Vallarai Recipe | Pennywort | Indian Recipes
I realised I am really crazy about food/cooking, when I almost shrieked with abundant joy the moment I chanced upon these leaves at my local Farmer's market.  "Pennywort" did nothing for me, but a small writing "Vallarai" next to it did! Someone actually wrote the tamil word at a Farmer's market in U.S of A for me to finally make a connection. Yeah, I am lousy with Indian greens and their names that way.  And to think just couple of days earlier, I was busy telling my mom that we don't get most of Indian greens here!
Vallarai Recipe | Pennywort | Indian Recipes
Brahmi /Indian pennywort /Vallarai /Saraswathi keerai /Sarswathi aku are some of the other names by which its called. Lets get one thing straight - These greens are medicine. Ayurveda has a lengthy benefits list associated with these leaves that you can google for more details and it tastes like one.  I would suggest starting this out just as you would a medicine - in small quantity. Its bitterness might be off putting to many, but instead of avoiding it altogether, start out by adding a small amount to your regular recipes.
Vallarai Recipe | Pennywort | Indian Recipes
Like this dal/ kootu.  The lentil will help mask the bitterness when used in small quantities. While I have used about 2 cups, I would recommend that you start with say 1/2  cup and then depending on how much you like it, adjusting it next time around. The first time I made it, my little one ate only about 3 tablespoon along with his meal while the rest of us were OK. But with 1 cup of greens in the same recipe, he relished a bit more. So use prudence and your palate to decide the amount - but definitely don't skip it. Its nutritional charts are off the graph to give it a miss if you find these in your area.
  • Cook time:
  • Prep time:
  • Serves: 3 people
  • Yields: It will serve 3-4 people when served as a side dish along with other courses.
  • 1-2 cups tightly packed Vallarai Keerai ( Brahmi/Pennywort leaves) - see Tips
  • 3/4 cup Moong Dal (skinned split Green Gram / Paithamparuppu)
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp homemade Ghee
  • 2 tsp virgin Coconut Oil
  • 1 tsp Mustard seeds
  • 1 Dried Red Chilli or as per taste
  • 1 tsp Urad Dal (split Black gram)
  • 1 tsp Channa Dal (Bengal Gram)
  • Pinch Asafoetida
  • 1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 5-6 Curry Leaves
  • Salt to taste
  • Lemon Juice, freshly squeezed, as per taste
1. Vallarai Greens: If you are new to this green I would suggest starting with minimal amounts, say 1/2 -1 cup of tightly packed greens since it has a strong (bitter/peppery) taste / aroma and hence might need getting used to. I have used 2 cups in this recipe.

To make these "healthy" greens go down even better, try adding 1 medium onion along with 1 tomato. Saute it first and then add the greens. Continue with the recipe.
1. Add the lentils along with about 2 cups water and turmeric to a pressure cooker. You can optionally dry roast the lentils until aromatic before this step as well.
2. Cook for around 10 minutes or until done. Its OK if it turns mushy. Set aside.
3. While the lentils are being cooked, wash the greens very well in cold water. Refer Tip 1 before using the suggested amount of greens.
4. Add it to a blender
5. and pulse until it becomes a coarse paste. You can instead chop it as well. Set aside.
6. Place a pan on a low-medium flame and add the coconut oil along with ghee. You can instead add any vegetable oil of your choosing.  Once hot, add the mustard seeds. Once they pop, add the red chilli, channa dal, urad dal, asafoetida, cumin seeds and curry leaves.
7. Next add the greens puree and cook until the raw smell disappears. Add a little salt at this point.
8. Next add the cooked lentil
9. and mix until combined.  If the greens seem too thick, add a little warm water until the desired consistency. Add the lemon juice towards the end, to taste.
Serve it as a side to your regular meal accompaniment. I usually serve it during a South Indian menu along with Kuzhambu, Rasam, vegetable curry and curd. Vallarai Recipe | Pennywort | Indian Recipes

Recipe Reference

my mother's recipe notes

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By gobikrishnan on Sep 5, 2015

its awesome i tried it and enjoy it a lot.thank u for this recipe.