Kanji – another cold remedy


It’s runny nose season in Australia. Last year I put up the recipe for Kothamalli Thani – which my ammah has on tap for us when we are sick. Today, on my request, she made the family Kanji.

There are many different ways to make Kanji – this recipe uses coriander leaves.


A special thing about this blog is that my family like to give input into the recipes and share their stories from ‘home’.  So it’s become a bit of a bonding project.

Today I learnt that when my parents were growing up – they didn’t know what coriander leaves were. They would use the seeds in recipes ( ie. kothamalli thani) but not the leaves.  So for this dish, they would use something called ‘thoodhuvalay’. Wikipedia came up with this for the English name – ‘Solanum Tilobatum‘: is an herb used to treat the common cold, cough and asthma.

The conversation then moved onto how self sufficient life was in Sri Lanka. Most families grew all their veges and greens, would use them for both food and medicinal purposes, milk was fresh from the cows, the chicken laid the eggs etc.

Self sufficiency – now that is a super cool way to live. My parents have a great vege patch in their tiny yard. My dad is starting to experiment with mushrooms and garlic. I grow herbs and my dad has given me a silver beet plant. I am going to try to grow tomatoes and eggplant this summer . Atm I on the warpath with the caterpillars eating through my herbs.

Back to Kanji. The Chinese have a similar dish called Congee and the Japanese call their one Okayu – served during illness. I am sure we could find a variation of this dish all over the world.

This dish uses red rice which my ammah says is more nutritious than white.


INGREDIENTS (serves 5)

  • 1 medium  red onion chopped into tiny pieces
  • 2 bunch of coriander leaves (about 120g)
  • 5 hot chillies (or as much as you want – the more the better for a runny nose)
  • 2 cups milk or soy milk
  • 1.25 cups red rice
  • 2 limes squeezed
  • 1.5 tsp salt


1. Wash the red rice, add water and boil.
2. Grind the coriander with 1/2 cup water. We don’t have a grinder, so we did it the old fashioned way.

3. Add milk or soy milk to ground coriander mix and leave aside.
4. When the rice is cooked, add the salt, chillies onion and the coriander mix and bring to boil (this should take less than 5 mins)
5. Remove from stove.
6. Add lime juice and serve hot.

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