After all the festivities and special food of the occasion, now for some simple yet worthy cooking. This one sounds simple but the health benefits are tremendous. Vallarai Thuvayal is a green chutney with the herb Vallarai. It is called the Indian Pennywort and its botanical name is Centella Asiatica.
Centella asiatica, also known as ‘Vallarai’ in South India, belongs to the family of herbs that help in maintaining youthful vigour and strength, reveals Charaka, the foremost exponent of Ayurveda.
Apart from providing vigour and strength, it improves the receptive capacity of the mind, improves memory, voice, physical stamina, complexion and digestive capacity of the body. The herb is also advisable for diabetics and people suffering from anaemia. The extracts of the plant are also being used in cosmetology as an ingredient in face creams and anti-wrinkle creams. http://www.ayurvedictalk.com/vallarai-herb-to-maintain-youthful-vigour-and-strength/627/
Vallarai Keerai or the Pennywort leaves are also available as toffees, syrups, juices or powders. They are available in the Naatu Marundhu Kadai or the Tamil Medicine Shops in and around Tamilnadu, and other Sidha and Ayurvedic Medical shops.
Ingredients (serves 4)
- vallarai leaves – 2 cups
- kadalai paruppu/bengal gram/channa dhal – 4 tbsp
- chinna vengayam/shallots or small onions – 12 nos
- poondu/garlic – 4 cloves
- green chillies or red chillies – 2 nos
- puli/tamarind/imli – marble sized
- oil – 1 tsp
- salt – to taste
- water – very little to make a thick paste
fried and ready to be ground
Method of Preparation
- Separate the leaves from the stem and wash very well
- Peel skin of shallots and garlic cloves; wash and set aside
- Heat oil in an iruppu chatti/pan and fry bengal gram till golden brown
- Add shallots, garlic cloves, green chillies/red chillies and fry well
- Add vallarai keerai/greens and fry well
- Cool this and grind in a blender with tamarind, salt and very little water to a smooth paste.
vallarai keerai thuvayal
- Serve with piping hot plain white/brown rice and nei/clarified butter/ghee
- Nallennai/Gingelly oil can also be used instead of ghee
- This can be a first course of any meal with a gravied vegetable/stew
- Some might have this thuvayal with thayir saadham (https://dosaikal.com/2011/12/22/thayir-saadham-mor-milagaicurd-rice-sun-dried-chillies/)
- Ulundham Paruppu/Dehusked Black Gram can be substituted with Bengal Gram
- Grated Coconut can also be used if preferred
- The quantity of chillies can be altered according to spice preference.