1 to 2green chilies (adjust to taste) (I deseed for low heat)
1sprig curry leaves
1small onion (thinly sliced, optional)
½teaspoonRed chilli powder (adjust to taste)
½teaspooncoriander powder (optional)
¾ to 1teaspoonsalt (adjust to taste)
How to make the recipe
Add horse gram to a large pot and pour lots of water. A lot of times I use my cooker for this. I rinse, soak and cook in the same cooker. Rinse them well rubbing with both your hands. Drain the water.
Repeat rinsing the same way at least 4 to 5 times. Pour 3 liters of fresh water and soak them overnight.
While you soak, cover the pot with a clean cotton cloth and not with a lid. This helps the air to circulate and won’t make the horse gram slimy later.
The next morning transfer the horse gram along with the water and pressure cook for 13 minutes in an Instant pot. If using the traditional cooker, cook for 2 whistles on a medium heat and then lower the heat. Continue to cook for 50 mins.
When the pressure releases, open the lid and check if the lentils are well cooked. They should be soft. Strain the lentils using a strainer and separate the stock and the lentils.
While the lentils cook, bring half cup to a boil and add 50 grams tamarind. If using tamarind with seeds you will need more. Set this aside. When it cools. Squeeze the pulp well.
Heat a pan with oil and add mustard, cumin and dried chilli. When the spices splutter, add green chili, curry leaves and cloves. Saute for 2 mins until aromatic.
Add onions and saute until transparent. The onions should lose the raw flavor.
Pour the strained lentil stock. Add turmeric, coriander powder and red chilli powder. Mix and boil until it reduces to half. This takes about 20 mins.
Then add the thick tamarind paste/ pulp as required and mix well. Add salt and mix well.
Let simmer until thick. The total time takes about 1 hour for me to reach the right consistency. This may vary depending on your stove and pot used.
Taste test and adjust salt and tamarind as required during the simmering.
Turn off when the ulavacharu is thick yet of flowing and pouring consistency. It will thicken further upon cooling.
Serve ulavacharu hot topped with butter or cream. Goes well with only plain steamed rice. The lentils are usually fed to the cattle. It also makes a good compost. The lentils can also be tempered and served as a side.