Repost: Murungai Ilai Kanji

As part of the rice series, I thought I would repost the recipe for a rice porridge that I had originally posted during the first month of this blog last year. I like this murungai ilai/ moringa leaves rice porridge that my mother occasionally makes.

Murungai Ilai KanjiFurther, as I am reposting an older post, I thought it fitting to feature two musicians famous for their baila music from the 70s and 80s. Baila music is a form of popular Sri Lankan music that has its roots in the Kaffringha music of Sri Lanka. The Kaffringhas are descendants of Africans who were brought to Sri Lanka during the European colonial era and with them came a unique mix of creole music and dance that found its way to mainstream Sri Lankan music in the 60s and came to be known as Baila.

While personally not a fan of Baila music, I find some interesting.

The first baila song I will share today is ‘Cooranjaneetha Thurannai’ from the early 70s by A.E.Manoharan, an actor and a famous baila singer and composer both in Sri Lanka and in Tamil Nadu, India. I consider his most popular hit song as ‘Surangani‘ which he first wrote and composed in Sinhala then in the bilingual Sinhala and Tamil version which became very popular in South India that several versions of the song have been made since.

The second baila song is that of the Gypsies. The peak period of this group was in the 70s to the 90s. Their last album released in 2001 was called Ai (Why?) and included several baila songs satirizing the local socio-political environment. While I most remember their peace song ‘Lowe Sama‘ that was continuously played on TV and radio stations throughout the 80s and 90s, in keeping with the baila music of this post, I thought I would share a song from there last album here.

Enjoy the baila songs while preparing this kanji! 🙂

Murungai Ilai Kanji

  • Servings: 1-2
  • Time: 20mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • Red raw rice – 3 tbsp
  • Murungai ilai/ Moringa leaves – 3 tbsp, chopped or ground
  • Carrot – ¼, chopped
  • Onion –1 tsp, chopped
  • Bean – 1, chopped
  • Pepper – ¼ tsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Lime juice, to taste

Method:

  1. Cook the rice in a pan with 1 cup of water for about 5 mins.
  2. Add all the chopped vegetables and cook for another 10 – 15 mins.
  3. Add the salt and pepper, to taste. Mix and cook for a couple of minutes before removing from the heat.
  4. Drizzle some lime juice over the kanji before serving it hot.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.

Murungaikai Curry

Re-posting recipe: This is my grandmother’s recipe, as remembered and replicated by my mother. For my mother’s recipe, check out this post.

Drumstick curry

Cooking time – 25 minutes

Serves 3

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Ingredients:

  • Drumstick/ Murungai – 1
  • Potato – 1 large
  • Onion – ½ medium sized
  • ¼ fresh Coconut ~ ½ cup of scraped fresh coconut
  • Curry powder – 1 tbsp, can add another 1/2 tbsp for more spiciness
  • Salt to taste

 Method:

  1. Cut the drumstick into 2’’ pieces and chop up the potato and onion.
  2. To the scraped fresh coconut, add some water and squeeze out the first coconut milk and keep aside. Reuse the coconut flakes and squeeze out the second milk by adding some water. If you don’t like to squeeze out the coconut milk by hand, simply use a blender and strain out the first and second milk. An alternative is to use ready-made coconut milk but the different consistencies expected in this dish will not be there. The first milk is richer in consistency and fats while the second milk is thinner in consistency.
  3. In a sauce pan, add four cups of water to coconut milk obtained the second time – the second coconut milk.
  4. Add the cut vegetables (drumstick, potato and onion) to the pan as well as the chilli powder and cook the vegetables.
  5. Once the potato and drumstick pieces are cooked, add the reserved first coconut milk and salt and let it simmer for five minutes before taking off the heat.
  6. Serve hot with rice or pittu or stringhoppers.

A slight variation in my great grandmother’s drumstick curry recipe is that she did not add potatoes  to the drumsticks. Just before taking the curry off the heat, she lightly fried some chopped onion, dried red chillies and fennel seeds in a separate pan and added the tempered seasonings to the curry. This gives a nice aroma and flavour to the dish.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.

Odiyal Kool

Decided to take a break this week and re-post a few recipes from the initial days of this blog.

This is a traditional recipe from the North of Sri Lanka made from a palmyrah product. My mother tells me her grandmother used to make this for them on special occasions. While this is typically a spicy sea-food dish, it can be a vegan dish if one omits the seafood.

