A friend B had an Indian restaurant , on our visit, we were bowled over by the kara Kuzhambu served with Pongal, usually Pongal is not on our list of things to eat , definitely not by paying for it. However this was out of the world delicious.
So in a bid to recreate it, I annoyed the chef enough to get the recipe . This is mostly his creation , the only change to this is , when I noticed some of the ingredients he used were the same ones in Goda masala , I add a pinch of Goda Masala instead .
Shallots – about 10 – 15 peeled and chopped
Tomatoes – 1 chopped
Ginger – shredded
Garlic – 10-15 cloves crushed
Green chilies – 2 ( more if you like it spicy)
Cumin seeds – 1tsp
Curry leaves – handful
Turmeric powder – liberally
Goda masala – 1/2 tsp — ( entirely my addition – ignorable)
Sambar powder – 2 tbsp
Tamarind water – 2 cups
Eggplant ( small round ones) – 3 /4 cut lengthwise into slivers.
Make a paste with the following or alternately Use Kara Kuzhambu powder – Jai ho grand sweets
Coriander seeds – 1 tsp
Shredded coconut – 1/4 cup
Fennel seeds – 1 tsp
few cloves/ cardamom
Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a deep pan, Add cumin seeds, curry leaves, eggplant slices and shallots and fry , next add ginger ,garlic ,green chilies and chopped tomatoes.
Cook till the tomatoes are well cooked .
Now add the powders and salt., cook for 6-8 minutes.
Add tamarind juice to the mixture in the pan and let it boil and become a thick gravy.
Once the raw smell has gone , add the ground paste and let it cook for about 5 min ( you can omit this step is you used kara kuzhambu powder) .
I let this simmer for close to 15 min and at the end thicken with some paruppu podi / garlic podi mixed in water.
Mix in with Rice and hot Ghee / Sesame oil and enjoy.
- Adding paruppu podi ( lentil flour) or garlic podi instead of rice flour was taught to me by a friends mom ( deep down south ) and tastes infinitely better.
- Paruppu podi is available as dhal powder but then i get mine home-made or failing that grand sweets , I cant vouch for the other brands.
- You could add a touch of Jaggery at the end, a friends mom does that and it tastes OK but i like my sambar non-sweetish.
- Goda Masala is my latest love . After a stint to Pune I pretty much add it to anything and everything , I’m not a typical sticking to recipe cook, I add whatever is in my current list of ‘ I love’s’ .
- I dont add red chili powder ,the sambar and kara kuzhambu powder is fiery enough for my wimpy taste buds.
- Once I have this done, then it accompanies Rice one day, Dosa the next day, maybe idli / pongal/ Khichdi the third and so on until it is completely over.