If someone sneezed meters away, I would have probably caught the virus within minutes. No joke! At a point, even my high school teachers, college lectures and friends had a tough tough time with me. One of my college lectures found it so disturbing in his classes, that my mother was summoned for complaints regarding my condition and proper introspection. Poor mom of mine had been dealing with all this for long. Blood tests said nothing, just high eosinophil count, a condition of allergy. And that allergy meant negativity towards almost everything. Changing weather, summers or winters, humidity, dust, rains, loud noise, headlights, sleep, food, etc, etc, etc. Allopathic medicines only gave temporary relief. In my opinion, no relief at all, just a suppression. Amphetamines, antihistamines yielded no solution. How much could one deal with it?
For times when I would often fall sick with common cold or fever, my mom would patiently extend herself to make treatments at home. She opinionated that conditions with common cold or fever could be dealt at home with care and did not require extensive allopathic medications. She always jokes "Allopathy medicines would take just a week to cure, while home remedy would take 7 long days to cure." We hardly went to doctors for such conditions. She would prepare different types of Kashayas, Fire roasted ginger roots, Jeshtmaddu roots and several other home remedies for cure. She took immense care on food too. Food on those days were light, focussed on easily digestible ones. Rasam, Saar, Tambli were very common with over cooked mushy rice, again to aid for ease in digestion.
Even today, she continues to follow the same principles and it works wonders. You bet, I can't be as efficient as her when it comes to remedies, but I make a sincere attempt to follow her during my bouts of common colds, flu and fever. Even as I am recovering now, I have been careful with food I am cooking. This TiLi Saar is one of my favorites and it makes presence on my dining table very often. Not just when I am sick and low, but for those days when simple home food can be the most comforting.
1/2 cup pigeon lentil/toor dal, over cooked
2 cups water
1 tbsp tamarind pulp
1 tsp sambar/rasam powder
1/2 tsp compounded asafeotida
1 tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste
1 tsp clarified butter/pure ghee (replace it for coconut oil for a vegan version)
1 tsp mustard seeds
A sprig of curry leaves
2 red chillies
Chopped coriander leaves
Pressure cook the toor dal with water and turmeric powder for 15 min. Ensure the pigeon lentil/toor dal is over cooked so that it can be mashed well. Once cooked, mash the lentils, add the tamarind paste, sambar/rasam powder, 2 cups of water and the compounded asafeotida (hing). Bring this to a gentle boil. Add more water to make it thin.
Heat some clarified butter / oil in a pan. Add a tsp of mustard seeds, a sprig of curry leaves and 2 red chillies. Fry till the mustard begins to splutter. Remove from heat and temper the prepared TiLi saar. Serve hot over steaming rice.
TiLi means light or runny, in sense watery. TiLi saar is basically similar to rasam and is popular in coastal parts of Karnataka. You can substitute half the tamarind to tomato puree and make Tomato saar. Tempering can be changed to add garlic flavors with pepper and cumin. Eaten commonly with a generous dollop of homemade ghee (clarified butter) over ganji, over cooked mushy rice, they can be the most comforting home food I can ask for.