Aati ganji / Maddina hejje with barks of Chere, Erappe & Benga -traditional recipe

Hello there, wondering what this post is all about? I know, you must be wondering what these tree names are!! If you are from coastal Karnataka/ Tulunadu you must be familiar with these names and you might have come across these trees or used in different forms. Let me give you little overview here. This post is pure traditional one having Ayurvedic significance and seasonal. 

The month Aati in Tulu is Ashada in Kannada, a month in Monsoon season. This month starts from the mid of July and goes till mid of August. This is usually the season of heavy rainfall in the Coastal Karnataka. This month is known as the month of nourishment where people follow a strict diet which helps to build immunity thus keeping them healthy. Due to the heavy rain the farming work is less compared to other months and tendency of people falling ill is more during this time. Married women go to their parents’ place, relish the good seasonal food and  rest there.

Usually, food which keeps the body warm are recommended this season along with the food which improves gut health. Some of the important traditional dish consumed mandatorily this month are Pathrode (made with Colocasia leaves which is season’s special), Hasaru hejje/ green gram ganji which is also referred as aati ganji, pale/ hale mara Kashaya…

Let us read more about today’s dish. Maddina ganji (hejje) is very famous & common method of traditional oral medicine administration. Boiled rice is cooked with any medicinal tree bark and consumed as the breakfast depending on the ailments. This aati ganji is not specifically treatment, instead it is a preventive medicine. This is believed to be effective in improving gut health as well as skin health. Monsoon season in general slows down the process of digestion and thus food which speeds up the process are good to be consumed.  

The ingredients /tree barks used in this ganji are

  1. Benga/ Vijaysar/ Malabar kino/ Pterocarpus marsupium (botanical name) tree bark: Beneficial in intestinal worms and also helps in proper digestion. It has antibiotic and hypoglycaemic properties.  Leaves are externally used in treating skin diseases.
  2. Chere/ Black varnish tree/ Holigarna arnottiana (botanical): Helpful in treating inflammation, skin diseases. Care must be taken while using and dealing with the parts of this tree as it will cause adverse effects on the skin if not handled properly. The sap of this tree causes allergic reactions.
  3. Erape / Gompu tree (Botanical name will be updated) – This tree bark is another gut friendly food article which is good for bowel movement as well. The leaves are used in hair wash as conditioner.  The leaves  are squeezed in water to get the slimy extract which is very good for the hair.

Both 1. & 2. are helpful in treating the conditions due to intestinal worm infestation. Worms infestation is a common problem in this season, due to water contamination.

Post courtesy: Dr. Krithi Amai, my friend and neighbour who is an Ayurvedic practitioner. She & her family introduced this ganji to me initially. Thank you Krithi and Vidhyalakshmi akka of Sahaja farm for the additional information of the plants.

Check out my post on Varsha Rutucharya/ Monsoon seasonal regimen here.

Aati ganji recipe

Preparation time: 15 mins

Cooking time: 20 mins

Serves: 2


Boiled rice/ Kuchilakki/ matta rice – 1 cup

Tree bark pieces of 3 trees – Benga, Chere and Erappe (2x3 inches length of each or little more)

Water – to cook (5-6 cups)



  • Clean the tree barks by scraping out outermost dead skin a bit and wash well. Crush them a bit using a mortar pestle. Don’t overdo it.
  • For the better result & color of the ganji, optionally soak the bark in water overnight. This is optional, better to do it.
  • Wash the rice in running water in the morning.
  • Add the tree bark pieces (with soaked water) to the washed rice and cook with about 5-6 cups of water in a pressure cooker for 6-7 whistles.
  • Traditionally this ganji was cooked in earthen pots. If using it, it will take long time to cook than pressure cooker.
  • Serve the cooked warm ganji as breakfast with buttermilk/ pickle or any side dish.
  • Repeat this for 3 days.
traditional recipe of Maddina hejje with barks of Chere, Erappe & Benga

Please note that this is my effort to document the traditional / age old seasonal food practices followed by our ancestors. I am not an expert in the area. I always recommend to consult an Ayurvedic practitioner or healthcare provider before trying such dishes especially if you are having special medical conditions (Pregnant/ breastfeeding /other illness).