June 12th, 2010
Mavinakai Tambli/Raw Mango Coconut Soup
The first rains have already hit Mumbai. While this means many things to many people, to me it means only one thing. It signals the end of the “mango season”! And I just woke up to this unpalatable fact that I havent made a single post using raw mango as an ingredient this season. I couldnt let this blunder pass! Mangoes are still available and I had to write this before they completely disappear.
Mavinkai Tambli belongs to the Havyaka cuisine, the food from my father’s side of the family. “Tambli” is essentially a soup like liquid made with seasonal fresh vegetables or herbs. It can be drunk as it is or mixed with rice. “Mavinkai Tambli” brings strong childhood memories to the forefront. Summer holidays spent in my paternal granparents home, playful times and shared meals with cousins, uncles and aunts and Tambli prepared by my aunt Indira. The best “Mavinkai Tambli” for me would be from my paternal ancestral home in Siddapur, a tiny beautiful hamlet in Southern India. The flavour of the raw mango grown in the backyard there is unsurpassed. Added to this are the tiny chillies “sooj mensinkai”, similar to the Thai bud chillies in appearance but totally different in flavour. It is hard to match the exquisite taste of these homegrown simple ingredients.
I make Mavinkai Tambli often throughout the mango season. It is one of those dishes which calms and soothes my senses and makes the unbearable Indian summers worthwhile. It is so delicious that every sip is savoured and the flavours continue to haunt you hours after you have had it. According to Ayurveda, raw mango is supposed to be cooling to the body, so this is perfect for summer.
The stigma attached to coconut as a cholestrol inducer is now being removed with recent research and the world is waking up to its benefits. To me, coconut is a very important ingredient. A base to many of my curries, chutneys and its oil, a big flavour booster to certain preparations which have traditionally been seasoned only with coconut oil. Here the raw mango and coconut perfectly complement each other and the coconut helps to enrich the taste and flavour of the raw mango while giving body to the dish. When mangoes are not in season, substitute it with lemons or lime for an equally interesting version.
Mavinakai Tambli/Raw Mango Coconut Soup Recipe
When raw mangoes are not in season, lemon or limes can be substituted.
1/2 cup (50 gm) grated fresh coconut
1 medium sized raw mango or 2 small sized raw mangoes (1/2 cup), skin peeled and chopped
2 green chillies
1 tsp oil
2 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
1 litre (4 cups) water
2 tsp coconut oil or vegetable oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
4 dry red chillies, broken into bits
a sprig of curry leaves (8 to 10 leaves)
3/4 tsp hing (asafetida)
In a small wok or kadhai, heat the oil over a medium flame and roast the chillies until white spots appear on the surface of the chillies.
Grind the green chillies, coconut and raw mango to a fine paste using a little water.
Place the ground ingredients in a large bowl and mix in the water and salt.
Prepare the seasoning:
In a small wok or kadhai, heat the oil over a medium flame. Put in the mustard seeds and when they pop, add in the curry leaves, hing and dry red chillies, reduce the flame and cook for a few seconds until the chillies are crisp, switch off the flame and pour the hot seasoning into the prepared mango mixture.
Serve with rice or as a drink.