Onion Garlic Vatthal Kozhambu

(A traditional spicy Tamilian curry from SouthEast India)

Mustard seeds, Methi (fenugreek) seeds, Tur dal (split pigeon peas), Turmeric, Asafoetida, Sesame oil (Canola is fine as well), Garlic cloves, Red onions, Tamarind paste (or pulp), Sambar powder (or Madras Curry powder), Jaggery (or molasses).

1. Peel 20 cloves of garlic.
2. Slice 2 medium sized red onions.
3. In a large deep pan, heat 6 tablespoons of sesame oil (this is traditional, but any other oil is also good. I wouldn’t use olive oil since it may impart a distinct flavor to the curry).
4. Add 2 tsps of mustard seeds and ½ tsp of methi seeds. When they begin to splutter, add 2 tsps of tur dal and sauté till they turn a light brown.
5. Add 5 tablespoons of sambar powder and sauté well.
6. Add the red onions and sauté for just a minute (do not caramelize them) and add the garlic cloves and mix well.
7. Add 4 cups of water and mix 6 tablespoons of tamarind paste to water and onion/garlic mixture and stir well.
8. Add salt to taste, 1 teaspoon each of turmeric powder and asafoetida powder.
9. Add a 2” piece of jaggery (or 2 tablespoons of molasses) to balance out the spice/tanginess.
10. Let the whole mixture cook for about 30-35 minutes, till it thickens to a gravy consistency.
11. Garnish with fresh curry leaves.
12. To serve: Pour over hot rice and serve with a cool ‘cucumber raita’ (yogurt & grated cucumber) and chips!

Note: This can be made with other vegetables such a butternut squash, okra (which will need to be fried well at the beginning to eliminate the stickiness), pearl onions, etc.

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