I wrote about my attempts to cook fresh, local and seasonal in my last post and I got great response from you all. Thank you so much for all those wonderful comments and e-mails. It really made me happy that people could relate/understand me and appreciate my efforts.
In my about page I have written that I grew up eating hearty healthy Havyaka food. One of my readers who wrote to me is very interested in knowing what exactly Havyaka food is about. She also requested if I could share what kind of food I grew up eating. I have actually shared quite a few of those recipes on the blog but never really mentioned that they are Havyaka.
Today I am sharing a recipe which to me sums up the entire Havyaka cusine. It’s easy to make, extremely healthy, lite and made out of fresh produce from one’s own backyard. This is exactly the kind of food I grew up eating. I think being brought up on food like this helps me want to continue to eat like this. ‘Tambli’ is a favourite dish among all Havyaks. It’s basically a herb/vegetable/greens/fruits/spices ground with coconut and mixed with yogurt/buttermilk, topped with a simple tempering. Most of them are not even cooked. They taste different depending on what it’s mad out of. The recipe changes according to season, like raw ones in summer to beat the heat and boiled in monsoon for warmth, green mangoes used in mango season and some wild flowers used when they are available only for a couple of weeks in the entire year! My mom probably makes dozens of different varieties of Tamblis and we all loved them even as kids. I can’t recreate most of them in Bangalore as some of the ingredients are simply not available.
I am in my mom’s place right now and the Tambli I am making today is called ‘Kodi Tambli’ (Tambli with tender leaves). It’s a curry made using 6 varieties of tender leaves of plants which are native to us. It has tender Guava leaves, Chashew leaves, Kokum leaves, tender leaves and flowers of Ixora plant (known as ‘kiskara’ in the local language), a couple of petals of Banana Blossoms and tender green Bay Leaves. All these beautiful wild leaves and flowers are quickly boiled till they wilt and then they are ground with coconut. A little bit of yogurt and a simple tempering makes this curry really simple and wholesome. With the goodness of wild leaves and flowers this Tambli is fed to most new mothers for good health.
I know most of these leaves are not available to most of you. You can make it even if any oen or two of these leaves are available to you. It will not taste the same but it’ll still be good. Very few of you will actually be able to re-create it exactly the same way but I felt like I just had to document this incredible dish. This is Indian food at its best. Unlike what most of the world thinks, it’s not spicy, greasy or heavy. Instead it’s lite, mild, medicinal and soothing. It has a very unique taste too. It is slightly bitter and sour. I can’t really describe what it smells like; it smells like forest, green and wild! White it tastes best when eaten fresh, it can be consumed for almost a week if boiled every day and stored in a cool dry place, even without refrigeration.
This is exactly the kind of food I grew up eating what did you grow up eating?
- Tender guava leaves
- Tender cashew leaves
- Kokum tender leaves
- Tender leaves and flowers of Ixora plant
- Petals of banana blossoms
- Tender green bay leaves
- 2 cups of fresh coconut
- 1 dry red chili
- 1 cup of sour yogurt
- Mustard seeds
- Dry red chili
- 1 pod garlic finely chopped
Clean all the leaves and flowers and tear them into pieces. Place in a pan with a cup of water and bring it to boil. Cook for a few minutes till all the leaves wilt. Drain all the bitter water and let the leaves and flowers cool down.
Grind coconut, leaves and dry red chili into a very fine paste adding required amount of water. Place this paste in a pot. Add the yogurt and salt and mix well. Add enough water to bring the curry to the desired consistency. Now bring the hurry to a boil on low heat. Make sure it doesn’t completely boil. When it almost about to boil turn off the heat.
For the tempering heat the oil in a little pan and add the mustard seeds and dry red chili. When it starts to splutter add the garlic. Fry till the garlic turns golden brown. Pour it over the curry and keep it closed till you are ready to serve it.