Recipe by Tasneen Padiath

Serves 5 to 6

1 tbsp tamarind paste
150ml water
3 tbsp sunflower oil
4 fenugreek seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 dried chillies, sliced down one side
Leaves peeled from 2 stalks of curry leaves
1cm ginger, chopped
10 shallots, peeled and finely chopped
10 large green chillies, left whole with stalks intact
15 Medjool dates, seeded and sliced down one side
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp salt

1 Soak 1 tbsp tamarind paste in 150ml water in a bowl for one hour.
2 In a non-stick pan over low heat, add 3 tbsp sunflower oil, 4 fenugreek seeds and 1 tsp mustard seeds. Cook for two to three minutes or until the spices sizzle.
3 Add dried red chillies and curry leaves. Saute for one minute. Add ginger and saute for 30 seconds. Add chopped shallots and saute until soft and translucent.
4 Add green chillies and fry for five to seven minutes until they turn a lighter shade of green and become soft and wrinkly. Stir constantly.
5 Add dates and saute contents for two minutes.
6 Squeeze the soaked tamarind paste by hand and collect the residual water in the bowl. Pour the tamarind water into the pan gradually while mixing the contents and adjust to medium heat.
7 Add 1/2 tsp of chilli powder and 1/2 tsp salt into the pan. Mix well with contents and press the dates with the back of a spatula to ensure they are well-soaked in tamarind juice.
8 Cover the pan and cook the contents for 15 minutes. Stir every five minutes to prevent the dates from getting burnt at the bottom of the pan. Stir in up to 2 tbsp of water if the contents become dry to achieve a sticky consistency. Dish up and serve.

This article was first published in Sunday Life!, 22 March 2015.