This strongly aromatic condiment will tantalise the taste buds with its salty, sweet, sour, pungent and slightly bitter combination of flavours. Sesame seeds oil imparts a wonderful nutty flavour, but it is an acquired taste. You may replace it with any neutral flavoured oil, if you wish. Serve this with any meal.
Serves 6 to 8
¼ cup/50g fenugreek seeds
10 whole dried Kashmiri red chillies, stemmed
2 tablespoons sesame seeds oil (or vegetable oil)
½ cup/50g grated fresh coconut
1/3 cup/65g small pieces of jaggery, or to taste
½ teaspoon de-seeded tamarind chunk
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
2 tablespoons raisins
¾ teaspoon black mustard seeds
10 to 15 fresh curry leaves
½ teaspoon asafoetida
1. Dry-roast the fenugreek seeds until fragrant. Transfer to a plate and let cool to room temperature.
2. Bring 1 cup/250ml water to a boil in a saucepan. Add the fenugreek seeds. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, roast the red chillies with a few drops of oil until fragrant. Let cool to room temperature.
4. Place the red chillies with the coconut, jaggery, tamarind, turmeric powder and salt in an electric blender. Add ½ cup/125ml water and process until smooth.
5. Add the ground paste to the fenugreek seeds with the raisins and extra ¼ cup/65ml water. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 8 minutes or until the sauce thickens, stirring frequently. Taste and add more salt and/or jaggery if necessary. Remove from the heat.
6. Heat the remaining oil in a small pan. When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds. When the seeds begin to pop, stir in the curry leaves and asafoetida. When fragrant, remove from the heat and pour the contents into the saucepan.
7. Mix well. Serve hot or at room temperature.