Chinna Vengayam Poondu Kuzhambu (Pearl Onion and garlic gravy in tamarind based sauce)
This is one of my go to dish when I have no vegetables in hand and we need to eat a happy meal. Chinna vengayam is otherwise called pearl onions or shallots in other parts of the world is the main ingredient here. Adding Garlic pods generously elevates this dish to the next level. There is really not many ways of making this dish in particular so, It is more or less a standard recipe. and I am happy to share this here as it turns out perfectly every time for me. This tangy gravy stores well in the fridge as we use tamarind juice as a curry base, it prevents the foods from getting spoiled during the hot weathers in India. So its excellent for lunch boxes. Now Lets go to the recipe.
- 10-15 no.s Pearl Onions or shallots
- 10 no.s Garlic pods (small - sized, peeled)
- 1 sprig Curry leaves
- 1 tsp Mustard Seeds
- 1/2 tsp Fenugreek Seeds
- 1/2 tsp broken white urad dal
- 4 tbsp Sesame Oil
- 1 medium Tomatoes (finely chopped)
- 1 lemon sized Tamarind (soaked in warm water to extract pulp)
- 1 Tbsp Kuzhambu milagai podi or sambar powder
- 2.5 cups water (to preferred consistency)
- 1 tbsp Jaggery (or sugar)
- 2 tsp salt (to taste)
First, Prep all the vegetables to be used in this recipe and soak a small lemon sized tamarind piece in 3/4 cup of warm water and extract tamarind pulp from it.
- In a deep pan or a kadai, add oil. Keep the flame in medium, Once the oil is hot, add mustard seeds and allow it to splutter fully. Next add in the fenugreek seeds and white urad dal and sauté for few seconds. (be careful not to let the fenugreek seeds burn. If it does it will give a bitter taste to the gravy)
- Next add in the shallots and garlic pods, sauté until the onions are slightly cooked (don't have to brown the onions). Next add in the chopped tomatoes and mix it in well.
- cover it with a lid and cook for 5 mins until the tomatoes are cooked and turns soft and mushy.
- Add the kuzhambu milagai podi or sambar powder and mix it in well.
- Add the extracted Tamarind pulp and about 2.5 cups of water. (This curry thickens as it boils so keep it a little thin at this stage)
- Add grated jaggery to the gravy, salt and cover it and cook in medium to low flame for 10-15 mins. And continue to cook on medium flame for 10 mins with out the lid.
- When the gravy is ready you can see that the gravy has thickened, the onions have turned translucent and oil has started to appear on the sides. This is the sign that the gravy is ready.
- And there chinna vengayam poondu kuzhambu is ready to serve. Enjoy it with hot steaming rice with appalam
If you don't have sesame oil, you can cook with any regular cooking oil. But cooking with sesame oil brings a nice flavor to the dish. This is excellent for lunch box and can be made ahead as it stores well.