Karkidakam is that time of the year when your body requires extra strength. Traditional broths have medicinal properties that will help cope with the season’s ailments
Karkidakam is known for its torrential rains. It is that time of the year when the body has not completely recovered from the heat of the summer and is weak and vulnerable to diseases. It is also known as a ‘lean’ month in the Malayalam almanac, a pre-cursor to the bountiful Chingam.
One distinctive feature of Karkidakam is the Karkidaka Kanji (Karkidaka porridge). It is a therapeutic, tasty rice gruel that is prepared and consumed fresh on all the days of this month. It is usually consumed in the evenings. While one has the karkidaka kanji, consumption of tea or coffee is usually avoided. So are non-vegetarian and oily foods. Since is a medicinal broth, It is advisable to take rest for one to two hours after drinking the Karkidaka Kanji.
Here’s how you can make Karkidaka Kanji at home. You can also try Uluva Kanji (Fenugreek Porridge), another porridge, which is taken during Karkidakam to relieve the body of aches and pains.
Raw red rice (Onakkal ari)– 1 cup
Horse gram (Muthira) – Quarter cup
Palm jaggery syrup or jaggery syrup – Three-fourth cup
Coconut milk – One and a half cup
Powder these Ayurvedic ingredients to equal 2 tbsp: Aashaali (Garden Cress), Kurunthotti (Mahabala or Sida retusa) and Jeeragam (Cumin)
Sort the rice. Wash the rice and soak it for two hours. Wash and soak the horse gram (muthira) for 3-4 hours. In an earthen pot, boil the rice and horsegram in 3 cups water until soft or cooked. Now add pure filtered jaggery liquid. (To prepare the liquid, soak the jaggery in 2 cups water for about 20 minutes and knead or mix with the hand or spoon.
Filter to remove any impurities such as dirt, mud and grime. The liquid is ready and can be used to make both Karkidaka and Uluva Kanji.) Boil well. Once the flavour of the jaggery has been infused, add the coconut milk. Stir well. Add the powder and sprinkle a pinch of salt. Remove from flame. Serve fresh.
Fenugreek – Quarter cup, sorted, washed and soaked for 1 hour
Raw red rice (Payasam rice) – 1 cup
Coconut milk – 1 cup
Jaggery liquid – 2 cups
Cumin powder – 1 tsp
Salt – A pinch
Clean the fenugreek seeds and soak it in water for one hour. Sort, wash and soak the rice for one hour. Drain the water and combine the two. In an earthen pot pour 3 cups of water. Boil the rice and fenugreek well. Add a little water if required. Once well-cooked, add the jaggery liquid.
Once it boils well, lower the flame and add the coconut milk. Add the jeera powder and a pinch of salt. Stir well. Remove from flame. Serve warm.