A BITTERSWEET OFFERING FROM TAMIL NADU!
Veppam-poo (Dried Neem leaves), Ripe Mangoes, Jaggery, Mustard seeds, Fenugreek seeds, Dried red chilies, Turmeric powder, Asafoetida, Curry leaves, Clarified butter (ghee).
1. Cut up one ripe (yet firm) mango into big chunks (retain the skin).
2. Crush/grate jaggery to make about ½ – ⅔ cup.
3. Heat up 3 table spoons of ghee in a pan. Add 4-5 heaped tablespoons of vepam-poo, reduce heat to medium and lightly fry till they crisp up. Turn off the heat and take out into a plate and allow it to cool.
4. Heat up oil in the pan, add 2 teaspoons of mustard seeds. When they begin to splutter, add 1 teaspoon of methi (fenugreek) seeds and break 2-3 dried red chilies into the oil. Saute briefly and add 1 cup of water.
5. Add the mango pieces into the water, salt to taste and a pinch each of turmeric powder and asafoetida. Cover and cook till the mangoes get tender and all the water has almost evaporated.
6. Add the jaggery to the mixture, add some water and stir well. The jaggery will melt and start to blend with the mango to give the whole mixture a syrupy texture as it thickens.
7. Add chopped curry leaves to the mixture and mix well.
8. Add the fried vepam-poo to the mango-jaggery mixture, allow to cook for 1-2 minutes till everything comes together.