Who can say a ‘no’ to this spicy, tangy Chettinad Kara Kuzhambu or Vathal Kuzhambu?
With the medley of garlic, onions, vatral, the aromatic Kuzhambu proves to be a feast by itself and is also known as Poondu Vengaya Kuzhambu.The yummy gravy goes well with steamed rice, dosa, idly or with any main food.
This is for Sig, who hosts JFI-Tamarind for the month :).
Gingelly seed Oil-A tbsp
Garlic- peeled- ½ cup(slice length wise into halves if the pods are large)
Shallots/small onions-sliced into halves1/2 cup
Dhania powder/malli thool-1 tbsp
Turmeric powder-1/2 tsp
Kuzhambu milagai thool-I use Aachi brand to get that distinct Chettinad flavour- 1 tbsp
Tamarind- a small lime sized ball
Gingelly seed Oil-1 tbsp
Urad dal or Bengal gram dal-a tsp
Methi seeds-1/2 tsp
Dried Sundakkai or Manathakkali Vatral(optional)- A tbsp
Curry leaves-a sprig
1. Soak tamarind in half a cup of warm water and extract juice as thick as possible.Keep aside.Generally I use a little aged tamarind, blackish brown in colour.This enhances the taste of any Kuzhambu and gives that blackish brown colour too.
2. Heat oil in a thick bottomed deep vessel. Sauté garlic and onions till they turn golden brown, say for abt half a minute. Add tamarind extract followed by the 3 powders.(you can also use sambhar powder or just chilly powder instead of Kuzhambu milagai thool.)Mix well to avoid any lumps. Add salt. Bring this to a boil and reduce flame to simmer till it reduces to a semi-thick paste.Refer picture for consistency.If you prefer a little watery, take off from fire a little earlier, accordingly.
3. In a separate kadai, heat oil, season with mustard seeds, urad or bengal gram dal & Methi seeds. Sauté Vatral of your choice for 3-5 seconds and throw in curry leaves. Pour over to the Kuzhambu, bring to another boil, mix well and remove from fire.
Note- Keep the pan open till it cools down.(If the pan is closed the kuzhambu turns more watery by the evaporated water dripping in from the inside of the lid).This has a good shelf life and stays well for even a month if refrigerated. Dilute with warm water to make instant kuzhambu or mix with hot rice to make the Kuzhambu sadam, a yummy and simple pack away lunch.If you need to place this as a preserve, definitely add liberal amounts of oil while seasoning, as seen in the picture.