Mangalorean cuisine is a rich amalgamation of ingredients. Most often than not we eat calorie rich food although we don't realise it but there are these gems in our cuisine which are not very popular and those that aren't very rich and extravagant. I am sure that many of you are not familiar with this humble 'saar' that has just 3 ingredients besides water, salt & oil. It has got to be the most frugal of the lot as it has nothing much to add to its strength apart from the very strong flavour of tamarind balanced adequately by the spice from the red chillies and the onions.
The term 'saar' loosely means a kind of a broth or clear soup that is served along with rice. The popular 'saars' are usually lentil or tomato based and these were what I grew up eating but after I got married I was introduced to this type of a clear soup that was made at my in-laws' place and something that Roshan swore by.
The first time I tasted it I was amazed that something so simple could pack in so many flavours. It was part of the poor man's meal I was told. Those who could barely make their ends meet often prepared this saar to accompany their meals. It is easy to make and quick too. We have prepared this saar a number of times when we ran short of time to make something more elaborate or if you have just these few ingredients. Go ahead, try it and if you've never tasted it before let the 'saar' surprise your taste buds!
Prep time: 5 mins | Cook time: 5 mins | Serves 2
- 3 big onions thinly sliced
- 3-4 (or to taste) long dry red chillies (Byadge) *see notes
- 1 heaped tablespoon of tamarind paste or thick juice extracted from a small lime size ball of tamarind
- 1-1/2 - 2 cups of water
- 2-3 tbsp oil
- salt to taste
1. Heat oil in a pan/kadhai and fry the broken dry chillies for a few seconds on a low flame. Ensure not to burn them. Next, add the sliced onions and fry till they turn pale/translucent but not brown.
2. Now add the tamarind paste and the water and mix well. Bring the mixture to a boil and add salt to taste.
3. Serve hot with white or boiled rice.
Deseed the dry red chillies if you wish
The flavour should be predominantly tangy with sutle flavours of the chillies and the onions balanced well by the salt - so adjust this according to your taste.