after coming home, the realisation dawned on me that all the six bundles have to be cooked. But how much thuvaiyal can you make..????

Making a podi [spicy powder] out of the leaves is the best way to keep the herb in a edible form for a long time. Here I have adapted the "Spicy Curry leaf Podi" preparation which my mom used to make and made a few changes.

Indian Penny Worth, otherwise known as Vallarai in Tamil is one such awesome herb which makes its way to our dining table ever so often. Its botanical name is Centella asiatica and the common targets are growing school going kids who are expected to fare well in exams.


It improves vigour and strength of the body, increases the receptive capacity of the brain and heightens memory power. It contains abundant vitamin B and K, calcium, zinc and magnesium

To know more about the nutritional value of this herb, please visit this here  and  here

Coming to the recipe, it is very simple and easy to make. This "Green Magic" is packed with iron, protein, vitamins and minerals and suitable for all age groups to enjoy. It has a slight bitter after-taste to it, so have small amounts everyday with hot rice.



Dried vallarai leaves: 2 cups [tightly packed]
Dried curry leaves : 2 cups [tightly packed]
Horsegram/Kollu: 4 tbsps.
Channa dhal: 3 tbsps.
Whole urad dhal: 3 tbsps.
Cumin:1 1/2 tbsp

Whole pepper corns: 1 tbsp.
Dried red chillies: 3-4.
Oil: 1 tbsp.
Asafoetida powder: 1/2 tsp.
Salt: to taste.

To dry the fresh leaves:
1.Wash the curry leaves and vallarai leaves thoroughly. Drain all the water and lay them in an almost single layer on a couple of newspaper sheets.
2.Let the moisture dry out. Set the oven to the lowest heat setting.
3.Transfer the leaves onto two large baking trays and place the trays in the oven.
4.Stir the leaves around every 15 minutes to make them completely dry. Depending on the amount of leaves, it will take 2-3 hours for the leaves to become crispy dry.

If you are blessed with abundant sunshine where you reside, dry the leaves on clean cloth in shade until bone dry.



For the podi:
1.In the pan, fry the pepper corns and horsegram until reddish brown.Transfer onto a plate and keep aside.
2. In the same pan, heat one tbsp of oil in a pan and fry the cumin, channa dhal, urad dhal and red chillies.
3.Once the dhal is reddish brown in colour, transfer onto a plate and keep aside.
4.Let everything cool to room temperature.
5.Grind the roasted cumin, channa dhal, urad dhal, red chillies, pepper corns and horsegram together to a fine powder. Keep aside.
6. Whiz the dried greens in the same mixer until you get a very fine powder.
7. Mix the powdered dhal, powdered dried greens, salt and asafoetida until everything is well blended.

The idea is to consume small amounts of this nourishing podi everyday to ensure that the body is supplied with the nutrients constantly. The ratio is 1 tbsp of hot rice to 1 tsp of podi with a few drops of gingelly oil for one person before lunch or dinner.


This powder should be stored in an air tight container and used when needed. It can be kept for atleast six months.

Friends, a gentle reminder... do send in your entries for "CWF-Sesame Seeds" guest hosted by me until Feb '10.

Sending this to Walk Through Memory Lane  by Gayathri,  Cooking Challenge - Flavors of Tamilnadu by Vidhya,  New U by Vardhini, SYF&HWS - Cumin Seeds  , an event by Anu guest hosted by Anusha.


     

Enjoy.....


Scribbled by Reva

49 comments:

Jaleela said...

wow super podi reva, adding vallarai with curry leaves very healthy podi..

Kalpana Sareesh said...

awesome post on keerai kara amma.. truly superrb podi.. i remeber my grand ma forces me to eat this vallarai keerai when i was kid..

Roshni said...

very informative post. beautiful clicks as always. yummy podi

Jayashree said...

Beautiful pics, Reva. Nice write-up too.

Charu Srivastava said...

beautiful clicks

Padhu said...

Today I prepared only Vallarai Keerai thuvaiyal .I love this very much but do not add horse gram

S.Menaga said...

Lovely post about keeraikara amma..podi looks wonderful,as usual nice clicks!!

Hamaree Rasoi said...

Wonderful pics of the curry leaf powder.

Deepa
Hamaree Rasoi

faseela said...

very informative post dear

Shoba Shrinivasan said...

A very healthy podi Reva; Also love the little matkas..

Shobha.

Maayeka said...

very beautiful clicks !!!and awesome recipe..can you please give me the hindi name for Vallarai.

