Dry Manathakkali Vathal – 1 fistful
Tamarind lemon sized ball
Turmeric powder 1/2 spoon/(I use ‘virali manjal’ whole stick, broken into bits)
Chili powder 1 spoon
Jaggery gooseberry size
Rice flour 1-2 spoons(its only optional, I never use)
Sesame oil 1/2 cup.
Mustard seeds 3 -5 Spoons
Curry leaves 1 large bowlful
Asafoetida 2 spoons
Chana dal 1 cup
Urad dal 1 cup
Dry red chilies 6 numbers
Fenugreek 1/4 spoon
Sesame oil few spoons.
To Be Fried Each Separately in Little Oil and Wet-Ground Togather to Thick Paste:(Vatha Kuzhambu masala)
Coriander seeds 2 spoons
Chana dal 1 spoon
Curry leaves 1 twig
Fenugreek seeds 1 spoon
Dry red chilies 6
Asafoetida 1/2 spoon
Sesmae oil few spoons.
Wet Grind to thick batter like consistency and set aside!
Better….fry the ‘vatha kuzhambu masala’ (listed above)ingredients first. Each seperately in little oil, till they turn to golden to reddish color. Infact very aromatic! Then wet-grind them togather, using very limited water. Set this masala aside.
In a non-reactive bowl, soak tamarind with 1-2 cups of luke warm water for 1-2 hours. In a blender, run this along with the same soaked water and extract a thick tamarind milk. Set aside.
In a heavy bottomed non-stick pan,add few spoons of oil. Fry the dry vathal(either one ‘manathakkali/ sundaikkai). Fry them till they turn to dark brown to black, Set aside.
In a the same pan, heat remaining oil. Now add thick tamarind milk, salt, turmeric powder/ virali manjal’ broken into teeny meeny bits, jaggery, rice flour and chili powder. Cover and cook over medium heat for about 12-15 minutes.
When the tamarind’s raw odour leaves the pan and it starts to consolidate, better add ‘vatha kuzhambu masala’ and ‘fried vathal’! Bring this to boil. Again switch to medium heat and cook without lid. Maybe till the raw odour of wet-ground paste is gone. The gravy should really thicken now. Wait till oil shows up on sides and top. Then remove from heat.
In a seperate pan, heat oil, add the tempering spices one by one and wait till they pop. Now run this seasoning over the gravy made above. Always season your gravy at last, like a final touch…it makes it really aromatic!!!
Serve warm with plain steamed rice. A spoon full of ghee to go with it, Heaven! Enjoy!