Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica syn. Hydrocotle asiatica), also known as Arthritis Herb, Asiatic Pennywort, Indian Pennywort and Indian Ginseng is a herb with a very wide distribution from Africa, throughout temperate to tropical Asia, the Pacific Islands and much of South America. It is also native to Australia, being found in Queensland, New South Wales and Western Australia. It is increasingly grown for its medicinal qualities, in particular to ease the symptoms of arthritis or to improve brain function. However in many parts of the world it is also grown as a vegetable.
Gotu Kola is a Sinhalese name and the plant is revered in Sri Lanka, where it is widely eaten as a salad vegetable or as a kind of morning porridge. The plant is also eaten as a vegetable in most countries where it grows naturally. The young leaves and petioles are eaten raw in salads; are steamed and served with rice, or are cooked briefly in soups, stir fries, stews or curries.
Topics explored briefly are:
- Medicinal Uses
Gotu Kola Sambola (Salad)
This delicious salad is very popular around the world. It is best made with fresh coconut, however moistened shredded desiccated coconut can also be used.
3 cups of Gotu Kola leaves
3 Tbs fresh grated coconut
1 green chilli – deseeded and stem removed
1 French shallots or quarter of a red onion
Juice of ½ a lime
Salt to taste
Wash and finely shred the Gotu Kola leaves, and finely dice the green chilli and onions. Mix these ingredients with coconut, lime juice and salt.
Kola Kanda (Gotu Kola Porridge)
Kola Kanda is a dish, usually eaten before breakfast.
Loosely packed 500ml container of Gota Kola leaves
1 ½ cups cooked red or white rice
Approx 1 Litre of water
8 Tbs of coconut milk powder
3 pieces of jaggery (cane sugar)
salt to taste
Blend the cooked rice with 1 cup of water for 10 second using an electric blender. Dissolve the coconut milk powder in ½ a cup of water and strain. Add rice mixture and coconut milk and salt to taste. Place pot on medium heat. Blend the leaves with a cup of water and add strained juice to the pot. Add the remaining water, stirring continuously. Remove from heat as the mixture comes to the boil. Leave to cool for a few minutes and then serve with jaggery.