Sambar / Sambhar/ Kozhambu
My Kamala paati is an expert in this kozhambu..This is one of my favourite dishes. It tastes best with Sepankazhangu (arbi) fry or cabbage curry.
5 tsp Dhaniya seeds
2 tsp channa dal/bengal gram dal
3 tsp toor dal
1 sp urad dal
1/2 sp methi seeds/venthayam
4 dried red chillies, salt
Grind the above ingredients to a fine thick paste and keep aside.
(Note: A coarse dry powder of the above ingredients is the karamathu podi or curry powder used to season brinjal and ladiesfinger/okra curry)
1 ball tamarind(lemon sized)
salt- to taste, hing - 4 dashes, turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Small Purple rounded Brinjal ( Indian Eggplant, small, dark purple ones) 5-6
Mustard seeds 1sp
Jaggery 1/8 tsp
Oil- atleast 5-6 tbsp
Slit the brinjal across into 8 parts. Do not cut them completely. Just make slits. Stuff the masala in it. Preserve the remaining masala for making the kozhambu. Transfer the stuffed brinjals to a microwave safe bowl. Drizzle with oil and microwave on high for about 4-5 min (the idea is to make the brinjals get partially cooked and absorb the masala).
Now splutter some mustard seeds in 5 tbsp of oil. Transfer the brinjals in the kadai. Sprinkle some more salt. Once they are almost completely cooked, add the extract of tamarind. Add hing, turmeric and the remaining masala. Let it boil and thicken. Add sufficient salt. Finish it off by adding a little jaggery to balance the sharp flavour of tamarind. Garnish with coriander leaves if desired.
Note: If you are particular about retaining the stuffing the brinjal intact, do not let it boil in the kozhambu. Instead cook the brinjals and the kozhambu separately and toss the brinjals in the kozhambu just before serving.
In case you are using many brinjals and the masala is insufficient, grind some more masala for the kozhambu.
If you don't have brinjals at home, try making the same with ladies finger/okra... A superb variation! Also the same recipe can be made without any vegetable, just fry some manthakkalika vathal and top the kozhambu.