If you are already instructed in this basic skill by your mother, you can stop reading at this point.
Rule 1: Follow your nose
Half the time, you can find you are going wrong just by the smell. If the vapours from the bowl smell too much of Sambar podi, means it hasn't boiled well! If it smells nothing like Sambar, you have not added enough.
- Take your base veggies (usually onion/murungakkaai/okra/ brinjal) and chop them to moderate pieces. Imagine the bottom of Sambhar bowl at home and decide how much of vegetables do you need. Generally, four people, you need five ladys finger, one tomato and one onion) and fry it in two tea spoon of oil; Add “Kadugu and Ulutham paruppu” for seasoning). During the course of frying, if you feel that it kind of looks like burning add teensy amount of oil.
2. Take some puli water. One "goli" size puli will do or one and a half spoonful of puli paste which I assume you are using. (It is easier and cheaper. Get it in a shop)
3. Now, put your base “thaan” vegetables inside the puli water, add a cup of daal(make sure that Daal is not too watery! and can be adjudged as solid paruppu) ,a spoon and a half of Sambaar podi, and some salt.
4. Put it on mod flame, and sit back. Keep sniffing occasionally, if you think you have too tamarind/"sambar podi" a smell, add little water and a spoon of dal. More Dal you add, thicker it will be and less “rasamisque” it will be.
1. Throw three or four big potatoes in the microwave and steam it for 4 mins
You don't need to put water as it will take the water from the vegetable to steam it. After four mins, take it out. Ideally, the jacket will look loose, and if you can make a hole, you can easily remove the jacket.
2. If not, steam it for one more min and check if you can get the jacket out. If you are not able to do so, just cut and peel the jacket off.Poke the potatoes with a sharp object and make sure that they “feel” steamed. Don’t touch it with your hand at any point of time, lest you go around with a festering steam burn for a month, like yours truly
3. Now take two or three spoons of oil; let the oil boil and add kadugu inside. Now cut the boiled potatoes to small pieces and put in inside the oil pan. Stay away from pan while doing this, as the pan is bound to hiss and spit. Now add as much chilly powder as you want.
4. Add less initially, see the colour and keep adding till it becomes moderately red. Now, keep mixing the potatoes and chilly powder and some salt, very well. A patina of brown potatoes would be formed uniformly underneath. Just keep scrapping it and don't allow the layer to form, they won’t let the heat get to the potatoes above.
5. This patina, later will contribute to the yumminess of potato.If you think you need a bit of oil,to prevent more patina formation, add a spoon now and keep frying the potatoes.
6. Taste it. Do the frying until you think that the potato tastes good.
7. The above procedure can be adopted to ANY vegetable. In all other cases do not steam the vegetable. Start from step 5, continue till 7 and put it on low flame for good five mins.
Beginners are advised to check it every three minutes lest your fire alarm starts blaring the outcomeThe other vegetables’ status can be determined, also by sniffing. Just check if the green smell has been done away with before you turn off the stove.
Disclaimer: This has been experimented, perfected and has been released worldwide from my kitchen and is absolutely my style, as my mother refused to teach me to cook. Professionals please don't condemn any deviance from standard procedures.