I grew up in the small town of Puttur which was a quite town back then. Most of the socializing was during a temple festival or events/utsav's which is usually followed by a delicious finger licking meal for everyone who visited the festivities. These meals are often called boori samaradhane in Konkani which means meals for everyone. Back then I did not find these meals exciting, simply because there were too many of them and often. Waiting long hours for the meals to be served, on a hungry stomach wasn't very exciting. But when the meals are served on a banana leaves and the aroma of the saaru, dalitoy, gashi, pickles noNche filled the lunch rooms ..ah it was worth the the wait. It is a memory to be cherished.
I was browsing through some old pictures the other day and found some pictures from the temple meal and was suddenly craving for the saaru served in the temples. I went through some recipes I wrote down from my cousin who is a chef back in India. I had this recipe for few years but never tried it. I assumed it was a tough one to be perfected at home. I made this saaru for the first time ever and turned out almost perfect. A yummy finger licking saaru, I could just drink it like a soup.
3 large ripe tomatoes
1/2 tsp jaggery powder
1 tsp tamarind pulp
Ingredients to roast
3 tbsp coriander
3 tbsp toor dal
1/2 tsp jeera
1/4 fenugreek seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
1/4 tsp hing powder or pinch of hing solid
2 red chillies mild or byadagi
2 red chillies hot
3 sprig curry leaves, optional
1 tbsp shredded coconut fresh or frozen
Ingredients for seasoning
1 sprig curry leaves
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
In a saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to boil. Put the whole tomatoes with a slit in the boiling water and continue cooking for about 5 mins till tomatoes break. Remove from flame and let it cool down. When cooled, removed the tomatoes from water. The skin from the tomatoes will peel off easily. If the skin has lots of pulp, squeeze the skin with some cold water and retain the pulp. Discard the skin.
Mash the tomatoes into a coarse puree. You can either squeeze by hand or in a blender. You could mash it into a smooth puree if like a smooth saaru. I like it with some pieces of tomatoes, so i keep it coarse.
Roast the ingredients listed for roasting in 2 tsp of oil. Let it cool. Grind the roasted spices along with the tamarind pulp into a coarse paste.
In the saucepan mix together the tomato puree and the ground paste and bring it a boil. Add water to bring to the desired consistency. Add the jaggery, coriander leaves and salt. You may add more jaggery as required. Boil the saaru for 5-10 minutes.
For the seasoning, heat 1 tsp oil, splutter mustard seeds, add curry leaves. Garnish the saaru.
Serve with some hot steamed rice. Enjoy!