Before I proceed with details about this thali, I would once again reiterate the fact that presentation of dishes is crucial to enticing your family members with their diverse food preferences, to savour your cooking. Even simple food will look magnificent and alluring if served in an attractive manner. This thali that I serve to my family now and then is enhanced with the health benefits accrued from Dupor tenga or Leaf of Life. There was a time when it was very difficult for me to coax my kids into eating any dish prepared from this plant that is so beneficial for health. So, I came up with this thali that is further embellished with a lot of other side dishes, each again having their own health benefits and easily available as well.
The thali is complete with the following items:
a)Leaves of Leaf of Life dipped in besan and fried
b)Green curry banana mashed
c)Salad of Assamese maah prasad (chana, moong, coconut, ginger) and cucumber
d)Pumpkin peel dry fry
e)Pumpkin and soya chunks stir fry
f)Curry prepared with eggs, jackfruit seeds and bottle gourd
g)Baby potato stir fry
h)Lady’s finger and pumpkin fritters
i)Mixed vegetables stir fry
j)Indian jujube pickle
l)Payaash (a type of sweet dessert)
n)Jack fruit seeds mashed and seasoned with fermented tangy mustard
Every side dish in this thali is replete with health benefits. So do take out time now and then to serve such a thali to your children and dear ones. It is not mandatory for you to prepare each and every side dish in this thali. You can cook a few that is possible for you keeping in mind that if we eat food that is packed with all the essentials needed by the body, we need not take medicines or other artificial health supplements.
Now, coming back to our plant Leaf of Life, this is a plant that is easy to grow. People living in cities can grow this plant in pots and apart from providing health benefits, this plant will also serve its decorative purpose. This plant has been traditionally used to treat any ailments related to kidney, diabetes etc. Including such a beneficial plant in our menu at least once in a week will ensure our good health.
Method of preparation:
The taste of the leaves of this plant is tangy. So, we can make sherbet from the leaves, or chop it finely and add to dal, or make fritters. Below is the recipe of the dish that I have served in this thali.
Take a few leaves of the plant. Wash the leaves and keep aside. Prepare a batter for dipping the leaves before frying.
How to prepare the batter:
Rice flour—half cup
Salt, turmeric—as required
Paanch phoron or whole cumin seeds—half tea spoon
Oil—one table spoon
Mix all the ingredients well. I generally use mustard oil as that ensures more crispiness to the fritters. The batter is ready.
Place your kadhai on stove. Pour oil as required and heat. Dip the leaves in the batter and fry. Keep the flame medium. Once you have fried all the leaves and if there is still some batter left, you can dip any vegetables of your choice like pumpkin, brinjal, lady’s finger, teasel gourd etc., and fry.
A little patience on your part will ensure that your family is consuming food that is nourishing and scrumptious.
P.S:- cooking is always an experiment to cherish and you need not be fastidious about the rules of cooking. If you add more or less of any ingredient, or even if you miss a particular ingredient, you will definitely create a new taste– a taste that is uniquely curated by your heart, and with each attempt at cooking a new dish, you will only script your own journey of self-improvement and self-satisfaction. The quantity of the ingredients in any recipe including this Leaf of Life recipe will vary depending on the number of people we cook for. Just listen to your heart.