Most of my Tamil preparations are inspired by Viji Varadarajan's book "Samayal".Going through her simple and delicious recipes,I keep wondering how many vegetable gravies can be prepared with Sambar powder.The otherwise normal curry/kuzhambu can be lifted immensely with flavorful sambar powder is a revelation.Truly worth it,this simple shallot curry is an example to start with.Just try and experience the magic..
1.1 pound/500 gm shallots,peeled
3 tbsp thick tamarind pulp
1 cup water
1.5 tbsp sambar powder
1/2 tsp asafoetida powder
few pinches of jaggery to balance the flavor (optional)
2 tbsp sesame oil
salt and handful of curry leaves
For the seasoning
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
half tsp black gram/uzhunnu parippu
1/2 bengal gram / kadala parippu
In a kadai or medium skillet heat a teaspoon of oil and splutter mustard seeds.Add fenugreek and both daals and fry till it turns golden brown.Now add the shallots and mix well.Pour the tamarind pulp and water .To this add sambar powder,asafoetida powder,curry leaves and salt.Mix well and bring to a boil.Now cover and simmer till it's somewhat thick.This may take 7-8 minutes.Now remove the lid and add jaggery.Let the curry/kuzhambu turn thick.Add the remaining sesame oil .Switch off the flame.Serve with rice /idli/dosa etc.