Vallarai salad and chutney

The first recipe for today is vallarai salad followed by vallarai chutney. Vallarai/ Gotukola (Centella Asiatica) is a herb used in Ayurvedic medicine, traditional Chinese as well as African medicine. It is said to improve memory and some believe youthfulness.

Bunch of Vallarai/ Gotukola

Bunch of Vallarai/ Gotukola

(a) Vallarai salad

Time taken: 10 mins

Serves 3 or 4

Vallarai salad

Ingredients

  • Vallarai bunch – 2 cups, when finely chopped
  • Tomato – 1 medium or grated coconut – 1 tbsp
  • Chilli – 1
  • Onion – ½
  • Pepper and Salt, to taste
  • Lime juice – 1 tbsp, adjust as preferred

Method:

  1. Wash the bunch of vallarai leaves thoroughly and then finely chop them up and put them in a large salad mixing bowl.
  2. Chop up the tomato, chilli and onion and add to the bowl. For those who don’t like tomatoes, substitute with freshly scraped coconut.
  3. Sprinkle some pepper and salt, to taste and add the lime juice.
  4. Toss well and serve immediately.

(b) Vallarai chutney

Time taken: 5 mins

Serves 3

Vallarai chutney

Ingredients:

  • Vallarai – 2 cups, finely chopped
  • Freshly scraped coconut – ½ cup
  • Onion – ½ chopped
  • Green chillies – 2
  • Lime juice, to taste

Method:

  1. Blend the 2 cups of finely chopped vallarai with ½ cup of freshly scraped coconut, ½ onion and 2 chillies.
  2. Squeeze some fresh lime juice over the chutney and mix before serving immediately.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.

Mashed pumpkin salad

This is a simple and quick to prepare recipe of my mother’s, which is a huge hit with visitors. My mother generally likes experimenting. She can also replicate something she has once tasted. As this dish is something that falls under the two, I have labelled it under ‘Colombo’ (the city where different Sri Lankan cuisines meet) – which is also the city my mother has lived nearly three decades so far and where she feels most at home.

Mashed Pumpkin Salad

Time taken – 20 minutes

Serves – 4

Mashed pumpkin salad

Ingredients

  • Pumpkin – 250g
  • Coconut milk – 2 or 3 tbsp
  • Green chillies – 2
  • Onion – 1 medium sized, chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Lime juice

Method

  1. Chop the pumpkin into chunks, does not need to be small, and leaving the skin on. Remove seeds and clean the chunks.
  2. Boil the pumpkin until it is tender and cooked, for around 15 minutes. Remove skin and mash the pumpkin.
  3. Add the coconut milk, green chillies, onion to the mashed pumpkin and mix well.
  4. Season with salt and pepper, according to your taste, as well as some lime juice.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.