Monday, May 24, 2010

Karibevu Chitranna(Curry leaves rice)

Some information about curry leaves: (Courtesy: Indus Ladies)

Curry Leaves have a special place in Ayurvedic Medicines, because of their many health benefits.

Digestive Disorders: Buttermilk with paste of curry leaves, common salt and cumin seed powder is a common home remedy for digestive upset in Indian Homes. The curry leaves juice is also effective against heartburn.
A paste of these leaves with limejuice and honey/sugar/crystal sugar powder is a time-tested medicine in the treatment of “morning sickness” (hyperemesis graviderum). This paste is also useful for treating excessive vomiting and nausea in pregnant women.

Diabetes: Scientists are finding more about curry leaf – as it contain agents that slow down the rate of starch-to-glucose breakdown in people with diabetes. The curry leaves could control the amount of glucose entering the bloodstream. Ayurvedic research suggests a paste of about 8 to 10 fresh, fully-grown curry leaves is to be taken on an empty stomach in the morning for a minimum of 3 months for controlling non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus. It also cures diabetes due to obesity, as the leaves have weight reducing properties.

Hair Tonic: These leaves nourish the hair roots. Add twenty leaves to a cup of coconut oil and heat the oil till the leaves turn black. Apply this blackened residual oil to the scalp 2-3 times a week. This oil forms an excellent Ayurvedic hair tonic to stimulate hair growth. This oil stops premature graying.

Herbal Mouth Wash: The fresh curry leaves contain 2.6% volatile essential oils along with chlorophyll, beta-carotene and folic acid, riboflavin, calcium and zinc. All these are excellent for keeping good oral health. Chewing 2 to 4 fresh curry leaves with 10 to 15mls water in the mouth, swishing for 5 to 7 minutes and rinsing the mouth out with water is a great herbal Mouthwash.

Kidney Disorders: Ancient Indian Medicine for kidneys recommends the juice of the curry plant root.
Insect Bites, Burns and Bruises: Curry leaves applied as a poultice can be effectively used to treat burns, bruises and skin eruptions. Fruits of the Curry Leaves with lime juice are used in treating insect bites and poisonous stings.

Some more information can be found here.

Curry leaves are reaching the price of gold in Mysore & Chikmagalur this year, because of some infections to the entire curry leaves tree(both domestic & commercial). My mom who was proud of her tall & healthy curry leaves tree is now running around to get them treated.

I am happy that I get these leaves in abundance here. Infact, if we buy veggies at Little India for more than 5-10$, we get these leaves as complimentary gift (Isn’t this a nice word for “free”). On top of that, I have a small curry leaves plant left over by my house owner. During my visit to India last December, I did not forget to learn a handful of dishes that uses curry leaves as the main ingredient. This rice is one of them :) Ever since I have prepared this, it has become a great hit & these days; this chitranna is in my fortnight list. This rice does not call for any special ingredients. It is simple, healthy, easy to prepare & easy to digest too ;)



Ingredients:

Rice: 2 cups (Use any Indian rice of your choice. Do not use sticky rice)
Water: 4 cups
Salt: According to taste
Lemon juice: 2 - 2.5 tbsp

For curry leaves paste:
Curry leaves: 1 cup (tightly packed)
Urad dal/Split & deskinned black gram: 1 tbsp
Green chilli: 4 nos (adjust according to the heat)
Grated coconut: 1 tbsp (fresh/frozen)
Salt: As needed
Sugar: a big pinch (optional, but recommended)

For tempering:
Oil: 2 tbsp
Mustard seeds: 1 tsp
Cumin seeds: 1/2 tsp (optional)
Curry leaves: a string
Turmeric: a pinch
Urad dal: 1 tsp
Peanuts/Groundnuts: 1 tbsp
Chopped cashew nuts: 1 tsp (optional)

For garneshing:
Grated coconut: 2-3tbsp

Method:

  • For curry leaves paste: 
    • Dry roast the curry leaves until all the moisture is removed & the leaves become crisp(the curry leaves could alternatively be sun dried or roasted in oven).Dry roast the urad dal/black gram until golden brown. Allow them to cool. Make a fine paste of curry leaves, urad dal, green chilli, salt, coconut. Add few teaspoons of water to make a paste. Do not add too much water. 
  • Cook the rice & allow it to cool (Left over rice would make the job easy:) )
  • Heat oil in a broad pan, when oil is hot, add mustard seeds, when mustard seeds splutter, add cumin seeds & urad dal. When dal turns golden, add peanuts. Roast peanuts until they are golden brown, follow it by cashew nuts. Add curry leaves & then pour in the paste. Saute until the moisture is gone (for 2-3mins, maximum). Finally, add turmeric & turn off the heat.
  • Spread the rice on a large bowl, add the tempering prepared, salt, sugar, lemon juice, coconut & mix the rice gently. Ensure not to make the rice mushy. 
  • Curry leaves rice is ready to be served with a curry/raitha/papad.



Notes:
  • Do not use dark colored curry leaves to prepare this rice as it could become a little bitter. Try to choose, light colored or freshly picked curry leaves.
  • Addition of sugar/jaggery reduces the bitterness of the curry leaves.
  • Curry leaves donot blend well if water is added at the initial stage. Hence, while making the paste of curry leaves, first add the leaves to the mixer jar/spice jar & give it a run(donot add water). Let the curry leaves become a coarse powder, then add all the ingredients & pulse it again to get a smooth paste.
(My curry leaves plant: I love it as they always give such brilliant colored leaves to me!!. This was left by our house owner. I am nurturing it)