Spicy Shallt Soup

This aromatic, brownish broth crowded with bits of sautéed shallot and green chilies is a monsoon season curry, traditionally served with rice. Accompanied by deep-fried pappadams or any type of flat bread, it makes a delicious warm winter soup—a south Indian version of onion soup.
4 tablespoons vegetable, corn, or canola oil
2 cups finely chopped shallots or onions
6 serrano or Thai green chilies, thinly sliced (or less for a milder taste)
½ teaspoon turmeric
Salt to taste
1tablespoon tamarind paste
For seasoning and garnish:
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
A few curry leaves
1 dry hot red chili pepper, halved

Heat three tablespoons of the oil in a skillet. Add the shallots and green chilies and sauté over medium heat for 6 to 8 minutes, until the shallots start turning light brown. Add turmeric and salt and stir well. While the shallots are browning, dissolve the tamarind paste in 3 cups of water. Add tamarind liquid to the fried ingredients and cook for 10 minutes over medium heat. Remove the pan from the stove and set it aside. Heat the remaining oil and add the mustard seeds. When they start spluttering, add the curry leaves and dry red chili pepper. Pour this over the cooked curry and serve hot, with rice or as soup.

AMMINI RAMACHANDRAN