Onion curry that’s spicy and flavourful

Although it is usually known as onion curry, fenugreek seed is the dominant spice in this dish.

THIS is one of the most important times of the year for many Indian families when the Tamils celebrate their New Year and the Sikhs mark Vaisakhi.

They would be cooking more than a dozen vegetarian dishes for the holidays, including this recipe, known as vendhaya kulambu in Tamil.

It contains a lot of sweet shallots, which is why it is known as onion curry.

However, this is a misnomer because vendhaya actually refers to fenugreek, the most dominant spice in this kulambu, or curry gravy.

It is a must-have for the main meals served during this festive season, not only because it is easy to prepare, but it also goes well with rice and flat breads.

This curry is cooked down until it is sometimes known as onion chutney.

It is one of my favourite gravies to go with thosai when I order breakfast at Indian eateries.

And because it is reduced almost into a thick paste, it keeps well in the refrigerator.

In fact, its flavour develops further after a few days and it is great as a dip with cream crackers or poppadum.


(Onion curry)

Ingredients3 tbsp olive oil

2 tsp fenugreek seeds

1 tsp mustard seeds

¼ tsp fennel seeds

¼ tsp cumin seeds

1 pod star anise

5 sprigs curry leaves

1 knob ginger, julienned

400g shallots, sliced

2 cloves garlic, sliced

6 tbsp chilli powder + ½ cup water

50g tamarind pulp + ½ cup water

1 cup coconut milk

salt to taste

MethodHeat olive oil in the wok, add fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds, fennel, cumin, star anise and curry leaves to temper until they sputter.

Add sliced ginger, shallots and garlic to saute until lightly browned.

Add chilli slurry, tamarind juice and coconut milk and bring to a boil. Then simmer over medium heat until reduced to half for about 30 minutes, stirring constantly to keep from burning.

Turn off the heat, cover with a lid and allow to steam for 10 minutes before serving.

Best eaten with thosai, roti canai or rice, or served as a dip for crackers.

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