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.


As I was writing this post, I learnt that appa and amma 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 the homeland (Illangai). Most families grew all their veges and greens, and would use them for both food and medicinal purposes – milk was fresh from the cows –  the chicken laid the eggs etc.

Here in Sydney, which is the home in exile, my parents have a great vege patch in their tiny yard. The are constantly experimenting with different veges and we all enjoy how delicious it tastes.

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 ammah says is more nutritious than white.


INGREDIENTS (serves 4)

  • 80g  red onion chopped into tiny pieces
  • 100g of coriander leaves and stems
  • 5 hot chillies (or as much as you want – the more the better for a runny nose)
  • 1 cups coconut milk
  • 1 cups red rice
  • 1 lime squeezed
  • 1.25 tsp salt


1. Wash the red rice, add water and boil.
2. Grind the coriander with 1/2 cup water and set aside. We don’t have a grinder, so we did it the old fashioned way.
3. When the rice is cooked, add the salt, chillies, onion, coriander and coconut milk – bring to boil and cook for about 5 mins.
4. Remove from stove.
5. Add lime juice and serve hot. I would add half the lime juice and see what it tastes like and decide if you want to add the full amount or maybe more.


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