Kola Kanda , an herbal porridge even called herbal gruel is one of the best healthy porridges from Sri Lanka that you must try if you visit Sri Lanka one day. Kola kanda is full of nutrients and full of flavours. Although you can cook Kola Kanda or herbal porridge by using only Gotukola, you can even cook it by adding more different leaves to the mix. With a blend of flavours from all these edible leaves which are easily found in Sri Lankan home gardens, Kola Kanda is a well-known herbal drink/herbal soup which gives many benefits to humans.
Apart from the many health benefits of kola kanda, today I selected this recipe to share due to its cooling effect on the body. In Sri Lanka Kola kanda is well known as a healthy herbal porridge that is good to cool the body. In our family, it is like a tradition to cook this herbal porridge whenever there is a need for cooling the body or whenever there is any allergy situation. (Of course, with proper medication)
Sri Lankan holiday and lots of sneezing
Last month we were in Sri Lanka for more than one month’s holiday. At the time we returned to Singapore, although we cleaned and mopped the home and floor, my kid started sneezing and showed signs of itching. Our home was closed for this whole duration, so I guessed this can be due to the dust collected inside the home. I started reading around to find some reasons and cures for these allergic signs. I was shocked to read that this can be due to the dust mites which we cannot see inside the bedroom!
Reasons and causes of bed allergies
Bed allergies can be due to dust mites. Recently I came across a post on Mattress Test about bed allergies which share some shocking facts. According to that post, these reactions are actually not because of the dust mites, but due to their feces. These feces can be accumulated under the coils of the mattress creating allergic conditions such as itching and sneezing.
Anyway, I reacted fast by cleaning all mattresses, pillows, and sheets again other than mopping the floor. These reactions and signs faded away in a few days from my kid. But, during these days I also cooked some cooling food to avoid the heat of the body.
In Singapore, I can’t find all these edible leaves easily to cook traditional Sri Lankan Kola Kanda. Instead, I found gotu kola and karapincha (curry leaves) for my herbal porridge. The photos in this post are from my recent Sri Lanka holiday because my mother cooked kola kanda a few times.
What are the leaves suitable for Sri Lankan Kola Kanda?
Below are some of the popular herbal leaves that you can add to your kola kanda or herbal porridge. You can add all or some of the leaves from this list.
Gotukola – Centalla asiatica
Welpenela – Cordiospermum halicacabum
Iramusu – Hemidesmus indicus
Hatawariya – Asparagus racemosus
Polpala – Avera lantana
Karapincha – Murraya koenigi
Ranawara – Cassia auriculata
There are many other herbal plants that are suitable for this porridge. Above are some of the plants and leaves that we use commonly for making kola kanda.
So below is the recipe for Kola Kanda which I learned from my mom.
Recipe: Sri Lankan Kola Kanda Recipe (Herbal Porridge/Herbal Gruel)
½ cup red rice (or white rice)
About 2 cups of Freshly grated coconut
Bunch of edible leaves including gotukola ,penela,hathawariya
1-2 cloves of garlic
2-3 black peppercorns (or as per taste)
Salt to taste
Wash all the leaves. Blend it in a blender together with freshly grated coconut using some water. Squeeze the juice. Keep aside.
Meantime, wash the rice and cook it by adding water. Add garlic cloves to the rice at the time of cooking. Add 2-3 black peppercorns if you like this to be a bit spicy. (Optional)
When rice is cooked well, add the juice of the leaves which we kept aside.
Add salt as per taste. Mix well and simmer. Add a little bit of water to achieve the required thickness of the porridge.
When the porridge starts boiling, remove it from the heat.
Serve with a piece of jaggery (palm sugar)
Hope you will try Kola Kanda at home. Please let me know the outcome in the comments.