Chettinad Mandi or sort of like a spicy vegetables stew is a popular vegetarian dish in South India. My mother used to make this dish whenever mutton varuval or dry fried mutton is made at the weekends. It's a spicy and tangy concoction which can be prepared by using lady finger, potato, carrot, drumstick vegetable and dried legume called 'Mochakottai' in Tamil. The gravy is thicken by adding 'Arisi Mandi' or 'Washed rice water'. This rice water is rich in vitamin B and it thickens naturally, unlike the rice or cornflour which leaves flour taste. I didn't use that legume this time in my recipe. If you prefer to use that type of legume, then you have to soak it for 5 hours and later pressure cook it in advance. The legume is also called as 'Egyptian bean'. These beans can be brown, reddish-brown, or cream colored, and they're easily identified by a white seed scar which runs along one edge. They have a pleasant nutty flavor. Even without the legumes this dish will still be the star on your dining table.
Small onions : 15 (slitted half)
Garlic : 15 cloves
Chopped lady fingers : 1 1/2 to 2 cups
Small green chillies : 7
Potato : 1
Drumsticks : 2
Curry leaves : 2 sprig
Tamarind : size of a small lime
Coriander powder : 2 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder : 1/4 tsp
Washed rice water : 2 cups
Salt : as needed
Oil : 3 tbsp
To Temper :
Mustard : 1 tsp
Fenugreek : 1/2 tsp
Dry red chillies : 5
Asofetida : 1/4 tsp
1. In a pan, add 2tbsp of oil and start frying the chopped lady fingers for 10 minutes till the sticky substance removed from it. Then keep aside.
2. Roughly dice the potatoes and boil it. Keep aside as well.
3. The drumsticks should be cut to 3 inches long and boiled to perfection.
4. When you wash the rice, do not throw away the water. Use that water in this dish. We need 2 cups of it.
5. Soak tamarind in 1 cup of water and squeeze the extract.
6. In a pan, add 1 tbsp of oil and start tempering the ingredients under 'To Temper' section. Make sure you allow the mustard seeds to sputter before adding the rest of the ingredients.
7. Next, fry small onions, garlic pods, curry leaves and slitted green chillies till the onions are translucent.
8. After that, add coriander powder, turmeric powder, salt, 2 cups of 'Arisi Mandi' and 1 cup of tamarind extracted water. Water can be added if vegetables are not fully submerged but remember not to add too much of water.
9. Let it simmer for 5 minutes.
10. Lastly, add fried lady fingers, boiled potato and drumsticks and further cook for 10 to 15 minutes.
10. The consistency of the gravy should be slightly thick and not too watery.