Today’s recipe is from a cookbook, Vantalu Pindivantalu by Malathi Chandur, that I bought years ago in a small book shop in Hyderabad. I still remember taking my mom to Koti, Hyderabad to buy a cook book. After asking in couple of stores, I was slowly getting disappointed that I won’t be buying a cookbook that day. But my mom took me to a dusty old store that had no windows and had a rickety broken stairs. The guy said he had some cookbooks in the back and the back was even more dusty and dark. Well finally one of the assistants came down from the attic with a couple of cookbooks and I ended up picking this one.
This book was first published way back in 1974, so there are no pictures and the recipes are written with no measurements, everything is written in terms of fistfulls and a little bit more. So here’s a recipe with the measurements I came up with. The curry ended up super tasty, do give it a try. I’m sure that the masala would taste great with other veggies too.
Heat 2tsp oil in a small saute pan and fry chana dal, coriander seeds and red chilies until dal is lightly browned and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Remove into a bowl.
To the same pan, add onions and fry until browned around the edges. Remove from the pan and let cool slightly.
Grind the chana dal mixture until smooth. Add onions, tamarind paste, grated coconut and salt; grind until smooth. Set aside.
To make the Curry:
(Optional) To remove some bitterness from bittergourd, microwave it with some salt and 1tbsp tamarind paste for 5-6 minutes ot until the veggie is almost cooked and tender. Squeeze out the liquid and use as needed.
Heat 1tbsp oil in a saute pan, add the chopped bittergourd and fry until it turns golden, about 8-10 minutes. Add the ground masala paste, mix well and cook for 4-5 minutes. This curry should be dry, so don't add any water.