Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Deviled Onion Sambal- Sri Lankan (Spicy)

It's no secret that I love spicy food.  I have been eating spicy food since I could barely walk and this is a very spicy onion dish that I adore.   All I need is bread, butter and this onion sambal and I'm a happy girl. I have actually passed my love for this dish to my daughter and she and I will sit together and eat it for breakfast or as a snack.  This dish is so versatile it can be eaten with rice, roti, bread and even on crackers.   Although this dish is spicy, the spiciness is balanced by some sweetness.   It may have you grabbing for a glass of water, but you'll be going back for seconds once your mouth realizes it's got your taste-buds dancing.  This is my mother's simplified version of a traditional onion sambal (seeni sambal) that we eat in Sri Lanka. Since I love it so much,  I asked my mother to make it for me in bulk so you may see more ingredients in the pictures than  you will require.  I suggest you start with two onions and get comfortable making it.  It will take your idea of what onions can do to a dish to a whole new level.

2 medium onion finely sliced or chopped well
1-2Tbs of canola oil
5-6 curry leaves
1 (1 inch piece) cinnamon stick
3 black cloves
3 green cardamom pods
1-2Tbs of red chili powder (to taste)
1-2 tsp of sugar
salt to taste

Note:  You need your onions finely chopped or sliced. My mother does it by hand., but you can use a madoline slicer if you need help with this like I do.   She does not recommend you use a food processor to slice or chop because too much of the onion juice comes out and it becomes watery.

Note2: As in all recipes pull out the cloves, cinnamon stick and cardamom pods before enjoying. :)

Heat your oil in a pan on medium high heat. Add your cinnamon stick, curry leaves, cardamoms and cloves in and allow them to become fragrant for 30-45 seconds.
Add your onions to the oil and start to fry them.  You really need a good balance of oil to onion here.  My mother advised me what I have been doing wrong all this time is that I am "cheap" with my oil and it "steams" the onions more than frying them.  You want the onions to fry not steam to get the right texture and taste.
Once the onions start to brown, add your chili powder, sugar and salt next.  Mix well and taste.  The salt and chili should be the main flavors with some sweetness from the sugar in the background. Once the flavors are reached your dish is done. Store in the fridge for 1 week.  Enjoy with rice, bread, roti, chapthi, naan, etc..

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