Alsande Tonak from Goa
As I mentioned in my last post, I met some of my blogging friends when I was in India this past February. Archana’s gave us a packet of Tonak masala. She also prepared alsande tonak during our meet in Chennai and unfortunately I missed the cooking session as I had to get back to Hyderabad a day early to attend one of my niece’s wedding. Along with tonak masala she also gave us a printout of the recipe. Last month I followed her recipe and made alsande tonak. Since I already had the masala, preparation was a breeze.
Ok, ok, I have been talking a lot about tonak and some of you might not even know what I am taking about. In fact, even I was unaware of tonak until recently. Tonak is a popular Goan curry common in many Goan homes. It is served with pao, a crusty bun similar to pav.
It is prepared for breakfast, lunch and even for dinner. From what I have read online, it is a common preparation at weddings and celebrations. Tonak is prepared with alsande ~ black eyed peas or cowpeas and with mushrooms. I have also come across tonak recipes with other vegetables as well. I made with alsande. Since I usually have a pack of frozen black eyed peas in the freezer, I used those. If using dry black eyed peas, it needs to be soaked overnight and cooked until tender before making the curry.
- 10 Cloves
- 1” Cinnamon
- 3 tbsp. Coriander Seeds
- 4-6 Black Pepper Corns
- 12 – 13 Dry Chilies
- ½ tsp. Fennel Seeds
- Pinch of Nutmeg
- 2 Anise Petals
- Oil to fry the spices
- Roast all the spices in little bit of oil. When cool, grind to fine paste.
- ½ lb. or 1 ½ – 1 ¾ cup Black Eyed Peas (I used frozen black eyed peas)
- 1 small Onion chopped or ½ cup chopped Onion
- 1 small – medium sized Tomato, chopped or ½ cup chopped Tomato
- ¼ tsp. Salt
- 2 cups Water
- 1 tbsp. Oil
- 1 small Onion chopped
- 2 – 3 Garlic Cloves
- ¾ cup frozen Coconut (check note)
- 1 tbsp. + ½ tsp. Tonak Masala
- 1 – 1 ¼ tsp. Salt (adjust to taste)
- 1 tsp. Chili Powder (adjust to taste)
- Cook black eyed peas with chopped onion, tomatoes and 1/4 tsp. salt. This will take about 15-20 minutes.
- While the black eyed peas are cooking, in a pan heat 1 ½ oil and roast together garlic & onion until onion is translucent.
- Add coconut and continue roasting until coconut turns light brown.
- Cool the mixture and grind to fine paste. Add some water if required.
- Heat remaining oil in the pan and add the paste to pan. Roast the masala paste for few minutes, add turmeric and give it a good stir.
- Add the paste, tonak masala, chili powder, salt to cooked black eyed peas and bring it to a boil.
- If the gravy is too thick, add some water, cook until the spices blend in. Once the desired consistency is reached and the curry is cooked, turn off the heat.
- Serve hot with pao. I served it with roti and I think it would go well even with rice.
- I used ¾ cup frozen shredded coconut and I think when thawed this would be about ½ cup.