2 tbsp - Tamarind paste dissolved in about 4 cups water (if you're using Tamarind pods, soak a large lemon-size ball in 4 cups of warm water and when the Tamarind softens, in about 30 minutes, crush it with your fingers to extract all the juice and discard the solids)
Dry-roast the fenugreek seeds until they darken slightly to a reddish hue.
In a tiny bit of oil, fry the red chillies. Remove and use a paper towel to absorb the excess oil.
In a spice grinder, powder the fenugreek and chillies along with about 1/2 tsp of salt. Set aside.
Heat remaining oil and add the mustard, asafoetida, chillies, chana dal and urad dal. Fry for a minute.
Once the peanuts start browning, add the tamarind sauce. Let the tamarind sauce reduce on a low flame until it has thickened to a consistency almost like that of molasses. Now add the chilli-fenugreek powder and stir well to mix. Check for salt and add more if needed. Take off heat.
This sauce can be stored for weeks if kept in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
Heat the oil and add the mustard seeds.
When they crackle, add the curry leaves, cashew nuts and peanuts and fry until the peanuts turn lightly golden.
Add the peanuts, mustard and curry leaves to the rice along with the tamarind sauce. Mix thoroughly. Add more tamarind sauce if you need.
Bawarchi of the Week
A self-taught cook, Abraham Chacko says his mother is his inspiration: As a child, he would follow her around the kitchen as she prepared flavorful, lip-smacking dishes.