As I write this post, I cannot help but feel a strong sense of Deja-vu. In all the time this blog has existed, this will be the fifth sweet and sour thing I've written about - after Ambal, Khattey-Meethey Rajma, Radish Chutney, a pickle and now this one. I can't help but feel that perhaps our ancestors in Jammu landed upon a winning combination in sweet and sour and basically tried out as many items as possible. Or there could be some other reason that I'm not familiar with, and if you happen to know, as always, I'm all ears. After all, we are all about sharing knowledge here.
So this time, the sweet and sour treatment has been given to Horsegram. Horsegram, a fantastic source of protein if you're a vegetarian or vegan, is really lean and very delicious when prepared. Over the course of the next few posts, I plan on writing a few different ways of preparing horse gram, so if, like me, it's your thing, then I'd suggest you watch this space.
Before I walk you through the ingredients and steps, here are some relevant metrics for the recipe
Difficulty - Moderate.
Prep time - approx 20 minutes; this does not include the time taken up in pre-soaking the horse gram overnight.
Cooking time - around 20 to 25 minutes.
Servings - around 5.
I'll split this into 3 sections - aromatics, spices and everything else, so it's easy to follow along.
Fenugreek/Methi seeds - 0.5 tbsp
Dried red chillies - 3 small-medium ones
Asafoetida/Heeng - 2 to 3 pinches
I've asked my elders for the amounts, and as you know, with Indian cooking and them, everything else is just instinct, so adjust accordingly, dear readers.
Garam Masala - 0.75 tsp
Turmeric - 0.75 tsp
Red chilli powder - adjust the quantity based on how sharp your dried red chillies are.
Salt - to taste
Coriander powder - 0.75 tsp
Horsegram - around 1 heaped cups, wash, drain and then soaked overnight in water.
Jaggery - this is the sweet component - 4 tbsp but adjust to taste.
Tamarind paste - 2 tbsp, but adjust to taste. I'll add a footnote to this blog on how you can extract this paste at home if you don't want store-bought paste.
Mustard oil - 1 cup.
Water - 3 cup
Put the soaked horse gram in a pressure cooker.
Set the heat to high, pressure cooker on top, and wait for the whistle.
After the whistle, lower the flame and let things remain for 15 to 20 mins. After the time has elapsed, turn off the heat.
Next, in a wok, heat the mustard oil on high heat. We've talked about this before, but as a reminder, this is done to temper the mustard oil's pungency. Once it is at its smoke point, lower the heat to a medium and bring the mustard oil's temperature down a bit (to around 150 degrees celsius).
At this point, introduce all the aromatics. Sauté the aromatics until they start to release their aroma. This usually takes around 30 seconds to a minute. Be careful not to burn the garlic; it can happen rather quickly.
Set the heat back up to high, and introduce more water along with the spices.
Sauté everything well.
Bring everything to a boil. Lower the heat for a bit, and then raise it again until it's reduced to a thickness you desire.
Now, the tamarind paste and jaggery can be added.
Set the heat back up to high and bring everything to a boil.
We are done once it has come to a boil, and we can turn off the flame.
Garnish with coriander, dry chillies and some of the juliennes of ginger.
Right, so the alternative to store-bought tamarind paste is to make it yourself at home, basically. All you do is
Soak the tamarinds in hot water for 3 to 4 hours so that it softens up.
Once it softens up, squeeze the tamarinds and run them through a sieve to remove things like seeds.
If you feel more pulp can be extracted, you can repeat it once more with the leftover tamarinds.
If you ever decide to make it or have a variation to this, let us know in the comments below.