Of the more than 100 times I tried establishing myself in the kitchen, there was only one instance when I succeeded in making a gravy that really looked its place…..Most of the times, I either overdid the onion part of it….or the tomatoes’ raw taste didn’t seem to leave the dish at all. Coming to think of it, a lot goes into preparing this. Right amount of vadhakkals, dumping the veggies in the right sequence….
So here is how I did this (am I seeing signs of Khana Khazana in myself??? Aaah come on….)….the gravy was for a lobia dal…a real favourite of mine….Experience taught me that the gravy will be of superior quality, if the onion is really chopped to pieces, and I really mean to as small pieces as possible…and to get the real tangy taste..peel off the tomato skin before cutting them to really small pieces too….
Wanna add spiciness to this??? Get yourself finely chopped/cut ginger, garlic and clove (my personal favourite)…..Now for the operational part of it….
Take a kadai….pour oil in it….allow it to get hot….then put your chopped onions in it for vadhakkals….(or sauté as they call it)…a good quality vadhakkals is judged by the degree of translucency achieved by the onion….a glazy look…In between you may also add your ginger, garlic and cloves….now that you get that glazy look on your pan….put the chopped/cut/mashed tomatoes too…..If tomatoes outnumber your onion, it is the right recipe for the tangy gravy….you may have to be patient now…for it takes ample time for the tomato to lose its raw odour….a good indicator of this (apart from your nose and tongue) is that the oil has to simmer above the surface of your gravy, now you can put in your turmeric, masala and all other such condiments as you deem it fit….Now tha bakra is ready for the bali….you may put your dals/aloo/or whatever that you want to…in this gravy…allow them to get sufficiently cooked….a key thing to do in the closing stages is to ‘sunda vittufy’..this will give the necessary consistency to your dish…..
Some of the common pitfalls – having a half sautéed onion, retaining the fresh/raw odor of tomato (yuck), forgetting to put salt (as you wud have noticed in the above recipe of mine)
Some of the cool options for which such gravy can be used – Lobia, aloo mutter, soya chunks
And most important of all…Luv what you cook…that will make it more palatable…