'Pisonia Alba', or lettuce tree , or Cabbage tree, or latcha kottai keerai, or Sule sappu, or Chandi keerai or Nachu kottai keerai is not just a ornamental shrub grown in tropical countries in graden but also a medicinal plant which has found its place in Indian cuisine too.
In Tamil Nachu meaning poison, kottai( - changed in usage from ketta, -meaning doesn't )
meaning it removes the toxins or the gas from body.It is said to be good for Arthritis/ rheumatism , gastric problems . and also to reduce blood viscosity and increase blood flow to joints ans thereby improve mobility in arthritis patients.(http://www.chennai-ayurveda.com/2014/01/pisonia-alba.html , http://www.medicinalpedia.com/pisonia-grandis/)
When I was a kid our servant maid Chinna Kuzhadhai(cant not forget this person. she was very sweet, cant forget her help when my amma was ill) told my Amma regarding this keerai and she also showed how to make this recipe and she taught me too after my amma's death .
Anyways,it was only during this visit I was able to make this and take a photo. here is the recipe for you all, if you can get this amazing leaf...do try and see and sure you will love the flavor and taste of this tasty kuzhambu.
Tamarind - 1 goose berry size(adjust according to the sourness of tamarind)
Garlic- 1 or 2 pods
Small onion- 1 cup
Nachukottai keerai -1 10 to 12 leaves
Curry leaf- few
Mustard- 1/4 tsp
Fenugreek _1/4 tsp
Chilli powder- 1 tsp(to taste)
Corriander powder-1/2 tsp
Sambar powder - 1 1/2 tsp(to taste)
Oil -3 tbs(approximately)
(I prefer sesame oil)
1)Soak tamarind in water.
2)Wash the leaf and remove the center vein in the leaf and chop.
3)Add 1 or 2 garlic clove grind along with the leaf to a paste using water.
4)Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan .Add mustard, jeera, asefotida ,curry leaf.Add onion and cook well till it becomes transclucent.Add tomato cook well, add salt, chilli and coriander powder(or sambar powder) and saute well.
5)Add the ground leaf paste and saute well till nice aroma comes.(take care as it may stick to bottom of the pan)
6)Add tamarind water and cook well(Add water that's necessary)till the oil oozes out and the gravy thickens.
Mix with hot rice and sesame oil (optional) to enjoy this yummy gravy with medicinal value.
NOTE:Adding a pinch of sugar or jaggery to this when cooking will enhance the taste.