This recipe was given to me by a Hungarian acquaintance. She was very proud of this national dish of theirs and also sent photographs of people cooking the gulyás over an open fire in the garden. This preparation is quite different from other goulash found in cookery books and made by other nationals.
Sambar is a dhal and vegetable curry with gravy and its own specific spice mix. It is a staple in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, each state having its own variation of the spice mix. For instance, in Karnataka a small amount of jaggery (molasses) is added, and in Andhra Pradesh the sambar explodes with chillies. Tamil Nadu has a variety of sambars; this is my mother’s recipe to which I have added roasted coconut to enhance the flavour.
In Tamil Nadu we use the term ‘thokku’ to refer to chutneys fried in oil and made of either vegetables or fish. This particular recipe was given to me by my friend Jacintha whose family returned to India from Burma in the ’70s. Her mother, Mrs. Vimala Joseph, is a talented cook and this recipe is from her. I have standardised the quantities and the procedure from the rough sketch given by her daughter.
In Tamil Nadu we serve Ulundhu Vadai as an accompaniment to make a meal festive. On special occasions it is served with payasam (sweet dessert) or with ven pongal (a savoury rice dish) or idlis (steamed rice cakes). But even otherwise it makes a great all-time snack.