"Centella asiatica is a small herbaceous annual plant of the family Mackinlayaceae or subfamily Mackinlayoideae of family Apiaceae, and is native to India, Sri Lanka, northern Australia, Indonesia, Iran, Malaysia, Melanesia, New Guinea, and other parts of Asia. Common names include Gotu Kola, Asiatic Pennywort, and Indian Pennywort, Luei Gong Gen, Takip-kohol, Antanan, Pegagan, Pegaga, vallaarai, Kula kud, Bai Bua Bok, Brahmi (this last name is shared with Bacopa monnieri) and rau má (Vietnamese). It is used as a medicinal herb in Ayurvedic medicine and traditional Chinese medicine. In Telugu Language this is known as “Saraswathi Plant” in India.
It is known to have medicinal properties – it aids in healing wounds, re-vitalizes brain and nervous system, increases attention span and concentration and combats aging.
In Manipuri cuisine, peruk is used in peruk champhut (boiled in plain water with other vegetables like cucumber, beans or cabbage and a touch of sugar) and peruk kangshu (boiled peruk, squeezed dry to remove some of the bitterness and mashed with boiled yellow peas, ngari (fermented fish), red chillies and salt). Khamba, the hero of the famous Manipuri folklore Khamba Thoibi is said to have been fed on peruk by his poor sister (maybe that accounted for his legendary strength, wit and beauty!). In Indonesia, the leaves are used for sambai oi peuga-ga, an Aceh type of salad, also mixed into asinan in Bogor.
In Vietnam and Thailand this leaf is used for preparing a drink or can be eaten in raw form in salads or cold rolls. In Malay cuisine the leaves of this plant are used for ulam, a type of Malay salad. And in Sri Lanka the leafy green is most often prepared as mallung; a traditional accompaniment to rice and curry.
How to prepare fish in gravy with Peruk (Assamese)
Ingredients ½ or 1 packet of Dried Peruk (Asiatic Pennywort), ground with 2 Cups of water and strained (discard the remains in the sieve) 1 and 1/2 tblsp of mustard oil (sunflower or vegetable will do too, but mustard will give that lovely flavour) 1/2 tsp each of finely chopped ginger and garlic 1/2 tsp cumin seeds 1 bay leaf 1 whole red chili, halved 4 pieces of rainbow trout (or any other fish of your choice can also be used),rubbed with a little salt and 1/2 tsp turmeric powder 3/4 tsp cumin powder 1/4 tsp turmeric powder salt to taste