Vallarai Keerai Kootu | Indian Pennywort Curry

Vallarai Keerai Kootu is a gravy prepared with moong dal and spinach(Indian Pennywort) with fresh ground coconut masala. This can be served as a rice accompaniment and also as a side for sambar and rasam rice. Vallarai is spinach variety popularly known as Gotu Kola and its botanical name is Centella Asiatica.

GotuKolaGravy

When I went for my regular Indian grocery shopping, I found this spinach and I was so happy. It’s been a long time since I had this spinach. I grabbed it right away and here is the first recipe that I tried with the spinach. One of the popular and common recipes – kootu. (Stay tuned for the next recipe, which is also with this spinach)

Vallarai

When I was searching for its English name, I found a lot of valuable info and also some name conflicts.  It is called as Indian Pennywort and its Hindi name is Brahma Manduki or Mandukparni. Apparently these leaves are also confused with Brahmi leaves and the botanical name of Brahmi leaves is Bacopa monnieri which is not same as Centella Asiatica. These are the websites that I referred to,

I am preparing the regular kootu with this spinach which is pretty much like the spinach kootu which have posted earlier. For the earlier one, I didn’t grind black pepper along with coconut instead used the ground powder. But for this, I used both powder and also included ground black pepper and tried different tempering with urad dal and channa dal. (Usually we temper it with mustard seeds and cumin seeds for kootu) You can read about the basic tempering basics here in my post. So here is the simple Vallarai gravy recipe.

IndianPennuwortGravy

Disclaimer: This spinach has loads of benefits but as the saying goes, too much of anything is good for nothing this cannot be consumed regularly like other spinach varieties. Please consult your doctor before using this spinach if you are pregnant or a new mom. Vallarai keerai is known for improving the memory skills. I have seen powders and capsules of this spinach. Before trying those, please consult your doctor.

  GotuKolaKootu      

Ingredients:

  • Moong Dal – 1/4 cup
  • Vallarai keerai – 2.5 cups (Tightly Packed)
  • Turmeric Powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Pepper Powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Salt – 1 heaped tsp
  • Water – 1.5 cups
  • To Grind:
  • Grated Coconut – 1/3 cup 
  • Red Chillies – 2
  • Cumin Seeds – 1 tbsp
  • Pepper Corns –  1 tsp
  • Water – 3 to 4 tbsps
  • For Tempering:
  • Oil – 2 tsps
  • Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
  • Urad Dal – 1 tsp
  • Channa Dal – 1 tsp
  • Hing – 1/4 tsp

Prep – work:

  • Wash the moong dal and pressure cook it by adding 1.5 cups of water and turmeric powder.
  • Let it cool and mash it well.
  • Meanwhile, wash the spinach twice, remove the stems from the spinach and chop them finely.
  • Grind all the ingredients given under “To Grind” by adding 3 to 4 tbsps of water and set aside.

Steps:

  • Heat a pan or kadai and add oil.
  • Once the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds, urad dal and channa dal. As they start to crackle, add the hing and fry for about 20 seconds.

KootuStep1

  • Now add the chopped spinach, salt and pepper powder and mix well.

KootuStep2

  • Cover and cook for about 5 minutes mixing once in between around 3 minutes. (I didn’t add water at this stage. The spinach along with salt oozes out enough water)
  • By now the spinach should be cooked well. Now add the cooked moong dal and the ground coconut paste and mix well.

KootuStep3KootuStep4

  • Check for salt at this stage and if required adjust accordingly.
  • Bring it to a boil and that’s it. 

Yummy kootu is ready. This can be served as a rice accompaniment and also as a side for sambar rice.

GotuKolaCurry

Notes:

  • If you want thin consistency, add required water after adding cooked moong dal.
  • Adjust the salt and spice according to your preference.
  • Two garlic cloves can be added while cooking the moong dal for additional flavor.
  • Coconut oil can be used for tempering for additional flavor.
  • Instead of urad and channa dal for tempering, you can use cumin seeds and mustard seeds alone for tempering.

IndianPennywortCurry

Vallarai Keerai Kootu | Indian Pennywort Curry
Vallarai Keerai Kootu is a gravy curry prepared with moong dal and spinach(Indian Pennywort) with fresh ground coconut masala. This can be served as a rice accompaniment and also as a side for sambar and rasam rice.
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Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
1 hr 5 min
Prep Time
45 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
1 hr 5 min
Ingredients
  1. Moong Dal - 1/4 cup
  2. Vallarai keerai - 2.5 cups
  3. Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
  4. Pepper Powder - 1/2 tsp
  5. Salt - 1 heaped tsp
  6. Water - 1.5 cups
To Grind
  1. Grated Coconut - 1/3 cup
  2. Red Chillies - 2
  3. Cumin Seeds - 1 tbsp
  4. Pepper Corns - 1 tsp
  5. Water - 3 to 4 tbsps
For Tempering
  1. Oil - 2 tsps
  2. Mustard Seeds - 1 tsp
  3. Urad Dal - 1 tsp
  4. Channa Dal - 1 tsp
  5. Hing - 1/4 tsp
Prep - work
  1. Wash the moong dal and pressure cook it by adding 1.5 cups of water and turmeric powder.
  2. Let it cool and mash it well.
  3. Meanwhile, wash the spinach twice, remove the stems from the spinach and chop them finely.
  4. Grind all the ingredients given under “To Grind” by adding 3 to 4 tbsps of water and set aside.
Steps
  1. Heat a pan or kadai and add oil.
  2. Once the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds, urad dal and channa dal. As they start to crackle, add the hing and fry for about 20 seconds.
  3. Now add the chopped spinach, salt and pepper powder and mix well.
  4. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes mixing once in between around 3 minutes. (I didn’t add water at this stage. The spinach along with salt oozes out enough water)
  5. By now the spinach should be cooked well. Now add the cooked moong dal and the ground coconut paste and mix well.
  6. Check for salt at this stage and if required adjust accordingly.
  7. Bring it to a boil and that’s it.
  8. Yummy kootu is ready. This can be served as a rice accompaniment and also as a side for sambar rice.
Notes
  1. If you want thin consistency, add required water after adding cooked moong dal.
  2. Adjust the salt and spice according to your preference.
  3. Two garlic cloves can be added while cooking the moong dal for additional flavor.
  4. Coconut oil can be used for tempering for additional flavor.
  5. Instead of urad and channa dal for tempering, you can use cumin seeds and mustard seeds alone for tempering.
Vidhya’s Vegetarian Kitchen http://www.vidhyashomecooking.com/

14 thoughts on “Vallarai Keerai Kootu | Indian Pennywort Curry

  1. I’ve never tried Pennywort leaves before … but now I’m intrigued. I will check with my sabziwalla, will surely going to try, if I get this leafy vegetable.
    Thank you so much for introducing me with new edible leaves. Love the way you’ve made…very inviting and tempting share dear Vidhya.

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