Ingredients (Serves 2)
1. Pearl onions – 20 – 25
2. Sesame oil / vegetable oil – 1.5 – 2 tbsp
3. Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Dry red chilies – 2
Fenugreek seeds – 1 pinch
Curry leaves – 5
4. Turmeric powder - 1 pinch
Sambar powder – 2 tsp
5. Tamarind – Large goose-berry sized, (Soak it in 3/4 cup warm water for 15 minutes and squeeze out its juice)
6. Rice flour – 1/2 – 1 tsp, mixed with 2 tbsp water
Jaggery – 1 tsp, grated or to taste
7. Hing / asafoetida – 1 pinch
8. Salt – To taste
1. Heat oil in a deep pan. Splutter mustard seeds and fry dry red chilies, fenugreek seeds and curry leaves. Add pearl onions, little salt and saute until light golden, about 5 minutes. Bring down the heat. Add turmeric powder and sambar powder. Saute for a minute.
2. Add tamarind juice and bring to a boil at medium heat. Next add 2 – 3 tsps of rice flour in water, jaggery and cook until gravy becomes thick and oil starts separating. Add a pinch of hing. Switch off. This tends to thicken over time so adjust the consistency of the gravy accordingly. It tastes best the next day and can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. Serve this delicious vatha kuzhambu with rice, appalam and koottu / any side-dish. It also goes very well with curd rice / idli, dosa etc.
Instead of pearl onions, you can use okra, sundakkai, garlic, drumstick, yellow pumpkin etc. If you are using drumstick or yellow pumpkin, cook them in enough water and little turmeric until done and then add it to the pan (after step 1) along with the water in which it is cooked.
Recipe Courtesy – My neighbor, Hari Priya from Chennai