It’s good to be back guys. Thanks for your patience. The last few months have seen us move from Seattle to Sydney, buy a house, unpack a 20ft container and welcome a new member to our family. Life is still hectic but the cooking must go on.
I’ve decided to make a recipe my mother has been making for years. Its a real comfort dish for me, something that’s so packed with goodness that I always feel great when I’ve had this for breakfast.
Kenda is somewhere between the ubiquitous Asian congee and a green smoothie. Packed with rice and simple flavourings, it gets it green colour from the kola, which is Sinhalese for leaves. In Sri Lanka, it’s a real forager’s dish, made with whatever herbs and leaves can be gathered.
Gotu Kola(centella asiatica) is a herb commonly found in Sri Lanka. It grows wild in many places and we use it in kenda, salads and deep fried till crisp in condiments. It has many medicinal properties, often used in Ayurvedic medicine and Chinese herbal medicine alike. I’ve often heard it referred to as ‘arthritis herb’, which makes sense as it is known for it’s anti-inflammatory properties.
In the US, I came across gotu kola in the most unexpected place. I was walking with Mr Firehouse and Mister C through the university district farmer’s markets in Seattle and passed a tea stall. I never pass a tea stall without stopping, I love tea! As I was perusing the teas I came across one that had gotu kola in it. I was excited! Gotu kola in Seattle? Could this be the start of fresh mallums and kenda on Saturday mornings? Sadly no. When I asked the proprietor she informed me that gotu kola is grown in Oregon, which is where she had sourced it. Alas, I never saw it in Seattle but there’s proof it is in the states. Jess from 13spices also did a post on her blog about gotu kola which she found in DC. In Australia it’s often seen in Sri Lankan spice markets or better yet in an Aunty of Uncle’s garden. In fact that’s where I source all of mine.
I’ve had a few requests for this recipe, so I hope you all enjoy it!
- 3-4 cups gotu kola, leaves only picked
- 1/2 cup of rice ( I used a combination of red and white) rinsed
- 3 cloves of garlic sliced
- 1 tbsp. pepper corns
- salt to taste
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- palm sugar to serve
In a medium saucepan add the rice, garlic and peppercorns and 2 cups of water. Pop the lid on and cook until the rice is cooked, but not too soft, we’re going for al dente.
Meanwhile, blend the gotu kola with just enough water to make a lovely green puree. I ended up with just under a litre of liquid.
Pass the gotu kola puree through a sieve into the cooked rice and spices and mix.
Add the coconut milk and season to taste. When the mixture is warmed through, take off the heat and serve hot with plenty of palm sugar or jaggery.