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Celebrating Mothers

A Collection of Favorite Recipes from our Mothers

Keerethani or lettuce soup

Delicious Keerethani

Keerethani/Lettuce Stew

Keerethani is a Tamil word that means herb water. The Tamil word for herbs is, Keere, and Thani, means water. Keerethani is a stew made with herbs as the main ingredient. It is a well known dish in my husband's family.

My mother-in-law chose to use lettuce instead of the regular herbs. It was a dish that my husband really enjoyed. We have attempted to re-create that stew.

The water that is used for Keerethani is the same water in which the rice is cooked. Rice is an accompaniment to Keerethani. So cook the rice and when it is done, strain the rice over a dish so that the water is saved.

I followed the ingredients given to me by my husband. My earlier attempts were not great but my most recent attempt received a good review.

So here is the recipe.


  • Lettuce leaves-approximately 3 cups full when torn
  • 3 cups rice water
  • 2 tblsp. canola oil
  • ½ tsp. fennel/soomph seeds
  • ½ tsp. cumin/jeera seeds
  • 1 tsp. fennel powder
  • ½ tsp. cumin powder
  • ½ Roma/jam tomato
  • 1 tsp. crushed ginger
  • ¼ cup sliced onion
  • 1 green chili
  • salt to taste
  • 1 cup rice grains & approx. 5 cups of water to boil rice


  • Boil water for rice. Pick rice, then wash and add to boiling water
  • Add salt and cook until tender
  • Strain rice with a colander, saving the strained water. Keep aside
  • Wash all vegetables and cut and slice. Tear lettuce leaves
  • Heat oil on medium-high temperature. Add fennel and cumin seeds to hot oil
  • The seeds tend to brown very quickly so do watch the pot. Quickly follow with onions, then tomato & chili
  • When tomato is mushy, set lettuce in pot and blend
  • Add fennel & cumin powders. Mix well. Add salt and cook for about a minute
  • Stir the saved rice water,(the starch tends to sink to the bottom). Add 3 cups of this water to the pot and let it come to a boil
  • Keerethani or the lettuce soup is now done
  • Serve with rice in individual bowls
All ingredients in pot

All the ingredients are in pot. Will be done after it comes to the boil

lettuce just add to pot

lettuce just added to pot

The seeds, onions ginger and tomato being braised

The first step of braising the cumin and fennel seeds, tomato, onion & ginger

Lettuce, washed and ready to be cooked

Fresh Lettuce, washed and ready to be used in the stew

 Rice Water, saved from Straining the pot of cooked rice

Rice Water, saved from Straining the pot of cooked rice

About Keerethani

The ingredients are nutritious and the combination of rice makes this a very satisfying meal. You may choose to make this dish with spinach, water cress or other leafy greens that your prefer. This dish has no dairy products and is vegan

If you have any questions, comments, or would like to celebrate your mother as well, submit a recipe of your own via email to me, Nirmala, at: email address
I will respond to inquiries. The site will be regularly updated with tasty recipes and hints and tips. You will find my contact information at Contact

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