Garlic Cloves cooked soft in tangy and spicy sauce, that would be the easy and the apt description of the curry!..:)
Poondu Kara-kuzhambu is said to be South Indian in Origin, a famous dish in Karaikudi, a village that belongs to the Chettinad region in Tamil Nadu. I’ve seen the kuzhambu being served when one recovers from fever or as a supplementary diet for lactating mothers. The garlic, fenugreek, dhania, pepper and curry leaves, rich in medicinal values facilitate easy digestion and lactation.
The dish is popularly known as Veluthulli Theiyal in God’s own country.
My Amma’s version of the is somewhere between Kerala and Tamil in Cuisine.(my MIL prepares the Tamil way with added channa and urad dal while roasting, which I’ll post later.These are avoided in my mom’s recipe, that follows).
We used Otrai poondu, (Single clove or Pearl garlic) from the farms of Kumbhum, Tamil Nadu which gave the best results.You can substitute with large variety cloves of Garlic.
Otrai poondu or large cloves of garlic- One cup, heaped
Tamarind-a lime sized ball
To roast and grind to a very smooth paste
Gingelly seed oil-a tsp
Coriander seeds /Kothamalli/Malli/Dhania- or powder4 tbsps (heap the spoon if you use seeds)
Fenugreek seeds/uluva-1/4 tsp
Black Pepper corns-a heaped tsp
Cumin seeds-1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder-1/2 tsp
Curry leaves-a sprig
To SeasonGingelly seed oil-1/4 cup
Mustard seeds-1/4 tsp
Asafoetida-less than 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves-a sprig
Method:1. Soak tamarind in warm water.Extract pulp.
2. Heat a tsp of oil as mentioned in the “roast and grind” list in a heavy bottomed kadai. Roast the fenugreek and next the coriander seeds, followed by the red chillies in medium flame stirring all the time till the colour changes and the aroma spreads out. (Usage of coriander powder is the easiest way and if you use this make sure not to burn it, and roast along with the chillies stirring all the time until the colour of the powder turns deeper and the aroma spreads out).
3. Turn off the flame.
4. Throw in rest of the ingredients ; the pepper corn, cumin seeds, turmeric powder,
shallots, garlic and curry leaves in order, stirring the mixture heating them all up.The heat of the kadai is enough for this step.
5. Cool and grind to the smoothest paste with just enough water.(Coriander powder grinds well rather than the seeds and hence suggested).
6. In a thick bottomed vessel, we used the traditional Kalchatti, combine the above paste with the tamarind extract.Add salt. Let the curry be watery at this stage. In the meanwhile, season the simmering kuzhambu by heating the ¼ cup of gingelly oil in the earlier kadai, used for roasting, splutter the mustard seeds, add asafoetida and sauté the garlic cloves till golden brown, throw in the curry leaves and add to the curry.
7. Boil and simmer the kuzhambu well, closed with a lid. Make sure that the garlic pods are cooked until 75% while sautéing/seasoning. The remaining will be cooked in the simmering curry. Also bear in bind that the garlic pods cooks well only in a watery curry in the first stage and will remain uncooked in a thicker tamarind based curry while simmering.
8.Simmer until you get the real flavour of the Poondu Kuzhambu spreading all around the kitchen and the oil separates and attains a smooth and a creamy consistency which coats the back of a spoon.
9. Serves best with boiled rice and pappad.(I love idly or dosa bits dunked in this yummy curry :)).