Centella asiatica, Centella, Asiatic pennywort is a herb, known as Gotu kola in Sri Lankan cuisine, as brahmi booti in Hindi, vallarai keerai in Tamil, kudangal in Malayalam and ondelaga in Kannada. I prepare vallarai dishes often as it is very good for health and also it grows abundantly in my kitchen garden. It is easy to grow vallarai at home. Vallarai keerai is very nutritious and has medicinal properties. It helps to improve memory power and concentration. It is said to promote hair growth and is good for the skin also. It can be helpful in treating skin disorders like eczema and psoriasis. Today we will learn how to make vallarai kootu following our easy recipe with step wise pictures.
Wash vallarai leaves and keep it aside. You can use the tender stems for making kootu, as you see in the picture below.
Chop onion and tomatoes.
Soak moong dal (pasi paruppu) for 5-10 minutes in hot water. Soaking is optional but I prefer to do it, so that it gets cooked to a mush.
Grind coconut, red chillies, fried gram (pottukadalai in Tamil/daliya in Hindi) and cumin seeds to fine paste and keep it aside.
In a pressure pan or small cooker, add moong dal, vallarai leaves, onion, tomato and 1/2 cup of water.
Pressure cook for 2 whistles.
Once the pressure subsides, open the cooker and mash the contents well. Add salt needed.
Add the ground coconut paste and simmer for 5 minutes. That’s it.
Now we will do the seasoning – Heat a tsp of oil, add mustard seeds, when it splutters, add urad dal, red chillies and hing. Add finely chopped pearl onions and saute until it turns transparent.
Add to the kootu. Enjoy nutritious vallarai kootu as an accompaniment with rice.
Our Lunch that day was – Bittergourd pitlai, cauliflower curry, beetroot pachadi, vallarai kootu and homemade curd.
Check out my delicious Vallarai Thuvaiyal (chutney) which can be had as side dish for dosa and can also be mixed with rice topped with a tsp of gingerly oil.
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