sour & spicy tamarind eggplant curry

Tamarind is a sour ingredient that is available in dry form, which can be soaked and juiced and used as base for a variety of curries that are made in south india (especially TamilNadu). These curries are made with vegetables (mostly), or with fish/shrimp as well. Tamarind forms the base of the curry and is the primary ingredient that gives the taste to the curry and it is known to warm you up with the spice and sour taste on a cold winter evening. And this is my favorite meal to cook and enjoy on a craving snowy day.

Prep for it…
– Vertically slit like a ‘+’ (from top to 3/4 deep) about 5-6 small-medium sized purple egg plants, stem removed, with the bottom intact to hold it in one piece.
– 1 tsp sambhar powder (you can get this in any Indian grocery store)
– 1/2 tsp chilli powder (if you are substituting with paprika, then you might want to use a bit more to match with the sourness with tamarind)
– pinch of turmeric powder
– 1 medium sized red onion vertically sliced
– 1 tomato (optional – i didnot use in mine)
– 4 pods of garlic
– 1/2 tsp of fenugreek seeds + mustard and jeera seeds
– few strands of curry leaves (optional)
– lemon size tamarind soaked and juice extracted
– salt to taste
– 3 tbps of oil
– 3 tbps of coconut milk

Cook it…
In a wide pan, add oil + mustard + jeera + fenugreek seeds, let it sputter, add onion + garlic pods + curry leaves and saute for 5 minutes in medium flame. When the onion turns golden brown, add the slit whole eggplants and saute them gently for 4-5 minutes till the skin is mildly browned. Add the turmeric + sambhar + chilli powder fry for 30 secs and immediately add the chopped tomato and 1/2 tsp of salt and saute (2-3 minutes) until the tomato gets mushy. Add about 1/2 cup of water and let it boil for about 5 minutes, and now add the tamarind extract and salt to taste and let it boil for about 8-10 minutes until it is partially thickened and this will let the raw tamarind smell to go away.

Finally add the coconut milk and let it cook for another 10 minutes or until the sauce thickens as desired.

things i love about this dish is…
This can go well with rice, idli & dosa as well (rice-pancakes).


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