I have been going overboard using a lot of herbs in my cooking lately. Knowing the medicinal / health benefits of the herbs makes it hard for me to ignore them.And they are freely available around my place that I can just pick up some and use it in the dishes.
Betel leaf rice was something that Chef Jacob [of Aaha Enna Rusi fame] once demonstrated in a restaurant nearby a few years back.Mom and dad were there at that time so they got to taste the dish. They said it had other herbs like tulasi etc. Sadly I was not in India at that time, else I would have been on that spot even before the Chef had arrived.
Then I was searching for a similar recipe and found one which Reva of Kaarasaaram had done a guest post on Kriti's Kitchen. I had bookmarked it finally made it for the A- Z Mega Blogging Marathon!
Betel leaves are sauteed and cooked with an aromatic spice mix. I have paired this flavorful rice with gooseberry Pachadi / Raita. The combo was perfect. The slight sharp taste of the rice was mellowed down by the raita. This dish is an absolute winner!
V- Vetrilai Poondu Sadham
Theme - Regional / Kongunad
Though we have access to fresh betel leaves in almost all the shops around here, I got a few from SIL's house...
Betel leaf finds its place in all the functions and festivals here. It has to be there for engagement function,weddings, festivals and other auspicious occasions.
Our ancestors were indeed very thoughtful to have added this leaf as a part of the daily life. In earlier days, the wife used to fold betel leaves and pass it on to her husband after the noon meal. In the wedding, even today, betel leaves are placed in the dining hall so that people can have a few after lunch. Now though people have gone into using several flavored paan/ beda.
Betel leaf has a whole range of health benefits .It is used as such / as poultice/ juice applied over wounds etc...
Here are some of the medicinal / health benefits of this leaf....
- It is an anti oxidant.
- Helps curing scanty urination
- Reduces inflammation in the body
- Increases the secretion of breast milk and hence this is given to new moms.
- Studies indicate that it has anti diabetic properties.
- It relieves constipation[when applied dipped in castor oil as a suppository]
- Eliminated bad breath
- Cures bleeding gums
- A decoction of betel leaves is said to cure leucorrhea
It's not just the betel leaf that has healing properties in this recipe.There is garlic, turmeric ,sesame seeds, dried ginger, peppercorns that is loaded with goodness. So I can say this is an Ayurvedic dish full of flavor!
Shall we move on to the dish ....
The recipe makes use of a freshly ground spice mix and it is a really flavorful one.
Recipe Source : Reva's Guest post @ Kriti's Kitchen
Peppercorns - 10 numbers
Sesame seeds- 1 teaspoon
Red chili - 4
Dried ginger powder -1/2 teaspoon
- Dry roast all sesame seeds,red chili and peppercorns.
- Cool and powder along with ginger powder.
- Keep aside till needed..
For the Vetrilai Poondu Sadham:
Seeraga Samba rice- 1 cup [See note below]
Betel leaves [Not too tender and not too mature] -3
Garlic - 5 large pearls,peeled
Turmeric powder - 1/8 teaspoon [See note below]
Fennel seeds- 1/2 teaspoon
Cinnamon stick -1" piece, broken
Curry leaves -a few
Sesame seeds oil / Gingely oil- 3 teaspoons
Spice mix from the above recipe - 3 -4 teaspoons [adjust to taste]
Salt to taste
- Cook the rice till just done and spread it on a plate to cool.
- Cut the ends of the betel leaf, remove the center vein it is too thick and chop finely.
- Heat oil in a pan and put in fennel seeds, cinnamon bits, curry leaves.Saute for a few seconds
- Add the garlic, betel leaves and cook for a couple of minutes.
- Add the spice mix,turmeric powder and sprinkle a little water and mix well. Take care not to burn the masala.
- Add the cooked rice, salt and mix gently to combine.Sprinkle a little water if the mixture is too dry.
- Reduce the heat and cover and cook for five minutes, stirring once or twice in between.
- Remove from heat and serve with a raita ...
- Reva has mentioned that this dish tastes best when prepared with Jeeraga /Seeraga samba rice. If it is not available, use Basmati rice.
- Peeled fresh ginger is supposed to be used in this recipe.As it was not available I used turmeric powder.
- You can use ghee or any neutral vegetable oil instead of sesame oil.
I could have easily gone for a pappad / fried crispies for the side dish.But I did not want to spoil the goodness of the dish with an oily accompaniment.So paired it with a raita / pachadi.
For the Nellikaai pachadi:
I used :
Grated gooseberry-4 tablespoons
Fresh curd - 1 cup
Coconut - 2 tablespoons
Salt to taste
For the tempering:
Cumin seeds- 1/4 teaspoon
Curry leaves - a few
Red chili-1,broken into two
- Whisk the curd with salt.
- Grind the green chillies with the coconut to a fine paste.
- In a bowl put in whisked curd, grated gooseberry, coconut paste and mix well
- Heat oil for the tempering and add all the ingredients mentioned under it.
- Once the mustard splutters, pour over the raita, mix well and serve with a flavored rice.
Take a look at the Blogging Marathon page to check out what my friends are cooking in this A- Z series...
Previously in this series...
- Dates Cake
- Eggless / No milk / No butter!!! - Baked
N - Nannari Sherbet - Regional / Tamil Nadu
- Ice cream Falooda And Kulfi Falooda - Regional / N.Indian
O - Olo Kobi Bhaja - Regional / Odisa
Labels: Betel Leaves, Blogging Marathon, Cooking with herbs / flowers, Garlic, Herbs, Kongunadu, Raita, Rendezvous with Rice, Sesame Seeds