Aarthi said...

nice podi..healthy one


Aarthi
http://yummytummy-aarthi.blogspot.com/

Rashida shaikh said...

Thanks for your words.
Lovely post...
Happy to follow you :)

ANU said...

no words dear....luv the creative pic of yours...and definitely the recipe too..

thnks for linking the recipe to me...will send the logo asap.

Neha said...

Lovely looking podi...Superb clicks...

Vidhya said...

As usual beautiful clicks,informative post and to top all that a wonderful recipe.Thank you for sharing.

Reva said...

Thanks a lot for all the kind words..:))

Anjana - The Hindi word for this green is Gotu Kola but in some places it is also called as Brahmamanduki.This is different from Brahmi. In Sanskrit this green is known as Mandukaparni. In Malayalam - Muttil, Bengali - Tholkuri and in Gujarati - Karbrahmi...

Hope this is helpful..
Reva

Nalini's Kitchen said...

Wow!!such a healthy podi,u have an award waiting at my space,stop by and grab it dear....

Pavithra said...

How cute..props..love everything in this post... recipe,pictures and props Reva...

Uma said...

Very useful post indeed. This is how I want to show our traditional dishes, but I am not getting ingredients over here. Truly love it Reva.

Vidhya Subramony said...

Reva, such a great recipe. it is so unfortunate that I do not get such herbs here! your pics are awesome! thanks for linking your recipes!

Kalyani's Platter said...

Wonderful clicks and lovely podi ......

Pushpa said...

Super healthy podi beautiful clicks.

Roshu said...

Hey good job dear!!!
Presentation is xcellent

Roshu said...

Hey good job dear!!!
Presentation is xcellent

Sravs said...

Awesome pics Reva !! so beautiful post !! healthy podi !!

Ongoing event CC-Chocolate Fest

Ganga Sreekanth said...

Looks delicious and tempting,awesome click.

Kurinji said...

Beautiful clicks and healthy podi...

maha said...

luv the pics..ur a wonderful photographer....no words dear.n the podi looks really tempting

Priya said...

Stunning clicks, my mom used to prepare this kind of podi with vallarai keerai for us, makes me nostalgic.

gwl said...

Picture is so colorful. giftwithlove.com

Rathai said...

Very well-written post as usual with beautiful clicks! I really enjoyed reading it because it was so informative and well-illustrated, I could "see" the keeraikaara amma.

I have to admit though, I almost forgot it's Thai Pongal this week. So weird. I was looking forward to it for a very long time but as the days were nearing... I just forgot to keep check on it.

divya said...

looks absolutely delicious and yummy podi.. thanks for the wonderful recipe dear..

Gayathri Kumar said...

What a wonderful spice powder! Beautiful clicks too....

Vardhini said...

Awesome Reva .. loved the post, the podi and the cute pots. Clicks are amazing. Thx dear for linking to the event.

Vardhini
Event: New "U" - Healthy Eats
Event: Healing Foods - Cauliflower

Shanthi said...

Healthy podi and awesome clicks

Sukanya Ramkumar said...

Very healthy and informative post. Loved the presentation. YUM!

Christy Gerald said...

Healthy and flavorul Herbal Podi Dear.Awesome Keeraikara Amma post.Yummy!

Mary said...

I learned some new things today. This was a very interesting post. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

Priya Sreeram said...

superlative post revathi !

Ramya said...

happy pongal to you and family, dear

deepsrecipes said...

Healthy Podi...Excellent presentation..
HAPPY PONGAL!!!!!

Anzz said...

Your clicks always leave me in awe. wonderful.!! I am announcing Valentines Special – my 1st blog event and a Giveaway.!. Please do be a part of it and send in your recipes..! :)

Sonia said...

Hey Reva, Happy Pongal to you too and thanks for the warm wishes. I loved ur pots and the way u presented it... Have a wonderful week ahead. Thanks & Regards, Sonia !!!

SouthIndianHome said...

Healthy podi. Amazing pictures

Sarah Naveen said...

Beautiful setting , amazing pictures and nice recipe sweetie ! loved it :-)..

hemalata said...

Healthy n delicious looking podi, nice presentation.

Taste Junction said...

Hope you had a great pongal..using herbs and spices in our cooking is one of the most brilliant things about Indian cuisine..Loved the pics!!

Julie said...

wow..lovely pongal n vadas..crispy ones!!
Belated Pongal wishes dear..

Erivum Puliyum

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