So, I am sharing my great-grandmother’s odiyal kool recipe, as remembered by my mother.

The base for this kool is ‘Odiyal’, a healthy and nutritious root that is dried before making into a flour. One can purchase the ‘odiyal flour’ from Katpaham marketing outlets around Sri Lanka, run by the Palmyrah Development Board, and might be found at Sri Lankan stores outside of Sri Lanka. However, if ‘odiyal flour’ cannot be obtained, corn flour can be tried out as a substitute.

Odiyal Kool

Cooking time – 45 minutes

Serves: 8 – 10

Ingredients

  • Odiyal or Odiyal Flour – 1 cup
  • Chopped mixed vegetables (brinjal/ katharikkai, jackfruit seeds/ palakottai, yardlong beans/ paithangai, small green leaves/ pasali keerai or murungai ilai, manioc, ash plantain) – 100g each
  • Chopped mixed seafood (prawns, crab meat, squids etc.) – 100g each, omit if vegetarian
  • Boiled rice – ½ cup
  • Dried red chillies – 5- 10, depending on your desired level of hot spicy
  • Cumin seeds – 1 tbsp, can add another tablespoon if you like it really spicy
  • Pepper powder – 1tbsp, can add another tablespoon if you like it really spicy
  • Tamarind extract – ½ cup
  • Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Water – 2 litres

Method:

  1. Grind the odiyal into flour or use the ready-made odiyal flour.
  2. Dry grind the cumin seeds, red chillies and pepper and keep aside.
  3. Boil the vegetables in a pot with half litre water.
  4. Boil the seafood in a separate pot with half litre water.
  5. Then, mix the boiled vegetables and seafood and add another litre of water, along with the tamarind extract.
  6. As the water comes to a boil, slowly stir in the odiyal flour, avoiding lumps.
  7. Add the boiled rice to the pot.
  8. Add the ground spice mixture and the turmeric powder to the pot and salt to taste. Let it come to a boil.
  9. You can add a little water to adjust the consistency to your liking, e.g. if the water has dried up or you prefer a watery Kool.
  10. Serve hot in medium-sized bowls.

Recipe Source: Raji Thillainathan.

Thosai with Sambhar

Today’s recipe is a meal that my mother often makes at home for dinner – Thosai with sambhar and sambal. This is a meal that can also be eaten at breakfast or lunch.

Thosai with Sambhar

(a) Thosai

Cooking time: 30 mins + soaking and fermenting time: 12 hours

Makes 20

Ingredients:

  • Raw rice – 1 cup
  • Ulunthu/ urad dal – 1 cup
  • Fenugreek – ¼ tsp
  • Curry leaves – 1 sprig
  • Onion – small piece, chopped
  • Cumin – 1 tsp
  • Pepper – 1 tsp
  • Turmeric – ½ tsp

Method:

  1. Soak the rice, dal and fenugreek for 6 hours.
  2. Drain the soaked mixture and wash it lightly.
  3. Put the mix in the blender together with the curry leaves, chopped onion and cumin, pepper and turmeric. Blend until the thosai batter has a consistency similar to that of pancake batter consistency.
  4. Transfer the batter to a bowl. Cover and let it ferment for another 6 hours.
  5. Add salt and mix before heating up the thosai pan or flat pan.
  6. Pour a large spoonful of batter and spread it out. Flip to the other side after a minute or two so that both sides are cooked well and have brownish tinges.
  7. Serve the thosai hot with sambhar and dried red chilli sambal.

(b) Sambhar

Cooking time: 30 mins

Serves 5 or 6

Ingredients:

  • Mysore dal – ½ cup
  • Brinjal – ½ cup, chopped
  • Beans – ½ cup, chopped
  • Carrot – ½ cup, chopped
  • Potato – 1 medium-sized, chopped
  • Pumpkin – ½ cup, chopped
  • Murungai Kai – ½ cup, chopped (optional)
  • Onion – ½, chopped
  • Curry leaves – 1 sprig
  • Tamarind extract – ¼ cup
  • Crushed chillies – 1 tsp
  • Cumin powder – 1 tsp
  • Coriander powder – 1 tsp
  • Pepper – ½ tsp
  • Garlic cloves – 2 or 3, crushed
  • Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
  • Coconut milk – ¼ cup
  • Salt, to taste

Method:

  1. Cook the vegetables, in a pan with 3 cups of water, for about 15 – 20 minutes on medium heat.
  2. Reduce heat and if water had dried up, add another ½ cup water.  Add the tamarind juice, mix well and cook for another 5 minutes.
  3. Add the crushed chillies, cumin, coriander and pepper powder, crushed garlic and turmeric powder to the pan. Mix well and cook for a few more minutes.
  4. Towards the end, add ¼ cup coconut milk. Cook for a few minutes before removing from heat.
  5. Serve sambhar with thosai or idli.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.

