This is a very old recipe, old that I only remember my grandma make this once, not even my mom. My grandma would make this because it keeps well for 2 days without refrigeration. The addition of (Sunberry or Black Nightshade) gives this dish a subtle bitterness, compensating the tang from tamarind. The recipe is similar to vatral kuzhambu but not the same. Its creamy, tangy and delicious. I know this is going to be a regular in my house.
Vatral is anything that is sun-dried and hence can be stored year round. You can substitute any other sun-dried berries like (Turkey Berry) or vegetables per your taste. Omit ladies finger for a longer shelf-life. And, don’t be alarmed by the number of chillies in the recipe, the rice flour will compensate the heat.
Clockwise: G.Chillies, R.Chillies, Okra, Fenugreek seeds, Sunberry
Okra or Ladies finger – 10, cut into 1 inch pieces
Tamarind extract – 1 ½ tbsp
Fenugreek seeds – 1 tsp
Red chillies – 5
Green chillies – 2
Rice – 3 tbsp
Manathakkali vatral – 2 tsp
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
In a dry skillet, roast rice, red chillies, ½ tsp of fenugreek seeds, each separately. The rice should release its aroma, fenugreek seeds and red chillies should turn dark brown. Allow them to cool and grind them to a fine powder. Transfer this to a bowl and mix it with 2 cups of water making sure there are no lumps. Set aside.
In the same skillet, heat a tsp of oil. Splutter mustard seeds. Add fenugreek seeds, ladies finger and green chillies and manathakkali vatral in the same order. After the ladies finger turns bright green, add tamarind paste, 1 cup of water and salt. Boil till tamarind doesn’t smell raw anymore.
Now add the prepared rice paste to the skillet. Boil for 10 minutes on low flame, while the sauce thickens. Serve with plain rice.