The Ingredients - Facts - An Introduction
In this section we aim to give you the nutritional information of some of the main ingredients used in the recipes that appear in these web pages. In Greens section, we include information on habitat and cultivation of the plants from which the greens are collected. These plants produce leaves that are used in culinary and medicinal purposes. Some green leaves have both culinary and medicinal uses. But some others are mainly used for their medicinal values and they are mentioned here for your information.
Green leaves like Mullai (முல்லை), Mushuttai (முசுட்டை), Ponnangkani (பொன்னாங்காணி), Vallarai (வல்லாரை), Drumstick leaves (முருங்கைஇலை), Agathi (அகத்தி), Muzhai Keerai (முளைக்கீரை), Thavasi Murungai leaves (தவசிமுருங்கை), Chandi leaves (சண்டி இலை) , Curry leaves (கறிவேப்பிலை), Spinach leaves (பசளி), Thuthuvalai (தூதுவளை)m Fenugreek (வெந்தயம்), Karpooravalli (கர்பூரவள்ளி), Mint(புதினா), Thulasi (துளசி) are generally the green leaves that are naturally available or home grown and eaten by people of Yarlpanam. They also ate cabbage in plenty and this was also a common dish in their meal and is cultivated in plenty.
Further some of these greens have apart from culinary uses medicinal values too. Most of them are used by Herbal Medical specialists for their specific action on the human body as well as by local people as a homemade cure. There are other varieties of green leaves that are eaten not necessarily as cooked food or for their medicinal values but otherwise. Example is betel leaves.
When used in cooking each has a different taste and is eaten in different forms like Sambal, Varai, and Masial or combined with other vegetables. Almost all the green leaves have iron and vitamin C in abundance as well as some other minerals, vitamins and fibre. Some leaves like Curry leaves are also added in curries for their flavour. Still some others like betel leaves are eaten as a habit.
In Cereals and Pulses, vegetable and Non Vegetable Sections we give you the nutritional Information on these various items which are predominantly used for their culinary values and they either have no or limited medicinal values. Cereals and pulses make essential carbohydrate and protein part of their diet and in fact these are always present in everyone’s meals in Yarlpanam.
Whereas vegetables and Non vegetables do form a part of the meal but depending on availability and affordability of each household they are cooked in various forms. In simplest form, available vegetables are cooked to make Sambar which is a stew kind of dish and eaten with rice. Lentils are known as poor man’s protein as it is used instead of expensive non vegetarian protein.
There is also information on spices and some non spices which are used in these recipes in other pages in this site .Please see Section on Spices. We hope these are useful information in addition to the recipes given.