Hyderabadi cuisine is so much a product of cross pollination. The flavours of the Telangana region mixed with the technique of moghlai cooking is showcased in many dishes. So the gravies are made up of peanuts, coconut and tamarind which are all found in the Telangana region, paired with the slow cooking and the choice of meat and spices used in moghlai cooking. This dish uses tamarind to add tang to the dish. Despite being part of the Moghlai repertoire, is made only in the Deccan region. This essentially is the gravy used for baghare baingan and mirchi ka saalan, but the vegetable used is tomato which adds to the tartness of this dish. I love baghare baingan and mirchi ka saalan. And since they are vegetarian dishes that can be served at parties, I make them often. Tamatar ka saalan is very much a part of Hyderabadi cuisine that is today cooked only in homes and is rarely found in restaurants. This was the first time I tried this recipe, and I think this is my new favourite now….. it was terrific.
Don’t get put off by the lousy pictures. I feel like kicking myself in the behind for not having better ones… comes from wanting to throw a party and click food pictures with a house full of guests!!
Tamatar ka Saalan
Time taken 30 minutes
8 desi tomatoes
grind all of the ingredients below to a smooth paste adding the minimum required water
4 medium onions or about 2 cups , peeled, cubed and fried in 1Tbsp oil till pink
1Tbsp whole coriander seeds
3Tbsp sesame seeds
1 ½ tsp poppy seeds
¼ cup groundnuts
1 tsp red chilli powder
1Tbsp ginger garlic paste
¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
½ tsp turmeric powder
large lemon sized ball of tamarind, pulp extracted or 1/3 cup thick tamarind pulp
1 tsp kalonji seeds
salt to taste
3 Tbsp oil
Sprig of curry leaves (optional)
Wash and pat dry the tomatoes, make a cross mark at the stalks. Heat the oil and gently fry the tomatoes over a slow flame till blisters develop on the skin. Be careful while doing this because the skin will explode if fried on full heat. Take them out and set aside.
In the remaining oil, heat through and add the kalonji seeds. After it splutters, add the ground masala and cook on low heat stirring periodically till the oil separates. Add the tamarind pulp, salt to taste and simmer for a few minutes till incorporated. If using curry leaves, add now. Check the seasoning and adjust, add a little water depending on the consistency of the gravy desired (it should not be watery) add the fried tomatoes and simmer a further 6-8 minutes till done.
Serve hot with pulao or biryani.