Healthcare Reform: Spinach Thambali

So much water under the bridge since my last post. 

My nose is resolutely telling me that spring has sprung. Obamacare morphed from a bill to a law. I have a new job on the horizon, ergo I am in the shiny happy no-mans land replete with fond farewells, exit interviews and the promise of a few days off before going back to the proverbial grind. The Grandparents are visiting, which means I return home everyday after a farewell lunch and two goodbye coffees to a dining table groaning with food.

Now I should be alternating between twiddling my thumbs and watching copious amounts of IPL, yes? NO. I choose to inflict the worst kind of torture upon myself by enrolling in Pilates sessions.

I have done Pilates before, I really have. OK, maybe like 4 times in the past 7 years. But Pilates seems to have had a face lift since, because a tour of the chi-chi studio before I took the plunge revealed not row upon row of yoga mats laid out in a squeaky clean room with mirrors (because that’s what it used to be, right? Like yoga – only a little on steroids). Instead I was told we would be working with “props” and a device ominously called a “Reformer”. I nervously took a peek into the studio and saw said Reformer - a leather contraption with springs and straps (and probably spikes and chains for all I know).

Three classes in, and I am convinced that every morning the lily-faced instructors don their $96 Lululemon yoga pants, snack on Kashi Twigs and pour their collective wisdom into a Daily Torture Plan. And wash it down with a tall-skinny-decaf-organic chai tea latte.

But soldier on I must. If not for anything else, because I have resorted to amusing myself by surveying my fashion forward fellow warriors very closely to figure out their Botox situation.

Some comic relief is essential, no?

On the upside I am feeling rather virtuous, and it prompted me to make one of my all time favorites – Spinach Thambali – a refreshing blend of spinach, coconut and yogurt, with the spicy undertones of black pepper. Exactly like my mood these days.

Spinach Thambali

A thambali is a Konkani dish with a yogurt and/or buttermilk base which is served chilled. I love the vivid green color of this dish, which makes it look as refreshing as it tastes – especially during warm weather. I personally prefer to use yogurt in my version since it gives it an extra dose of richness. You could even make the base ahead of time and add in yogurt when it is time to serve.

2 bunches spinach
4 tbsp unsweetened grated coconut
2 cups yogurt
2 green chillies
8-10 black peppercorns
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp oil
Salt to taste

Wash the spinach thoroughly. In a large saucepan, heat the oil and add cumin seeds. As soon as they start to sizzle, add the green chillies and peppercorns. Stir for a minute or so, and add the grated coconut. Fry until you get the aroma from the coconut – about 2-3 minutes on medium heat. Take care so as to not brown the coconut.

Throw in the spinach, sauté for a minute, and add a cup of water. Cover and cook until the spinach is tender. Allow this mixture to cool.

In the meantime, whisk the yogurt.

Puree the spinach mixture in a blender until you get a smooth green paste. Pour this into a serving dish and add salt to taste – this is your base.

Add the yogurt and stir well. Serve chilled.

Serves 4


  1. Sounds delicious, just the thing for the warm weather we're having now.

  2. Kamini - My absolute favorite. Try and let me know how you like it.

  3. HI, I had to let you know, I made this for dinner tonight and LOVED it. It was absolutely yummy! Such simple ingredients, but I found myself gobbling up spoonfuls straight from the bowl. Thanks for this recipe it's a keeper!

  4. Kamini - so glad you liked it.


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