18 Oct 2012

Vallarai Keerai Soup

Sometimes evenings drag on because of bad weather outside and even if you don't want it TV becomes the major source of entertainment. Kids channels are good in certain ways but it sure becomes additive, not for me but for my little girl.

Whole picture changes when it comes to Indian channels. I was more intrigued by the advertisements that interrupted the programs. I don't question the talent behind the concept or production quality of the adverts but the message it brings to the audience.

Especially the ones which is focused on health drinks for kids... some claim to increase the 5 signs of growth, some claim to increase stamina, some increase brain power to face the exams etc.. etc.. etc.. Is there no nutrients in natural foods???

I mean, come on "How much milky health drinks can a child drink in a day to attain all the goodness these health drinks claim????"

There has been extensive study and debates among paediatricians and scientists regarding the authenticity of such claims. We can't over look the fact that "kids are and can be fussy eaters". I too have a 4 year old who looks at her plate of food and asks me "Do I have to eat this?"

Children are easily lured, I mean they will be because the brands are endrosed by big names, cartoon characters and the flavour of the health drinks / nutritional biscuits is lovely. Naturally homemade delicacies and fresh food do tend to take a second place.

Fussy eaters equals to stressful parents..:)

Nutritional drinks or for that matter any food other than homemade /natural ones have become indispensible nowadays but making a choice among all these different brands which occupy the supermarket shelves is the real issue. An interesting article about Complan and Horlicks blocked in UK because of their false claims is shocking !!!!

Why were these health drinks blocked ????? The validity of the studies as claimed by the brands is questioned here as such studies are conducted in closed environment and cannot be applied universally.

Complan and Horlicks are not aired in developed countries based on their claims as "Taller Stronger Sharper" or "Memory power".

Why were the ads blocked in UK and not in India ????

GlaxoSmithKline claims that the advert was meant for India and not for UK. Moreover "Advertising Standard Council of India-ASCI" says there has been no complaint or questions regarding the benefits as claimed by the brands.

No complaint - no action. As consumers we should be more aware of what is being sold to us as big brands don't hesitate to cash in on our fears and insecurities when it comes to our kid's health and eating habits.

For more on this topic please visit this link : http://www.indianexpress.com

We should also be aware of the pros and cons of giving cow's milk as the only food because the child is not eating anything has its drawbacks too. First, it is high in saturated fat which is directly linked to heart disease and kids need essential fatty acids and no saturated fat. It is also linked to allergies, asthma, protein overdose etc. So anything in moderation is most welcome.

More over nutrients are best absorbed in their natural form and we have to be patient and creative in giving home-cooked/natural foods for our kids. It is a real challenge to get kids to eat leafy veggies/eggs/lentils/fish etc but we don't have any other way out other than facing the challenge.

Be very careful of what you select for your kid to eat or drink. Here are some links which are quite interesting reads pertaining to the above topic.

Is milk good for children
Coping with fussy toddler 
Comparison of health drinks and its nutrients 
Complan or Horlicks - which is best? 

Like I said before, nutrients are best absorbed in their natural form. So here comes a simple soup made with greens and rice. Indian Penny Worth or Vallarai is very well known for increasing mental ability for centuries. You can substitute various grains or lentils instead of rice.

This soup is best eaten warm and on the day of making it. Small cupfuls around 4-5 tbsp three to four times a week will be adequate for growing children along with a balanced diet.

For the soup:
Vallarai keerai : 1 large bunch.
Pearl onions: 5-6.
Whole garlic pods [chopped]: 5-6.
Fresh ginger: 1 inch piece.
Whole pepper corns: 1/2 tsp.

Cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp.
Dhania powder: 2 tsp.

Cooked rice: 3-4 tbsp.
Curry leaves: 1 sprig.
Oil: 1 tsp.  

1.Remove the leaves from the stalk and wash in running water. Grind the onions, pepper corns and ginger to a smooth paste.

2.Chop roughly the greens and pulse in the mixer in 3 second burst twice. Keep aside.
3.Heat oil. Splutter cumin and curry leaves. Add the chopped garlic and fry for 1 minute.

