Throughout my Sri Lankan Food Safari, I've been discovering all sorts of interesting alternative ingredients and exotic superfoods – from Ayurvedic herbs to gluten-free grains – and Kurakkan and Gotu Kola are two of my favourite finds! What are they, you say? Well, our ancestors have been using finger millet (or Kurakkan) for centuries through China, India, Greece, Egypt and Africa, using it in everything from bread to couscous, cereals to string hoppers.
Though considered a grain, Kurakkan is actually a seed - making it gluten free and rich in vitamins and minerals. It is high in magnesium, for example, which maintains nerve and muscle function, supports a healthy immune system, keeps the heart beat steady, and helps bones remain strong! Sounds like a great food for yogis, right? The seeds also provide serotonin which calms and soothes your mood. So yup, loving everything about Kurakkan, Sri Lanka!
Next up, we have Gotu Kola which basically needs a whole other blog post written about it! I mean, what doesn't it do?! Wow! It is known for increasing blood vessel and collagen growth, contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, excites dopamine and seratonin, decreases cortisol, AND has stronger effects than caffeine! So, effectively, it makes you beautiful and happy. Maybe I should have made a pizza with JUST gotu kola on it?? Hmmm... next time!
Ready to get cookin' good looking? Here's the recipe!
for the pizza base
1/2 cup plain flour
1 1/2 cups kurakkan flour
1 cup shredded coconut
1 cup water (roughly)
3-4 green chilli, finely chopped
salt & pepper, to taste
for the toppings
1 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 spring onion bulb, finely sliced
1 can chickpeas
a pinch of cumin powder
a pinch of turmeric
a handful of fresh gotu kola leaves (can use coriander if you can't find these!)
black and white sesame seeds, to garnish
salt & pepper, to taste
Mix the flours and shredded coconut in a bowl. Add the chilli, salt and pepper. Next add cold water little by little so that all the ingredients come together to form a sticky dough. Take care not to get it too wet. If the dough is too wet add a little bit of flour. Knead the dough and break into balls of about 2" diameter. Flatten on a floured board or plate using your palms, and set aside for a moment.
Heat olive oil in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add the garlic and onion, and fry until translucent and slightly golden. Add the cumin and turmeric powders and stir until the garlic and onion are completely coated. Finally, add the chickpeas and stir-fry until golden brown. Season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.
Now, cook the rotis in a heated heavy bottom pan till golden brown on both sides under medium heat.
Serve topped with the beetroot hummus, spicy chickpeas and gotu kola. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and a good drizzle of olive oil. You might even light to add a dollop of coconut yoghurt raita, or vegan feta cheese. Enjoy!