ഈ മഴക്കാലത്തു ആരോഗ്യം കാത്തു രക്ഷിക്കാൻ കർക്കിടക കഞ്ഞിയും പത്തില തോരനും.
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Today is the first day of Karkidakam (the last month in the Malayalam calendar). In Kerala, heavy rainfall is expected during this monsoon season. This is the time ayurvedic experts suggest some rejuvenation therapies for the body and mind. The age-old Ayurvedic traditions are now followed by the entire world for immeasurable wellness.
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After the peak season of Summer, when the monsoon starts, there will be a sudden change in climatic conditions which will create a lot of health issues. To beat the cold and build immunity during monsoon time, in the month of Karkidakam we follow certain ayurvedic rituals. In this blog, I would like to share a few important food and drinks we take during the rainy season.
Karkidaka Kanji/ Oushadha Kanji (Medicinal gruel)
Karkidaka Kanji/ Oushadha Kanji/ Marunnu Kanji is the rice gruel made of Njavara/Navara rice (de-husked rice) or Podiyari (broken red rice) along with a concoction of medicinal plant extracts, powdered herbs, Ashali seeds (Garden cress seeds), Uluva (fenugreek), Jeerakam (Cumin seeds), Elakka (cardamom), inthuppu (rock salt), and coconut milk. Every household will make this gruel with different herbs and ingredients. It's a very common practice to add green gram as well. Once the Kanji is made with the above-mentioned ingredients, add a tempering with shallots and curry leaves fried in ghee. The aroma and taste profile will completely change once the tempering is added.
To make the sweet version of Marunnu kanji/gruel, one can skip rock salt and add karippatty (palm jaggery). Usually, this Kanji is taken for a minimum of 7 days (preferably at dinner time). It's difficult to find medicinal plants if you live outside Kerala. Nowadays many brands sell Medicinal Kanji mix online.
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Thoran (stir-fried vegetables with coconut) is an integral part of Kerala cuisine. Pathila Thoran is different from the usual thoran recipes. The word Pathila means 10 types of leaves. This stir-fry is made of 10 types of medicinal plants which are available in your house surroundings. The tender leaves from the following plants and root vegetables are used - Thaalu (Wild Colocasia), Thakarayila (cassia tora), thazhuthama (spreading hogweed), chembila (colocasia leaves), payarila (cowpeas leaves), chenayila (Elephant yam leaves), kumbalam (Ash gourd leaves), cheera (Amaranth leaves), choriyanam (climbing nettle), mathan (pumpkin leaves), koovalam (Ivy gourd leaves), etc. Any ten types of locally grown leaves are used in this recipe.
I was surprised to know the medicinal properties of Choriyanam leaves which used to create rashes and itching in the skin when accidentally comes in contact with these leaves in childhood. If handle with care, this leaf can be used like any other greens we use. While plucking just apply a bit of coconut oil to your hands or wear gloves. The leaf is then washed and immersed in hot water for ten mins before using it in the stir-fry.
Wash and finely chop all the leaves and make stir fry using coconut oil, mustard seeds, curry leaves, garlic, turmeric powder, grated coconut, green chillies, and salt. This thoran can be taken with Kanji (rice gruel).
Ada (Steamed pancakes with coconut and Jaggery filling)
Ada is one of my favorite teatime snacks. Gothambu (Wheat) Ada is hassle-free to make. This is the time when Jackfruit season is getting over, so we make Kumbilappam/Chakkayappam with Chakka (Jackfruit)/Chakkavaratti (Jackfruit jam).
On a cold rainy evening, I just need a plate of Ada and a hot cup of tea to keep my energy high.
Chukku (Dry ginger) Kappi/Coffee is taken throughout the year. This medicinal coffee is good for boosting immunity. This herbal drink is made of coffee powder, dry ginger powder, basil leaves, black pepper, Indian Borage leaves (Panikoorka in Malayalam), and Palm jaggery (Karipatty). Boil all the ingredients in water for few mins; filter it and drink it hot. This is our preferable drink when we are slightly under the weather. This drink work wonders when you have cold or chest congestion.