Murungai Ilai Kanji

Update (04/07/4014): I wanted to also share a kanji (soup/porridge) recipe that is popular in Jaffna at the Soups with SS event hosted by Sonal and Shruti

This morning, I will share my mother’s recipe for murungai ilai kanji. My mother makes different types of kanji occasionally for breakfast but I like this one the best.

Murungai Ilai Kanji

Time taken: 20 mins

Serves 1 or 2

Murungai Ilai Kanji

Ingredients:

  • Red raw rice – 3 tbsp
  • Murungai ilai/ Moringa leaves – 3 tbsp, chopped or ground
  • Carrot – ¼, chopped
  • Onion –1 tsp, chopped
  • Bean – 1, chopped
  • Pepper – ¼ tsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Lime juice, to taste

Method:

  1. Cook the rice in a pan with 1 cup of water for about 5 mins.
  2. Add all the chopped vegetables and cook for another 10 – 15 mins.
  3. Add the salt and pepper, to taste. Mix and cook for a couple of minutes before removing from the heat.
  4. Squeeze some lime juice before serving hot.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.

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Murungai ilai varai

The second recipe I would like to share today is my mother’s murungai ilai recipe. Rich in iron and calcium, murungai (moringa oleifera) is very much part of Jaffna cuisine.

Murungai ilai

Murungai ilai Varai/stir fry

Time taken: 25 – 30 mins

Serves 2 – 3 persons

Murungai ilai varai

Ingredients:

  • Murungai ilai/ Moringa leaves – 1 ½ cups
  • Fennel seeds –1 tsp
  • Green chillies – 2, chopped
  • Onion – ½, chopped
  • Curry leaves – 1 sprig
  • Coconut scraped – 1 tbsp
  • Curry powder – 1 tsp or pepper – ½ tsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Sesame oil, as required

Method:

  1. Wash and clean the bunch of murungai ilai. Extract the leaves from the stalk.
  2. Drain off the water and chop the leaves finely. Sprinkle with salt and keep aside.
  3. Heat 1 tbsp of sesame oil in a pan. Saute the chopped onion, green chillies and curry leaves with fennel seeds.
  4. Add the salted leaves to the pan. Increase the heat and stir fry for about 10 mins.
  5. Now, add the freshly scraped coconut and curry powder or pepper and mix well.
  6. Continue to stir fry for another 5 mins before emoving from heat.
  7. Serve hot with rice.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.

Drumstick curry

This is my mother’s recipe and this is the way she makes drumstick curry often at home. It is delicious.

Drumsticks

Cooking time: 25 – 30 mins

Serves 4 – 5 persons

Drumstick curry

Ingredients

  • Drumsticks – 2
  • Fenugreek seeds – 1 tbsp
  • Onion – ½
  • Curry leaves – 2 sprig
  • Curry powder – 1 tbsp
  • Salt – ½ tsp
  • Oil – 1 tbsp
  • Tamarind extract – ½ cup
  • Non-fat milk or coconut milk (for vegans) – 1 cup
  • Water – ½ cup

Method

  1. Cut the drumsticks into 2 inch pieces and clean by scraping lightly the skin.
  2. Deep fry drumstick pieces, till they are lightly browned.
  3. In a pan, heat a little oil and sauté the fenugreek seeds, onions and curry leaves.
  4. Add the fried drumstick pieces and mix well.
  5. Add the tamarind extract, non-fat milk or coconut milk and water, along with the curry powder and salt, to the pan.
  6. Cover and cook on medium heat for around 15 mins.
  7. Taste for salt and then increase heat and cook further for about 5 mins.
  8. Remove from heat and serve with hot rice or stringhoppers.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.