This humble yet incredibly tasty Tree Tomato or Tamarillo introduced me to the world of rare ingredients in its true essence. I had read about it as an interesting ingredient in exotic sauces and curries, but this time it was my turn to pluck the juiciest ones and have some real kitchen fun.
After I was back from Bashla (a small village in district Kullu, Himachal Pradesh), I got busy with my cooking workshops back-to-back. Initially, these tamarillos were assigned an elite space in the refrigerator, but with the commitments of urban life, these beauties were forced to be ignored. I did not even notice that they were silently pushed multiple times to finally rest in one of the remotest corners of my refrigerator. As we say, out of sight is out of mind and it’s only the biweekly cleaning drive that reminded me of these beauties. To my surprise, their beauty, texture and even colour was the same as the freshly plucked ones. Another joy of growing your own food.
And in the seesaw of work and priorities, I decided to rustle up a quick Tamarillo Chutney and have them with my favourite Millet Theplas (a kind of Indian flatbread). Read more for the step-by-step recipe of Tree Tomatoes chutney (Jam) and Millet Theplas, followed by their amazing health benefits.
1/2kgs – Tamarillos, firm
1/4 Cup – Organic jaggery powder
1tsp – Rock salt
1tsp – Red chilli flakes
1tbsp – Apple cider vinegar
*Plunge the Tamarillos into a deep pan of boiling water. After 45 seconds, pull them out with a fork or tongs and plunge into a bowl of cold water. Peel when they’re cool enough to handle. Puree them in a blender.
*In a separate pan, cook them along with jaggery powder, salt and chilli flakes. Let it cook for 10-12 minutes on low flame.
*Once done, bring it down to room temperature.
*Add apple cider vinegar and store in an air-tight container.
*Try to consume this freshly made chutney within a week.
(For eight theplas)
1/2 Cup Kodo (Kodra) millet flour
1/2 Cup – Sorghum (Jowar) millet flour
1/2 Cup – Pearl millet (Bajra) flour
1/2 Cup – Whole wheat flour
Rock Salt to taste
1/4tsp – Asafoetida (Heeng)
1/2tsp – Red chilli powder (adjust according to taste)
1-1.5 cups – Finely chopped spinach and fenugreek leaves
1tsp – Finely chopped green chillies
1tsp – Finely grated ginger
1tbsp – Toasted Sesame seeds
A pinch of turmeric
1/2-3/4 cup – Warm water to knead the dough
3-4tsp – Cow ghee to knead
Extra cow ghee for drizzling when cooking
*Mix together all of the ingredients except the water.
*Add water slowly and knead into a slightly stiff dough. Let it rest for 10 minutes.
*Heat a griddle on medium heat, divide the dough into 8 portions and make balls out of them.
*Roll out the dough balls into thin discs, about 5 inches in diameter. Repeat with all of the dough balls.
*When the griddle is hot, cook the theplas evenly on both sides.
*Take it off the flame and keep it in layers of a kitchen towel or serve immediately. Repeat with all the dough. Serve them hot with Tamarillo Chutney.
Health benefits of Tamarillo, millets, cow ghee and organic jaggery
*Those who are struggling to maintain a good and healthy weight, a raw and fresh tree tomato a day will aid in that. The juice in the fruit acts as a detoxifier as its acidic properties aid in cutting down fat. Tamarillo also reduces the level of blood sugar, especially in people with type 2 diabetes. Tree tomatoes are also rich in vitamins and mineral salts. They also contain iron and potassium.
*Millets are nutri-cereals which are highly nutritious and are known to have high nutrient content which includes protein, essential fatty acids, dietary fibre, B-Vitamins, minerals such as calcium, iron, zinc, potassium and magnesium. They help in rendering health benefits like reduction in blood sugar level (diabetes), blood pressure regulation, thyroid, cardiovascular and celiac diseases.
*Cow ghee has all the necessary nutrients along with antiviral, antioxidant, antifungal and antibacterial properties. Used as an ayurvedic medicine and a staple in Indian cooking, cow ghee contains many vital nutrients which help in making the body healthy and immune to diseases. It impacts large portions of the body from the eye to the abdomen; even the bones tend to get strong due to consumption of ghee. It is also used on wounds to speed up healing.
*Organic Jaggery is an excellent storehouse of natural carbohydrates. Rich in fibre and minerals like iron, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus, organic jaggery is a boon to the digestive system. Rich in antioxidants, it also purifies the blood and respiratory tract. It is extensively used in Ayurveda as a remedy for respiratory illnesses.
Shalini Rajani is the founder of Crazy Kadchi and holds innovative and healthy cooking workshops for all age groups.