Soak the tamarind in water for half an hour and collect the extract without any tamarind pieces. Skin the shallots and chop them finely. In a pot, add one table spoon of oil. When the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and the curry leaves.
After they have spluttered, add some asafoetida powder, turmeric powder and the chopped onions.
Saute the onion till they are pink and transparent. Now add the tamarind extract and let boil.
In another pan, add one table spoon of oil. Roast the methi seeds and whole red chilles.
Take them off in a plate and in the same pan roast the coconut (you do not have to add any oil to the grated coconut since it already has some oil content).
Grind all the three to a fine paste in a mixer.
Now add this paste to the boiling tamarind pulp, add salt as per taste and let boil for some more time till you get the required consistency.
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A teacher and a blogger, Jaishree is an expert on authentic and traditional Indian cuisine.