Living in Consciousness ~ Indi(r)a’s Food and Garden Weblog

Curry Leaves and Ganji

Biyyam Karivepaaku Ganji:

Curry Leaves

I think curry leaves are nature’s helping way to make our cooking better, one meal at a time. How? – You might ask. Nature picked the prettiest shade of green, selected a pleasing shape and packed the most enticing scent known to mankind, and the result is the curry leaves. Add few leaves while cooking, even the mundane daily dishes become magnificent with minimum effort. Example is ganji. Ganji, Kanji, Congee, Jook or Okayu, not only several names, there are also different ways of ganji preparation across Asia. Almost in all recipes in India, curry leaves are added. The elixir of life needs curry leaves perfume.

Inspired by Mathy Kandasamy’s recipe and Ammini Ramachandran’s article, I have prepared ganji for our meal today. I changed the method little bit to suit my taste. I cooked Rosematta rice (the wholesome red rice from Kerala) in lots of water. I have also added curry leaves along with ginger and green chillies. (Adding them in the beginning is what I did different.) Once the rice is cooked, the rice water is drained and saved. To this nutrient packed, curry leaves-ginger infused rice water, I’ve added little bit of coconut milk. The result is a pleasant, pale-pink colored ganji. It’s been ages since I had a taste of ganji and my ganji meal today did not disappoint me. Rosematta goodness and curry leaves fragrance gave the ganji a distinctive and appealing flavor. A must try for fans of curry leaves and Rosematta.

Rosematta Rice, Curry Leaves and Shallot (Erra Gadda)


1 cup Rosematta rice
8 cups water
12-15 curry leaves, finely chopped
4 to 5 green chillies – finely chopped
1 tablespoon of grated ginger
½ teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of coconut milk – homemade or store-bought

Take Rosematta rice in a big vessel. Wash first and then add about 8 cups of water. Sprinkle finely chopped curry leaves, green chillies, grated ginger and salt. Mix. Bring the water to a boil. Reduce the heat, cover the pot and let it simmer, until the rice cooked to tender. Takes about 30 to 40 minutes.

The cooked rice water will be simmered down to about 4 cups. Lightly concentrated and infused with Rosematta, curry leaves and ginger goodness – ganji is ready for the final touch. Using a colander, drain rice into a big pot and save the rice water (ganji).

To this ganji, add coconut milk and mix. Adjust salt to your liking. Drink the ganji warm.

when times are hard, people have known to depend on ganji for sustenance. Also, it’s a blessing to people who wants to cut back on consumption. Exhaustng times or greedy glutton times, ganji is a great way to start a meal – any meal, that’s how I felt. No wonder, even to this day ganji is continued to be “Asia’s Bowl full of Comfort”.

Curry Leaves Infused Ganji – The Elixir of Life for JFI-WBB:Greens

Ganji and Rosematta Rice with Brinjal Curry ~ Our Meal Today

Congee: Asia’s Bowl full of Comfort ~ Informative article by Ammini Ramachandran
Recipe source: Virundhu of Mathy Kandasamy
Ganji is a Telugu word for Kanji, or Congee. Ganji tastes great when made with broken parboiled rice.
Traditonally cooked rice, buttermilk, small shallots and fresh cilantro are also added to ganji.

Posted by Indira©Copyrighted in Amma & Authentic Andhra,Biyyamu (Rice),Karivepaaku(Curry Leaf),Rosematta Rice,The Essentials (Friday April 27, 2007 at 1:26 pm- permalink)
Comments (12)

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12 comments for Curry Leaves and Ganji »

  1. fantastic Indira, One can rarely think of spicing up ganji!!!! I’m in awe…

    Comment by Deepika Saripalli — April 27, 2007 @ 1:42 pm

  2. Hi Indira,
    Very nice post about Ganji. When ever I go to
    my grandma’s place, I visit her neighbor when I was little. They used to drink this Ganji and Karam with rice. They used to give me those amma muddalu and I used to eat happily. I don’t know how they eat but tasted very nice.


    Comment by Rajani — April 27, 2007 @ 2:15 pm

  3. Totally new recipe .Mom used to make simple ones ,but this is something different ….thks for sharing

    Comment by Deepa — April 27, 2007 @ 2:45 pm

  4. hi Indira,
    Loved the pic of the curry leaves…hmn so good.. i love the pics u have in the site..hmn nice ganji recipe too thugh its starhy 🙂


    Comment by madhuri — April 27, 2007 @ 5:17 pm

  5. Hey Indira, do you have the curry plant to use its leaves?

    Hi Fethiye,
    No curry plant but I buy fresh curry leaves from a Vietnamese grocery shop. It’s at a walkable distance, very near to our home.
    I left all my plants and pots when we moved to Seattle. Planning to buy again this week.
    – Indira

    Comment by fethiye — April 27, 2007 @ 6:59 pm

  6. indira, try kanji with a drop of ghee and some cherupayar thoran. (whole moong thoran). it’s match made in heaven.

    Will do. Thanks for the suggestion Bee.
    – Indira

    Comment by bee — April 28, 2007 @ 12:42 am

  7. Indira,

    That is a wonderful preparation. So healthy too.
    In Kerala, curry leaves are not added to Kanji. But it is mostly accompanied with Moong dal thoran, pappadam and achar. I even know people who have fish curry with kanji:):)

    Comment by Reena — April 28, 2007 @ 11:29 am

  8. Hi Indira,

    Can I use normal rice for this? (Basmati or Sona Masoori). Will the taste change?

    Thanks for the great recipes.

    Indira replies:
    Hi Swetha, parboiled, brown or rosematta rice are better than plain polished white/basmati varieties. I guess you can try it with them also if you want. I have never tried making with white rice before, and I don’t think they would taste the same.
    Hope this helps. Let me know how you like it if you try. Thanks.

    Comment by Swetha — May 16, 2007 @ 5:05 am

  9. Have u added onion for ganji…If yes,do we add directly to water or do we have to fry in oil before?

    Comment by sk — January 8, 2008 @ 11:21 am

  10. Hi. The philiphinos preapre an item called ‘Ganju’,which is very similar to this. But they will not use curry leaves, and also, they will not frain the rice. The rice is allowed to become mushy,and disintegrate with the water. To this, we used to add salt, scraped coconut,and eat with some picle. This is prepared in every house in philiphines during GOOD FRIDAY, as most of them will fast for the whole day ,and in the night, they will take this Ganju.

    Comment by Joseph Sebastian — March 21, 2008 @ 8:13 am

  11. That is a wonderful preparation. So healthy too.
    In Kerala, curry leaves are not added to Kanji. But it is mostly accompanied with Moong dal thoran, pappadam and achar.

    Comment by Henry Rajagopal — April 26, 2009 @ 11:39 pm

  12. Indira, I’ve experienced the pleasure of this wonderful plant! Yes, praise for the curry leaf (karhi leaf)! I am able to buy fresh sprigs on lower Lexington Avenue here in N.Y. I did search for a source of the plant itself to grow in my kitchen. I found Horizon Herbs in Oregon, and they have seeds to mail as well as the potted plants. After more consideration I decided that the growing season here isn’t long enough, so I continue to purchase fresh karhi/curry leaves in packets. They keep for a while, though I don’t think I can ever buy enough of them!
    I never thought of using then in a ganji.
    Now I will. Thank you so much!

    Comment by nyginko — January 9, 2011 @ 2:22 pm

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