How many of you have given that sulky look, twisted your nose in distaste and then turned your back whenever your mother lovingly cooked and served real healthy food packed with all the goodness that nature had to offer? I, for one have to admit that there were times (many times than I care to count!) when I just turned my back to such food cooked by my Amma. The more she talked about its health benefits, the sulkier I became. The more she tried to feed me, the more I tried to duck under the table. And the more she tried to bribe me, the more I cunningly dropped it into either our pet’s plate or plant pots without Amma’s knowledge.
Fast forward couple of decades, I see myself standing at the other end of the wheel. Surprise, surprise!!! It is when you become a mother, you realise how much your mother has gone through just to feed you some good, healthy food. I can almost hear my Amma whispering “It’s your turn now” whenever my lil sugar pea shakes his head vigorously and refuses to open his mouth when I try to feed him what I think is really healthy and beneficial for him. And, he just turned ONE for heaven’s sake!!! I get frustrated… I feel disappointed… and ultimately I feel sad! I know these are early days and I shouldn’t be so hard on myself! But I dread to think what will happen in few years time! But I am not someone who gives up so easily. I do have one or two cunning plans in my kitty! Well, motherhood teaches you a lot more in a very short span of life!!!
One such plan is to cook and eat healthy food as often as possible. Which means junk food makes its appearance only once in a week or once in fortnight. If your little one sees you eating healthy food, then he sure will follow your foot step. Right? Since our junior showing lot of interest in eating what we eat and tries to grab whatever we have on our plate, I am quite confident in this plan working smoothly. Well, I may be wrong. But there is no harm in trying it! In fact, it will be beneficial for everyone in the long run. So I am all game for it and let us see how it works in future.
I have literally grown up eating fresh, light and unbelievably healthy yet really tasty food all my life. Thanks to my Amma, aunts and grandma who have always made sure that every kid in the house ate meals which are not just good for the taste buds but also good for our stomach, body and soul. One such food that made appearance every now and then was Tambli or Tambuli. Tambli is a simple yogurt and coconut based gravy made using raw or lightly cooked vegetables, fruits or green leafy vegetables with little or no spice from Mangalore and Udupi region. It was a staple during hot summer days as it is known to keep your body cool. Don’t you think our ancestors’ were culinary geniuses? One such recipe of Tambli makes use of Doddapatre leaves in making Doddapatre Tambli.
Doddapatre (Coleus Aromaticus), also known as Patharchur in Hindi, Karpuravalli in Tamil, Panikkurukka in Malayalam, Pan Ova in Marathai and Pashanabhedi in Sanskrit, has many medicinal properties. It is used in treating common cold, acidity, and also to cure phlegm in infants. It is an evergreen shrubby plant with some upright shoots growing up to one metre tall. Leaves of this plant are strongly scented and are thick, fleshy and toothed along margins. The plant bears terminal spikes of small, bluish and bi-lipped flowers.(Source: www.homeremedy.in)
The heavenly aroma of lightly cooked Doddapatre leaves in pure ghee along with few cumin and black peppercorns is something you can only enjoy when you cook it at home. These ingredients are then added to grated coconut and ground to smooth paste. Later, this ground paste is mixed with yogurt and tempered with few selected spices. That’s all you need to create a bowlful of healthy, delicious and comforting food and content smiles on the people’s face who means a world to you!
Doddapatre Tambli (Yogurt & Coconut based Gravy from Udupi/Mangalore)
Prep Time: 5 mins
Cooking Time: 10 mins
Serves: 4-5 people
Shelf Life: 2 days when stored in refrigerator
Recipe Level: Easy/Beginner
Spice Level: Mild to Medium
Serving Suggestion: With a bowl of steaming rice, pickle and papad
8-10 Doddapatre Leaves, cut into ½ cm stripes
¼ cup grated Coconut, fresh or frozen
1½ cups Yogurt, beaten
8-10 Black Peppercorns (Adjust acc to taste)
½ tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds
1 tsp Jaggary (optional but recommended)
½ - 1 tbsp Ghee
Salt to taste
½ tsp Mustard Seeds
½ tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds
1 dry Red Chilli, halved
Few Curry Leaves
A pinch of Hing/Asafoetida
1 tsp Ghee/Oil
Heat a tbsp of ghee in a pan and add cumin seeds and black peppercorns to it.
Just when cumin seeds start to sizzle and change their colour to light brown, add chopped doddapatre leaves. Cook them on medium heat till the leaves starts to wilt, about 2 minutes.
Switch off the gas and transfer the ingredients in pan to a mixer. Add grated coconut, jaggary and grind the ingredients to smooth paste without adding any water.
Mix in beaten yogurt and pulse the mixer grinder till all the ingredients blends well.
Transfer the contents to serving bowl and add salt to taste and mix them well.
Heat oil/ghee in a tadka pan and add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, red chilli, hing and curry leaves. When mustards seeds starts to pop and splutter, transfer the ingredients to tambli and mix them well.
Serve this delicious and healthy Doddapatre Tambli with steaming bowl of rice, pickle and papad and enjoy.
Replace black peppercorns with green chillies for different taste.
Tambli is usually prepared in summer time as it is considered to cool the body during hot summer days.