1 tablespoon olive oil
1 - 2 large onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
2-3 teaspoons cumin seeds
2 tablespoons grainy mustard (prepared)
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar (or 1/4 cup each balsamic vinegar and lemon juice)
1 big can (24 ounces) crushed tomatoes (or diced is fine, amount is flexible)
1 teaspoon garam masala powder (if you wish)
2 tablespoons minced or grated ginger
2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup sweetener of choice (I like molasses)
finely minced fresh cilantro to taste (optional)
dash of smoke flavor or dark (toasted) sesame oil (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
pureed canned chipotle peppers in adobo, to taste (not optional!)
Lots of ingredients, but this is easy.
Saute onions with oil in a saucepan until they are soft and golden. I like them to get rather dark golden, but you don't want to burn them. Add garlic and cumin and saute till the garlic loses its pungent edge.
Run open a window, even if you don't mind the onion aroma, because the vinegar and mustard will knock you silly otherwise. :)
Add mustard, vinegar, and ginger and stir till incorporated. Then add tomatoes. You can add the sweetener at this point if you like, but I often withhold it till later to reduce the chance this will burn.
Simmer sauce until it thickens slightly (20 minutes or so), stirring occasionally. Add your sweetener now if you hadn't done so before. Add chipotle puree, sesame oil or liquid smoke (if liked), and garam masala (if liked).
Simmer till spices are incorporated and taste for seasoning. Adjust with salt and pepper. Don't go crazy with the salt-- this is more delicate than the bottled stuff. Add cilantro if you wish.
Puree if desired-- I like mine chunky and non-pureed.
You can serve a big dollop of this on anything you like: it's great to simmer seitan or fried tofu in, but it's equally at home scooped onto grains or green beans.