It's the last month of the malayalam calender, Karkitakam..and die hard fans of ayurveda and mallu culture and traditions are starting their ayurvedic medicinal broths,special oil massages,reading the Ramayana,etc.It is beleived to be the ideal time for purification and rejuvination of the body and mind.The monsoon is the time when the atmosphere remains dustfree and cool, opening up the pores of the body to the maximum, making it most receptive to herbal oils and therapy.
At my home, I make the simpler version of Karkkidaka Kanjiwhich was taught to me by my mother-in-law....we have regular oil baths...in short,we try to prepare our bodies to be healthy for the next malayalam year by undergoing a light detoxification program(being vegetarian,drinking lots of water,etc)and having this kanjifor a course of either one week or ten days..
First,you have to soak fenugreek overnight.
Then you have to take a little walk down the country lanes..where there are a multitude of herbs growing wild...keep a sharp lookout for the herb known as Kuroonthottee.(If you are in a city, I guess you might be able to get it from a herbal medicine shop.)
Hokaaayyyy!!for those of you who are interested in making this traditional broth at home...i have added the recipe below..
What you see above on the left is the root of the kuroonthottee plant, washed and dried, and on the left , is Pathimukham, or chappangu.
Par boiled rice(matta ari)-1 cup
Kuroonthotti( roots only)-2 numbers
Coconut (grated)-1 large
Button Onions(chopped)-5 numbers
Salt-1-2 tsp(to taste)
Soak the fenugreek in water overnight.
In the morning,wash well,drain, and keep aside.
Take 4 cups water in a large cooker or heavy bottom vessel.
Add chappangu and the roots to this.Boil.
When the water is very red in colour, and it has boiled for at least 10
minutes,remove the roots and chappangu from the cooker and throw away.
Add fenugreek and washed rice.
Close cooker and cook till rice is well cooked(about10 minutes if you are using a pressure cooker,or about 1/2 hour,if you're cooking in a plain vessel)
Put grated coconut in a blender, add 1 cup water, and blend well.Strain this first coconut milk and keep aside.
Again put the same strained coconut into blender, add one more cup of water, and blend again.,strain the second milk.
When rice is almost cooked,add the second coconut milk to it.Boil well til rice is fully cooked,then add the first coconut milk.Don't allow this milk to boil , else, it will curdle.Mix, and remove from fire.
Fry the button onions in 1 tbsp ghee till golden brown and crispy ,and garnish the kanji with this.
Serve piping hot,accompanied either with pappadam, or pickle.