This is a thick jam-like gravy with a tamarind base, spiced with a mix of roasted powdered pepper and lentils. Perfect over a bed of hot steaming rice, with an accompaniment of vegetables (kootu) or curry.
2tbspblack pepperincrease or decrease per your heat tolerance
1sprigCurry leavesoptional, but adds flavor
1tspCoriander seedsI don't always use, and can be optional
1tspOil/gheeto roast the spices
2tbspsesame oilmore would be perfect
Soak the tamarind in about a cup of warm water, and extract the juice
Heat the tsp of oil/ghee to roast the spices
In this order, add the spices: toor dal, coriander seeds, black pepper, and finally red chilies, and toast.
Add curry leaves at the end, and toast to remove all moisture
Cool the spice mix, and powder coarsely
Heat the 2 tbsp of oil, pop the mustard seeds, and add hing. Add the tamarind extract and cook until the raw smell goes away, about 5-8 minutes
Add the powdered spices, lower the heat, and make sure to break up the lumps formed
I drizzle a bit more sesame oil as the gravy thickens and cook till the oil glazes it
Eat with hot steaming rice, with a side of kootu vegetable gravy) and papad.
My mom used to make this gravy on rainy days, and fry vathal/vadam/papads. Spicy in a good way, with the goodness of black pepper. It is supposed to rev up a waning appetite, and cleanse the system. Considered a pathiya food item (special restricted diet). Made for lactating and post-partum moms to help with healing, not sure how it works.
But, this is an amazing gravy and is wonderful on a bed of hot steaming rice. I always make a side of kootu (vegetables blended with a mild spice mix, and cooked with dal) to make a complete meal.