Curry leaf rice – Karuveppilai Saadham

karuveppilai saadham,curry leaf riceKaruveppilai saadham or curry leaf rice is another lunch box favourite. Curry leaf rice is a great way to incorporate curry leaves into your diet which otherwise is usually discarded as a well-meaning nuisance. The grated coconut adds texture and the whole black peppercorns give the dish a good punch. Curry leaf rice goes brilliantly well with spicy vegetables (like potato masala) and potato chips. I got especially excited about curry leaf rice when I was a new mother. Karuveppilai is great for lactating mothers, did you know that? Along with garlic, almonds, oats, fenugreek (methi greens or methi seeds), karuvaadu (dried fish), Avarakkai (broad beans), Sura (shark, not the vijay movie – that’s bad for anybody), raw groundnuts and of course milk. This is a great list for new moms to have. In my opinion, it is THE MOST — USEFUL list in the first 6 months after childbirth, even more than the “Top 10 nursery decorating ideas” or “Top 10 accessories new moms should buy”.

Those first few months are really stressful when your little one is wailing all the time and everybody looks accusingly at the mother as if she is just not producing enough (Delhi Erumai a enna?). And new mothers are already psyched out by this time by all the advice that’s being hurled at them. A breast pump only makes it worse (even though it is very useful for working mothers). It lets you see exactly how much there is. It becomes a milk meter that you monitor every time to see if you’ve out-scored, if you’ve met the targets. Supply improves tremendously everytime you have karuveppilai saadham/curry leaf rice or any of the other items on this list. This list of “Top 10 foods for lactating mothers” is courtesy my really cool athai who also happens to be my gynaecologist. She was my mother’s too. She is old-school but totally up-to-date, she doesn’t schedule her patients’ C-sections on her outlook calendar, she still waits for it the natural way, she doesn’t suggest surgery or master check-ups for a late period, she doesn’t charge you your ancestral property, you don’t have to wait 4 hours and be checked by assistants before meeting her, she doesn’t baffle you and she doesn’t give the doctor’s talk (like in the famous space shuttle named busspital (hospital purely for business = busspital) where they sit you down, talk very nicely and elaborately about things, smile and nod a lot before robbing you). In short, she is principled. I am proud of her.
Prep time: 5 mins

Cooking time: 5 mins
Serves: 4-5


Cooked and cooled rice – 3-4 cups
Curry leaves – 4-5 stems, leaves plucked and washed
Coconut – half a coconut grated
Whole Black peppercorns – 2-3 tsp
Cumin – 1 tsp
Oil – 2 tbsp
Salt to taste


Oil – 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Split urad dal/black gram – 1 tsp
Cumin – 1 tsp
1.      Heat oil in a kadai/skillet and when hot, drop in the cumin followed by the curry leaves. Fry for half a minute or so. Add the black peppercorns and grated coconut and fry for about 2 minutes or till the coconut is dry and about to colour.
2.      Remove from fire, cool and grind along with salt without adding water to a coarse mixture. It’s ok if some of the peppercorns are only roughly broken up. That’s how it’s supposed to be.
3.      For the tempering, heat oil in the same kadai and add mustard seeds when hot. Let them splutter. Then add the cumin and split urad dal and fry till the dal colours. Switch off. Pour this tempering mixture onto the ground curry leaf mixture. Mix well.
4.      In a large bowl, add one cup cooked and cooled rice, ladle some of the curry leaf mix on top and mix gently with a fork or spoon until well mixed. Continue adding rice and curry leaf mix alternately in small portions to get the right concentration. Serve hot or at room temperature with vegetables and potato chips.

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