Mirchi ka Salan
This is another favourite of mine, a popular Hyderabadi dish made of curried large chilli peppers cooked in a nutty thick sauce. I normally use the same technique for the sauce as the one for my bagharay baingan recipe and serve this dish as a pickle or side dish for rice or biryani meals.
Combine the roasted spices and grind to a powder. Set this aside.
Wash and slit the chillies from the tip going up but not all the way through to the top. Leave the top stem attached. Heat 2 tbsp. of oil in a pan and fry the chillies for a few minutes, then drain and set them aside on paper towels to blot out any excess oil.
Now we can begin to make the rich gravy.
In the same pan that you used for the chillies, heat 2 tbsp. of oil. Fry the 2 sliced onions until golden brown. Remove and allow to cool slightly, then put the fried onions in a grinder. Add the bunch of coriander and the green chillies. Blend to a smooth paste. Then add the roasted powdered ingredients and blend again to combine. Set aside.
Again, heat a quarter cup of oil in the pan, add the cumin seeds and mustard seeds. When they start popping, add the chopped curry leaves, ginger/garlic pastes and the dried red chillies. Cook for a few seconds then add the blended onion/spices paste followed by the tomato paste (if you are using it) and stir well. Sprinkle some salt as well as the turmeric powder and the red chilli powder. Now allow this mixture to cook low and slow, stirring often to prevent the mixture from sticking. Add half a cup of water and keep cooking the mixture (you need to keep stirring regularly) until it thickens and oil begins to separate from the sides. This should take around 10 minutes. Then add the fried chillies carefully, along with the sugar, tamarind water and lemon juice. Give it a mix and then simmer on low heat for another 5-10 minutes. Remember to taste and adjust for salt.
Serve with biryani or plain rice as a side dish or pickle.