Empty Salna – What salna?? yes, you heard it empty salna is one term which is trending in the place of plain salna… Salna technically speaking is gravy made with meat but for the sake of vegetarians it saw many transformations like with added veggies in it… usually served as side for #parotta veg #biryani. There are many varieties and styles of making this but the original road side eateries never use expensive ingredients like cashews or poppy seeds but use something which gives the taste, consistency and texture to the gravy… that’s nothing but “Kadhala Paruppu” / Channa dal which is the secret ingredient in those bucket style unlimited free salna that is poured over piled up parottas and suda suda biryani served in vazhai elai! This is just a base gravy ( சேர்வா )recipe… you may add in vegetables to make it as veg salna or add in meat or bones to make non veg style salna or even plain boiled egg will do!
Ingredients (for grinding)
- Dry Red Chilli – 8
- Coriander seeds – 2 tablespoons
- Kadhala Paruppu / Channa dal – 1 tablespoons
- Black peppercorn – 1 teaspoon
- Cumin seeds – 1 teaspoon
- Fenugreek seeds – 1/8 teaspoon
- Fennel seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
- Cinnamon – 1/2 inch stick
- Cloves – 3
- Cardamom – 2
- Star anise – 2 petals
- Kalpasi – 2 petals
- Bay leaf – 1 inch piece of bay leaf (*read notes)
- Fresh coconut – 1/4 cup (grated)
Ingredients (for saute & grinding)
- Onion – 1 cup (chopped, small onions preferably)
- Tomato – 1/2 cup
- Green chili – 2
- Ginger – 1 inch piece
- Garlic – 5 cloves
- Oil – 2 tablespoons
Ingredients (for gravy)
- Oil – 1 tablespoon
- Curry leaves – 10 leaves
- Coriander leaves – 2 tablespoons (for garnish)
- Turmeric powder – 1/2 teaspoon
- Salt – 1 &1/2 teaspoon (kosher/ kallu uppu/ crystal salt)
- Water – 1 cup or (to adjust gravy consistency)
Lets see how to make this Empty Salna….
This is a 3 step process…
- Dry roast all the ingredients from table – 1 except fresh coconut. Roast them till they are golden brown. Once the spices and dal roast well… add in the fresh grated coconut at the last stage and toast for few seconds… just to dry them out. (Do not roast for long time it will brown and spoil the dish) Let this cool a bit.
- Meanwhile, in another pan… heat oil and saute onion, ginger, garlic and green chili table-2 for few minutes or until the onion becomes translucent. Add int he tomatoes and cook till they turn mushy. Once done… let it rest to cool a bit.
- Now take all the roasted spices, coconut and the sauteed onion mixture in a mixer jar and grind to a fine paste. (You may add water to run the mixer) Keep this aside. Now heat oil from table-3 and season with curry leaves and add this ground paste along with turmeric powder, salt and water. Bring this to a rolling boil… simmer until desired gravy consistency and switch off! Garnish with coriander leaves & finish!
Adjust gravy consistency according to your preference. Use more water to make a thin gravy for parotta or chapathi or poori, idli dosa…. and less water to make a thick gravy for biryani side.
- Serves – 3 to 4
- Bay leaf is very strong when ground… hence using only a small piece, do not use the entire leaf.
- For variation you may try copra thenga in the place of fresh coconut for a different style salna.
- This is just base recipe with no vegetables or meat… you may include if you want or even add boiled eggs to it.
Here are some non-veg Salna recipes to try…. CHICKEN SALNA SIDE GRAVY FOR BIRYANI