This recipe is part of the Don't Call Me Chef series on the columnists' 2014 cooking resolutions.
1½ cups firmly packed curry leaves (stems removed)
1 tsp oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp asafoetida powder
2 tbsp black gram (urad) dhall, rinsed and drained
3-5 dried chillies, soaked to soften and drained
1 piece dried tamarind (assam gelugor)
Salt to taste
Wash the curry leaves and drain well to remove as much water as possible. Dab with a kitchen towel. In a dry frying pan over medium low heat, toss the curry leaves until they are dry and slightly crisp. Set aside.
Heat the oil in a frying pan over a low flame. Add mustard seeds and sauté until they start to sputter. Add the asafoetida and dhall. Fry until the dhall turns reddish brown, about two minutes.
Add the dried chillies (use to taste and tolerance to heat) and tamarind. Stir until chillies start to colour and become crisp, one to two minutes.
Add curry leaves and toss together, one minute.
Take mixture off the heat and grind to a powder in a mini blender or food processor (how fine is up to individual taste). Add salt to taste. Cool and store in an air-tight jar.