Alappuzha: The Malayalam month of Karkidakam is when everyone focuses on their health and follows a unique diet to rejuvenate the body. This is also the time when indigenous plant-based diets gain significance.
Dishes cooked with colocasia stem are unavoidable during Karkidakam. The Maruthorvattam Dhanwanthari temple near Cherthala is known for serving a special thaalu curry or colocasia stem dish as offering on the day of karkidaka vaavu.
Interestingly, Dhanwanthari Moorthi, the divine master of Ayurveda, is the main idol in this temple. The iconic temple at Maruthorvattam is one of the most famous temples dedicated to Lord Dhanwantari in Southern Kerala.
Medicinal concoctions are presented as special offerings at the temple, for physical and mental well being and also for curing illnesses.
On the day of karkidaka vaavu, the devotees can enjoy the colocasia stem curry that is distributed at the temple, free of cost.
The curry is prepared at the temple using ayurvedic ingredients and is considered effective for gut health. The devotees themselves supply fresh colocasia stems which is then cooked at the temple.
It is usually eaten with rice that is served after the Namaskara prayer. Last year, around 40,000 litres of curry were distributed at the temple.
Besides, the curry is cooked at the temple on the karutha vaavu or new moon days in the months of Thulam and Kumbam.
The karkidaka marunnu seva or consuming the special medicinal preparation begins after the usha pooja on all days in Karkidakam. Marunnu kanji or porridge cooked with brown rice and a medicinal mixture made by blending ayurvedic herbs in milk too is available.
The temple is also known for making ayurvedic medicines like ‘Attayum Kuzhambum’ for curing vata related diseases, ‘Narayana Thailam’ for skin ailments and ‘Mukkudi’ made by mixing herbs in buttermilk for curing stomach illness.
Temple officials Saji J Vattachira, G Sajikumar and D Jayakumar said that special KSRTC bus services have been arranged for the devotees to reach the temple on the day of Karkidaka Vaavu.
Here's the recipe for an amazing thaalu curry.
2 colocasia stems peeled, diced into small pieces
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
2 boken dried red chillies
1/2 cup toor dal
2 cups of water
1 green chilli
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 cup tamarind water
1/4 tsp fenugreen
Wash the chopped colocasia pieces well
Pressure cook the dal for three whistles, ensure it doesn't overcook
Add colocasia stems, tomato, one green chilli, one tsp of chilli powder, salt, a little turmeric water and tamarind to the cooked dal
Pressure cook it for two or three whistles
Cook again opening the cooker lid, so that the water evaporates
Saute fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds, chilly, shallots and curry leaves together and add it to the curry and mix it