4.Add the ground onion ginger paste and fry for 3-4 minutes.
5.Add dhania powder, ground keerai paste and a splash of water. Mix well and cover wthe vessel with the lid.
6.Cook for 8-10 minutes stirring occasionaly in between.
7.Meanwhile mash the cooked rice either with your fingers or a fork. Add the rice to the simmering green soup and mix.
8.Simmer for 4-5 minutes until thick. Check salt and remove from flame.

Serve hot garnished with coriander leaves.

Note: You can add whole vallarai leaves instead of grinding it. If you require more spice feel free to add green chilli or increase the amount of pepper corns.



Scribbled by Reva.


Amarendra said...

Very informative post.. Was not aware of this fact.

Shama Nagarajan said...


divyagcp said...

True.. I agree with you 100%.
Healthy and delicious soup..

Divya's Culinary Journey

cookbookjaleela said...

Healthy soup reva

Unknown said...

good post reva, nice clicks too

Subhie Arun said...

v innovative..neva had vallarai soup..!

great-secret-of-life said...

very useful facts.. Great soup

Akila said...

mom used to do puriyala with this keerai. Soup is really very interesting... Thanks for sharing...

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Unknown said...

I really appreciate you for share this regarding healthy and delicious soup. Thanks.

Health Drinks Online India

Unknown said...

agreed. Very informative post revs.

Unknown said...

Healthy informative post..

Umm Mymoonah said...

That was very helpful Reva, thank you so much for sharing these information with us, also the soup looks simply amazing.

Priya Suresh said...

I dunno about this, somehow none at home like both those drinks..

I love vallarai keerai as thuvaiyal, soup looks extremely hearty and healthy.

Saraswathi Ganeshan said...

Healthy soup..but never had..

Mélange said...

What a meaningful read ! From an academic point,it's in fact so much needed in Indian Market.Just presuming that the consumers are fools,how can this go on ? Btw,we have to blame consumers as well.Here,we have to be equipped with a basic knowledge esp since it's affecting our little ones.I am not academically into health.Still I read,I mean reading a lot.So what I think is,it's almost mandatory for all of us to be aware of what we are consuming.And yes,such debates and researches from academics should go on as well.Cheers to what you have come up with..
Definitely a healthy tasty recipe Revathi.

Unknown said...

Very useful n informative post...Bookmarked this recipe!! Will try this soon!!

PACHANTI said...

Very useful post, and a lovely receipe, loved your vallarai keerai flower prop.. As usual great clicks reva :-) keep them coming...

Sangeetha Priya said...

Well Said Reva!!! First time here,
Loved the way u presented this healthy soup!!!

Menaga Sathia said...

such a healthy soup,looks delicious...

Unknown said...

awesome lovely soup reva....
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jasna varcakovic said...

...beautifully presented!

Julie said...

Healthy soup n nicely presented!!
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Amina Creations said...

healthy and nutritious soup... beautiful presentation!!

runnergirlinthekitchen.blogspot.com said...

Wow.. very informative post and thanks for sharing this!

Faseela said...

Healthy n delicious Soup. Moreover an informative post too, Thanx Reva

KrithisKitchen said...

Good writeup about advertising and consumer mindset... Do you get vallarai keerai in uk.. What do they call it in english? Lovely soup btw..
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Priya dharshini said...

Informative post..glad to know we get vallarai from Uk

Unknown said...

delicious valarai soup...

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kala said...

Myy goddd wat a lovely presentationnnn

Manju @ Manjus Eating Delights said...

I loved your post...so informative and almost the same thoughts in my mind...
My son is 15 months now and has started becoming a bit fussy with eating...so sometimes I add Bournvita to his milk, so that he atleast drinks that fully.

I loved this dish preparation, I may try it with some other green leaf as I don't know wat this leaf is called in english.

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Chitra said...

Healthy soup reva. perfect clicks as usual :)

raji said...

Hi . Hanks a lot for ur valuable info. I hav my 1 yr old baby girl. Can I giv this to her. She s low weigt . I wan to improve it.

raji said...

Hi thanks a lot for ur info. Can I giv t to my one yr old baby girl . She s fussy eater n she s low weight

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