To get the right flavour of the chutney, the dry-roasting of the urad dal is crucial and must be done over a low flame till it turns a delicate shade of pink. High heat will burn the dal and impart an unsavoury burnt smell to the dish. For added flavour, an inch or 2 of ginger is sometimes added when the chutney is being ground.
Dhuli urad dal (split black gram) (2 cups)
Chana dal (split chickpeas) (2 tbsp)
Sabut dhania (coriander seeds) (2 tbsp)
Mustard seeds (rai), small reddish (4 tsp)
Imli (tamarind) pulp (2 cups)
Sabut lal mirch (dry red chillies) (18 to 20)
Methi dana (fenugreek seeds) (2 tbsp)
Jeera (cumin seeds) (2 tsp)
Oil (5 tbsp)
Dry-roast the urad dal in a kadhai over a low flame. Once it has turned pink, remove from kadhai and set aside to cool.
Heat oil in the kadhai and sauté the sabut lal mirch till they turn crisp. Drain the excess oil using a perforated ladle and transfer the mirch onto a plate.
In the remaining oil in the kadhai, toss the methi dana, dhania, rai, jeera and the chana dal and fry till the spices turn golden brown and start giving off a pleasing aroma. Turn off the flame and set the mixture aside to cool.
In a mixer-grinder, add the fried sabut lal mirch and the rest of the fried ingredients to make a smooth paste.
Next, add half of the roasted dal, salt and the tamarind pulp to the paste and grind again, this time to get a coarse mixture. You can add in some water if required.
Transfer the mixture to a bowl.
Heat oil in a kadhai and add 1 tsp chana dal and 2 tsp rai. Once the rai starts to splutter, pour it all over the dal mixture and cover the bowl to allow the flavours to seep through. Keep the cover on for at least 5 minutes.
Serve with piping hot rice, ghee and pappadams.