Winter is shallot season in the UK and this recipe is a great way to use up any surplus from your organic vegetable box.  Shallots have a more subtle flavour than onions and when they are cooked they are almost sweet.  The tamarind paste* provides sour elements that are balanced by the garlic, ginger and red chilli.  We have been eating this dish with baked potatoes and large knobs of butter for a hearty winter meal.

That's shallot for now.**

* I have used tamarind paste in this recipe rather than dried tamarind as it is easier to find in supermarkets.  If you are using dried tamarind make the paste as follows:
Place 15 grams dried tamarind in a small bowl.  Add 50 millilitres of boiling water and leave to steep for 10 - 15 minutes.  Then, using a nylon sieve, strain the mixture into a bowl.  Use the back of a wooden spoon to push the pulp through the sieve.  Extract as much of the tamarind as possible, periodically removing the pulp from the back of the sieve into the mixing bowl.  The resulting paste can then be used in the recipe.

** Do you see what I did there? :-)
 
Wine suggestions from Kevin at halfwine.com
"The sweet, sour and spicy flavours call for an equally alive wine.  I love New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc with chilli and the 'over the top' Marlborough Sauvignons are the really lively tasting ones; a Kim Crawford will do well here."


Serves 2
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time:  15 minutes

Ingredients
  • 1 tablespoon light tasting vegetable oil
  • 0.5 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 0.5 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 15 fenugreek seeds
  • 10 curry leaves (fresh or dried)
  • 2 cloves garlic - crushed
  • 10 grams root ginger - peeled and grated
  • 1 red chilli - finely chopped
  • 15 shallots - peeled
  • 1.5 tablespoons tamarind paste
  • 375 millilitres boiling water
  • 0.5 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon coriander-cumin powder
  • 0.25 teaspoon salt
  • 7 grams jaggery or brown sugar
  • Small handful chopped coriander leaves
Method
  1. Heat the oil in a pan.
  2. Add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds and fry for a minute or two.
  3. Add the curry leaves, crushed garlic, ginger and red chilli and stir.
  4. Now add the shallots and let them fry on a low heat for 10 minutes stirring occasionally.  Take care not to let any of the ingredients burn.
  5. Meanwhile mix together in a bowl the tamarind paste, boiling water, chilli powder, coriander-cumin powder, salt and jaggery or sugar.
  6. When the shallots have fried for 10 minutes, add the tamarind mixture to the pan.  Mix well and bring to the boil.
  7. Place a lid on the pan and simmer for 15 minutes or until the shallots are tender but have not lost their shape.
  8. Add the coriander leaves for a final few minutes of cooking.
  9. Serve hot with flat bread, rice or jacket potatoes.


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