Oats - Vallarai Podi

My second dish with oats is a spice mix. It is healthy and yumm and it comes with a story.......

A couple of months ago I was chatting with mom and the conversation turned towards my childhood. I recollected how I hated Math [I still do.Its not 'hate' now.I can call it an 'aversion'.But does it make a difference!?] and tried all means to get myself to remember those formulas.

It was during that period that 'Vallarai keerai' came into limelight.Vallarai , which is a spade shaped green leafy vegetable,is a herb known by the botanical name - Centella asiatica and also known by the name Indian Pennywort and is mentioned in the ancient Ayurveda text written by Charaka. So something from the Ayurvedic scriptures is definitely famous and when I was in school this herb became even more famous as it was sold with the promise that it would help improve memory power. When it came to my memory I can say it was perfect except when it came to Maths. So to enhance my 'math memory' I pestered mom to cook this for me everyday which she affectionately and dutifully did whenever she could find it in the market. I ate it with gusto as I wanted to score more in my board exams.

A teeny tiny bunch with just a few stalks would cost a ransom and was in great demand. Yes, seriously, they were so pricey. That's not all, as with all greens, they shrunk to such a size that at least 3-4 bunches are required for a single portion! Yet,I kept eating this herb till my exams got over. Then after a few years the craze about this herb seemed to vanish and I had long stopped eating it .I had passed out of school and was in college and I no longer needed to remember anything to do with Maths .

Then one day quite recently I saw this bunch of herbs along with the other greens at the farmers market and my memory sprang back ,bringing with it all that happened years ago in school. Out of eagerness, I got a bunch. Then it struck me that it was not even sufficient for Lil Angel and then I thought I will make a spice mix so that all of us could enjoy.

After this boring story of mine, let me tell you some interesting facts about this herb.
Pregnant woman must consult their Physician before using this herb.

Here is a list of the names in the regional languages -

English -  Indian  Pennywort

Tamil   Vallarai
Kannada - Ondelaga
Sanskrit -  Mandukaparni
Telugu - Saraswataaku
Hindi -   Brahmamanduki - Gotu Kola
Unani -  Khulakudi
Bengali -  Tholkuri
Malayalam -  Muttil
Gujarati -  Karbrahmi

 I know I should have uploaded a picture of this greens but I was so eager to make this spice mix that it slipped my mind. Will post the picture as soon as I can find it in the farmers market

This herb can be made into chutney, spice mixes, cooked with dal and can even be added to salads.

This is the second time I am making this spice mix and decided to give it a healthy twist by adding some quick cooking oats along with the lentils and the herb. This spice mix can be had with piping hot steamed rice and a dollop of ghee.

I used :

Vallarai Keerai - 2 bunches[about a fistful of leaves]
Quick Cooking Oats - 2 tablespoon
Gram dal - 1 tablespoon
Black pepper - 1 teaspoon
Sesame seeds, toasted - 1 teaspoon
Red Chillies - 2
Asafoetida powder - a pinch
Salt to taste
Oil - 1 teaspoon

  1. Separate the leaves and discard the stems.Wash the leaves thoroughly and drain in a colander. Spread the leaves on a kitchen towel till it is completely dry ,meaning, there should be no trace of water.
  2. Roast the oats till light brown and fragrant. Take care not to burn it.Keep aside.
  3. Heat oil in a pan and put in asafoetida powder, gram dal, pepper, red chillies. Roast till the dal turns golden brown.
  4. Switch off the flame and put in the dried greens, sesame seeds and mix well.
  5. When the lentil mix is cool, powder finely along with oats and salt.
  6. If the powder is warm after grinding, spread on a plate till it cools completely.
  7. Store in an airtight container and always use a dry spoon.
As I said earlier, this spice mix can be topped up on piping hot rice drizzled with ghee.

Note :

Today is the second day of Blogging marathon #6.Check out blogging marathon page to see what my fellow marathoners are cooking this week.

Read more about oats and the delicious recipes that can be prepared with it here

This day That year....

2010 - Aloo Channa Chaat

Bon Appetit...

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