1. Soak tamarind in hot water and make tamarind extract (roughly 2 cups). Be generous with the tamarind, like maamas are with sarcasm.
2. Peel sambar onions (Madras onions/shallots) and a few garlic cloves. If the mention of the “g” word makes you perform all manner of exorcism style hand maneouvres with a “shiva shiva” soundtrack, just ignore it. Vatthal kuzhambu tastes insanely better with a spot of garlic. If you prefer to stay away from it, like vampires tend do, fine with us.
3. Heat gingelly oil (preferably) and add mustard seeds, few fenugreek seeds, curry leaves. If you find anyone using any oil other than Gingelly (sesame), take the adai pan from here and clout them on the head.
4. Fry the onions and garlic until they are cooked.
5. Fry the sambar powder (recipe below) for a bit.
6. Add tamarind extract and bring to a simmer with a pinch of asafoetida and salt.
To make Vatthakozhambu with Sundakkai etc.-
Fry the sundakkai or other vathal. Add mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds in the same oil. Once seeds splutter, fry the sambar podi. Add tamarind extract, salt and asafoetida. Bring to a boil and remove from flame.
Here’s the sambar podi recipe:
- Few small Asafoetida chunks
- 200 grams chana dal
- 200 grams tur dal
- 1/2 kilo coriander seeds
- 1/2 kilo red chillies
- Few tsp Mustard seeds
- 200 grams fenugreek seeds
1. Fry the Asafoetida chunks in oil until they puff up. Keep aside.
2. Dry roast all the other ingredients until the dals are golden brown.
3. Once cooled, grind to fine powder.
Recipe Source: Saraswati, when not unleashing brilliant alapanas in Karaharapriya, specializes in a unique fusion of Tanjore and Palakkad cuisine