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I believe that salt is to food, what food is to life. In right proportions, it can heighten the taste of what you eat..and in the wrong - destroy! Even the most delicious sweets come added with some salt...to taste!

As for me, I've never enjoyed cooking. And as contrary to my owning a food-blog as it may sound, I always think about daily, routine cooking as a chore. But my tryst with the pots and pans began when I got a kitchen all to myself...I began experimenting and exploring new worlds in my own home. Some outcomes were excellent and some plain disasters. Then sprouted the need to keep track of all those good ones...and hence this blog!

Here, I share those experiments that pleased more than one palate!

April 9, 2010

Maratha Style Ambat Kadan (Sour and Spicy Gravy)

Just a word of caution before you start reading this introduction to the recipe...I am going to delve into a little bit of history. Yes! So, if you are interested ONLY in the recipe I would suggest that you jump to it right now. But if you want to know a little more about how this dish came into existence, continue reading up.

India is well known for its variety of foods which is the outcome of the diverse regions with their varied terrains, food habits and customs. Some of them are very well known and very distinctly identified, but there are loads of them that are existing as overlapping layers between two states or regions. Marathas too, are one such group of people. Here, I share my two cents on Marathas.

We Marathas are a set of people who speak Marathi but do not reside in Maharashtra. This spread of Marathi speaking people, mostly into South India, happened under the reign of Chatrapati Shivaji Bhosle, who fought for the independence of Marathas from the Mughal Empire and then became the King of the Maratha Empire. We mostly comprise of Kshatriyas (Warriors) and Rajputs who share surnames that are very Maharastrian sounding ones. My surname for instance is Pawar. My maternal surname was Moray. And then we have Bhosle, Jhadav, Chauhan, Kadam, Rao, Mohite, Ghatge, Ghorpade to name a few.

All of these Marathas speak different accents of Marathi, which in most cases is a mix of the local regional language in which the Marathas reside. For instance, (as in my case) a Maratha in Karnataka would speak Marathi with Kannada intonations and words. So, when we Maratha's meet people we end up telling this whole story which can be extremely confusing for people who have one sturdy foundation/background from which they hail.

So, now why did I get into all this? Because the point that I wanted to drive here is that since there is so much of a mix up of cultures that happend over the generations, it is most evident that even our cuisines got fused. Here, what I term as Ambat Kadan is made on the similar lines of Bas Saaru which is a dish from Karnataka. You first make the side dish called Shepu Chi Bhaji using this recipe and then proceed to making the gravy and finally devour the entire thing with steaming hot white rice. How yum is that?

Phew, that was one exhaustive intro!

1/2 Cup Coconut - Flakes/Grated (I have used frozen coconut flakes)
3/4 Medium Tomato, Cubed
1/2 Medium Onion, Diced
1 tbsp Tamarind Pulp
1.5 tsp Sambar Powder (I use what we make at home. You can use store bought powder, too)
4-5 Garlic pods, slit
1 tsp Jeera (Cumin seeds)
Water left from making Shepu Chi Bhaji
1 tbsp Oil
1/2 tsp Mustard Seeds
3-4 Curry Leaves
And, of course, some salt to taste!

- Dry roast the jeera, garlic, onions and coconut until fragrant
- Once cool, toss the roasted ingredients into the mixer/blender
- Add the tomatoes, tamarind pulp and sambar powder and grind to a smooth paste (masala) and set aside
- Now heat oil in a saucepan
- Once hot, add mustard seeds and allow to splutter
- Add curry leaves and stir about 30 seconds
- Lower the flame, pour the ground masala and stir
- Now add salt and pour the water that was left from making the shepu bhaji
- Allow to boil for about 2 minutes or until the raw masala smell goes away
- Add more water if you think the gravy is still too thick. It should be of sambar like consistency and not too thick or too watery
- Slightly cover and simmer for another 1 minute
- Serve hot with white rice and shepu bhaji



  1. Yummmmmmmmmmmmmm...I want :)

  2. Hey, that sure was some interesting info on Marathas! And the bhaji and gravy look so very yumm.. I love this kind of food anytime..

  3. Wow this dish sounds truly delicious, thanks for sharing..

  4. Aaaah.... I am tempted. I have tasted ambats which Konkanis make and it's damn good! Love it :) Hey Deepti, I am put up in Whitefield in Bangalore... :)

  5. I had nvr heard of these dishes before , both surely look
    yummy !!! Loved the informativ text also :)

  6. Thank you everyone! Do try it out sometime and keep me posted as to how you enjoy this dish!

  7. such a yummylicious platter...new dishes for me

  8. Do try preparing this, Gulmohar! I;m sure you will make it again and again!

  9. Hey Deepti... was stumbling over the net n got a glimpse of ur site. nice job here... great effort and yummy recipes toooooo

    Chk this out... still working but creeping worser than at snails pace

  10. Thank you Nims for your kind words. Yes, I too had started blogging out here at snails pace...but, with time it gets pretty addictive and you floor the gas!

    I hopped on to your space. Nice stuff, too! Will stay connected! TC!