Is Spring the most beautiful season? After a total dormant condition, tree are showing sign of life, in some area the cherry blossom has started. Not particularly a scorching sun, burning your skin yet, you feel a pleasant cool weather. A little bit of gloomy weather probably for us, but the season is categorized as wet one for the rest of US. The weather change will definitely bring a new series of germs, virus,.... Ah, we already got some stuffy nose to sinus pressure,....Probably the double dose of flu shots expired in our body. We simply needed some peppery food to clear the nose and throat. I remembered my mom preparing on rainy days along with some thogaiyal or papad. It is called comfort food for us.
The pepper gravy (millagu kuzhambu) is a must in all Tamilian repertoire.Very easy recipe can be done under 20 minutes or less.
My mom does a non-Vegetarian version with a particular butterfish. Given for lactating mom - because of mild spice, pepper, and garlic which fight/protect against cold.
Tamarind: lemon size ball -(about a ounce)
Pearl onion: 10 peeled
Garlic: 1 whole peeled
Few curry leaves
Water: 1 1/2 cup
Salt: 3/4 tsp
Hing: a dash
Oil (gingelly): 2 tsp
Black Peppercorn: 1 tsp
Red Pepper: 5 number (I used the round small one (less spicy)
Urad dhal: 1 tsp
Toor dhal: 1 tsp
Curry leaves: 4 or 5
Add a drop of oil, roast all the ingredients until they turn slightly brown and aromatic.
Cool completely and grind into fine powder.
Soak the tamarind in warm 1/2 cup of water for ten minutes or keep in microwave for less than min.
Take out and extract the juice by adding another 1/2 cup of water.
Now add the ground powder, salt and remaining water.
In a pot, heat the oil, add the hing, followed by onion and garlic, fry until they turn translucent.
Pour the tamarind and ground masala mix, let it boil few minutes (approx- 10 min) in medium heat.
The gravy will turn thick because of the masala . Optional, u can add a little piece of jaggery to adjust the tamarind level (I didn't ).
Serve the gravy over the steamed rice, great for cold and stuffy nose in a rainy day.