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Shallots with Coconut and Tamarind


  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • ½ cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • 12 oz Shallots (10-12 depending on size)
  • 1 ½ tsp salt (start w ¾, see notes)
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 ½ tbsp tamarind paste
  • ½ tsp nigella seeds (kalonji)
  • 1 sprig cury leaves
  • 3-4 dried red chillies
  • oil for cooking
  • optional garnish: minced cilantro, sliced mild chillies


  1. Peel and halve the shallots.

  2. Toast the coconut and coriander seeds on medium high heat in dry saucepan, the coconut will get beautifully golden, 2-3 minutes. Stir to avoid burning 

  3. Blend the first three ingredients to a paste using a little water. Set aside.

  4. Put a lug of cooking oil in a 10 inch saucepan and heat.

  5. Now in with the shallots, cook for 3-4 minutes on medium high heat until browned on the outside and slightly softened

  6. Add salt (start w ¾ tsp), ¼ cup water (may need more if it starts to burn), and turmeric.  Cook for another 5 minutes.

  7. Now pour in your coconut paste and 1 tbsp of the tamarind pulp. Mix well and adjust seasoning by adding more salt or another ½ tbsp of tamarind pulp.

  8. Transfer the shallots to the serving dish.

  9. Heat a tbsp and a half of oil n a small saucepan and add the nigella seeds (kalonji), curry leaves, and dried red chilli. Fry for about 20 seconds then pour over the shallots. Toss gently.

Recipe Notes

Tamarind blocks or pastes sometimes already have salt in them so to be safe add only ¾ tsp salt in the first go and adjust at the end. Similarly with chilli powder I put in two teaspoons but even at one it will have lovely flavor