Sri Lankan Herbal Wellness Porridge

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Despite having grown up as a Sri Lankan for the whole 24 years of my life, I actually only tried Gotu Kola Kanda (a herbal wellness porridge originating from Sri Lanka) for the first time only a year or so ago, when I was visiting relations in the country.

It’s deliciously creamy yet has a savoury kick, kind of like a really healthy laksa soup you can have in the mornings.

The hero is of course, gotu kola, a beautiful little green plant that grows really well in Australia! My dad has his own patch in our backyard, which is situated in Melbourne’s western suburbia, so you could say it is quite a hardy plant considering it can survive the humid and sweltering weather of Sri Lanka, as well as Melbourne’s gloomy-one-day-sunny-the-next temperament.

I’ve talked about gotu kola before in my “Peanut satay tempeh, and why gotu kola is good for you” post, but seriously guys, I can’t stress it enough – this plant is amazing! In short it’s anti-aging, stimulates cell repair and growth, enhances mental function and acts as an anti-inflammatory. And paired with a squeeze of lemon it’s delicious on it’s own!

There are two ways you can make this porridge – the lazy way (and the one I opted for today when I took this photo) is getting the pre-packed powder. This is available at any Sri Lankan grocery store you can find. You just add one packet to 3 cups of water, and slowly bring to boil on the stove whilst stirring continuously. Once it reaches boiling point, reduce to simmer, add your pre-cooked red rice, stir for 5 minutes or so and then serve.

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Obviously the more beneficial option is to make it fresh, which really doesn’t take much time at all as long as you have a blender and all the ingredients on hand. For this recipe, fresh gotu kola juice is teamed with fresh grated coconut or coconut milk for creaminess, along with some boiled red rice to cover your morning fibre and carbohydrate needs. You can also add a pinch of salt to taste, and some people even add a bit of jaggery (palm sugar) too. To add an extra inflammatory boost you can also include garlic as well. The recipe below is a variation of the recipe by My Sri Lankan Recipe.

SRI LANKAN HERBAL WELLNESS PORRIDGE (GOTU KOLA KANDA)

Ingredients:

  • 100 ml Gotu Kola (Juice)
  • 100g/½ cup of pre-cooked red or brown rice
  • 50g/50ml Fresh grated coconut/coconut milk
  • 1 clove garlic peeled and crushed/minced (optional)
  • Pinch of Himalayan Pink Rock to taste

Method:

  • Wash and rinse Gotu Kola
  • Blend Gotu Kola with a little bit of water
  • Strain the Gotu Kola juice into a metal pot
  • If you choose to have garlic, you can also add this to the pot too
  • Add coconut milk/grated coconut and cook on stove until mixture is just mildly simmering
  • Make sure to stir the juice and coconut mixture throughout this heating process
  • Once mixture has started simmering, add the pre-cooked rice and cook for a further 5 minutes, then take off the heat
  • Season with salt
  • Serve while hot

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Throw caution to the wind

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Anyone from Melbourne will understand what I mean when I say “what is going on with the weather?”. Melbourne is notorious for its 4 seasons in a day, but the past week has been pushing the limits for most of us. Epic winds, temperature drops, hale, storms, rain, then a complete 360 with sunshine and calm, then back to mayhem again!

For this shoot, we were lucky enough to get some decent sun, though the winds were relentless! Most of the images featured my hair blowing across my face, or me pulling a funny expression as I try to stand straight without toppling over.

Despite the weather shenanigans, the shoot overall was quite successful, and I had heaps of fun wearing the ever so elegant Zinnia dress by Review Australia through the quaint side streets of St Kilda. I loved the retro-feel of the shift dress style, as well the the geometric Guipure lace pattern, which added a touch of feminine chic. I could definitely see myself wearing the dress for a cocktail party, or even for an office environment with a plain black blazer. Very versatile yet stylish!

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Photography by Michael Blamey, art direction and styling by Rebecca Hughes.


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