Over the course of my 5 years of blogging, I have met many wonderful friends along the way. It is always nice to talk to someone who shares the same interests and passion. Recently I was talking about some homemade powders and remedies to a friend who is also a popular food blogger and a sweet person. She surprised me by sending a package with a sweet handwritten note the very next week. Just happy and thankful for friends like these :) She also sent me some neem flowers in the package. Since then I have been trying out dishes with neem flowers every week. This is one such dish. Apart from the medicinal values of neem flowers, the flavor of this particular kuzhambu is great and satisfying.
Ingredients (Yields about a cup of thick gravy):
1. Small onions, 2 cup (peeled and cut into half).
2. Garlic, 4-5 cloves. If the cloves are big, slice them thinly.
3. Tamarind, a small lime ball size.
4. Chili powder, 1 teaspoon.
5. Coriander powder, 2 teaspoons.
6. Sambar powder or kuhzambu thool, 1 teaspoon. (optional).
7. Salt, as per taste.
8. Turmeric powder, a pinch.
9. Hing, a pinch.
10 Dry Neem flowers, 1/2 teaspoon.
11. Mustard seeds, 1/4 teaspoon.
12. Cumin seeds, 1/4 teaspoon.
13. Curry leaves, a handful.
Roast the neem flowers for a couple of seconds under low flame and crush them. Extract thick juice from the tamarind and keep aside. Heat a pan with a tablespoon of oil. Once the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and let it splutter. Add the cumin seeds and fry for a few seconds. Now add the small onions and saute for a few minutes until they turn brown. Then add the garlic and curry leaves and saute for a few more seconds. Add the chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, sambar powder, hing, and salt and mix everything well and fry them for a 2-3 minutes until the spices lose their raw smell. Some more oil can be added at this stage. Now add 3 cups of water along with the tamarind juice and the gravy boil for 10 minutes until it starts to thicken. After switching off the stove, add the neem flowers and mix everything once. This can be served with rice, idlis, dosas, or chapathis.