One of the specialties of our cooking involves the use of home grown herbs and spices. Many houses had/still have a small patch in the backyard, where women would grow some mint, curry leaves, Doddapathre, coriander leaves, chillies, ginger, turmeric, etc. These plants were not only very easy to grow, but also had medicinal value.
Doddapathre is a very well known herb around Bangalore. It can be very easily propagated from cuttings. It is called ‘Cuban Oregano’ in English. The juice of the leaves is great for hives and itching of the skin, and is applied to the skin. It is also great for coughs and colds.
The leaves have a very strong flavor, which you can get just by touching. Here is a picture of the Doddapathre in our backyard-
Doddapathre, is used to make a cool, raitha with buttermilk, called ‘Thambuli’. Thambuli is served with rice, or can also be made a refreshing drink.
The leaves can also be used to make Fritters or bajji.
1. Doddapathre leaves- 10-12, washed and chopped
2. Ghee- 1/2 tbsp
3. Fresh gratedcoconut- 1 tbsp
4. Jeera- 1/2 tsp
5. Peppercorns- 4
6. Red Chillies- 1 or 2, depending on the spiciness
7. Salt- To taste
8. Buttermilk- 2 cups
9. Oil- 2 tsp
10. Mustard seeds- 1/4 tsp
12. Asafetida- a pinch
Heat the ghee in a small pan, add the Jeera, peppercorns and red chilli, fry for 10 seconds. Add the cut Doddapathre, and sauté till it wilts. Add the coconut and sauté for a few more seconds. Remove from the heat and cool completely.
Grind the mixture well with the buttermilk, or curd. Add salt. Make a tadka with oil, mustard seeds and asafetida, and add to the thambuli. Serve with hot rice.