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Vathal Kozhambu is a very traditional South Indian Brahmin dish, made from freshly squeezed tamarind and flavored with some traditional delicacies like vathal, small onions, appalam.The ingredients could be new to many of the non South Indians and if you are adventurous enough to try an authentic south indian brahmin home cooked recipe, go ahead and give this tasty tangy spicy dish a try. Its a palate teaser that goes well, with rice, dosa's, idli's and even sometimes a slice of bread.
Makes: 4 servings
2 tablespoons Manathangalikai Vathal
1/2 cup of small baby onions skinned
1 tablespoon of sambar powder
1 teaspoon jaggery
large lemon sized tamarind
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 tablespoon of sesame oil
3-4 curry leaves
Salt to taste
Soak the tamarind in 1 cup of hot water for about 20 minutes. The tamarind will soften. With your fingers, squash the tamarind in the soaked water until you see the water browning with the tamarind extract. Squeeze out the extract of the tamarind and strain it. Keep the extract aside. (yeilds to about 1 cup)
Heat oil in a pan; add mustard, fenugreek, curry leaves and allow them to crackle. Add the onions and saute until the onions are lightly tender and browned. Add in the manathangalikkai vathal and roast until darkened and crisp.
Once the vathal is roasted add the tamarind water, 1/2 cup of water, sambar powder and salt. Bring the mixture to a boiling point. Then simmer the mixture for about 15 minutes. The kozhumbu is of pouring consistency, as a slight pulpiness to it, yet not watery. Adjust the thickness by adding a little water if required.
Serve hot with plain rice. It can also be savored with dosa's, chilla's, idli's etc.