Saturday, October 25, 2008

Kara Kuzhambu

I was feeling quite bored with the usual cooking of mine - consisting of the same old sambhar or Vathal Kuzhambu or the tomato rasam. So, I decided to try a slightly different one - Kara kuzhambu. This would be a very very common dish in many households. But this is quite unusual in our households as we don't usually add tomatoes, garlic etc in our sambhar-like dishes. I thought it came out quite well. So, here's the recipe that I followed:

The quantities specified here will be sufficient for around 3-4 people.

For masala
Channa Dal (Kadalai Paruppu) - 2 tsp
Corriander seeds (Kothamalli verai) - 3 tsp
Fenugreek (Vendhayam) - 1 tsp
Red Chillies - 8
Chopped Onion (medium size) - 1/2
Chopped tomato (medium size) - 1
Garlic - 7 pods ( i used 2 tsp of ginger garlic paste)
Cumin seeds (jeeragam) - 1 tsp
Saunf (Sombu) - 1 tsp
Grated coconut - 1 handful (app)

Other ingredients
Tamarind paste - 1 tsp (I guess, this is equivalent to a tamarind piece that is slightly smaller than a lime)
Chopped Onion (medium size) - 1/2
Any chopped vegetable like Drumsticks, Brinjal, Capsicum etc - 1/2 cup
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida (Perungayam) - a small pinch
Salt - as per taste (I used slightly 3/4 tsp)
Cooking oil - 3-4 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - few leaves for taste

  1. Pour around 2 tsp of oil in a frying pan and fry the Channa Dal, corriander seeds, fenugreek, Cumin seeds, Saunf and red chillies till they are red.
  2. Add the chopped onion (1/2) and the garlic pods to this and let it saute for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes to this and cook till it is slightly soft.
  4. Grind this mixture along with the grated coconut and make it into a fine paste.
  5. Now, pour 2 tsp of cooking oil in a vessel and add a tsp of Channa Dal to it. When it starts becoming red, add the mustard seeds, asafoetida powder and the curry leaves to it.
  6. As the mixture starts spluttering, add the remaining chopped onions and saute it till the onion becomes translucent.
  7. Now any other vegetables that you have chopped. After a couple of minutes, add 1 cup of water with the tamarind dissolved in it.
  8. Add the turmeric powder and salt and allow the mixture to boil until the smell of raw turmeric and tamarind are suppressed.
  9. Now add the masala paste to the boiling mixture. Add some water if it becomes too thick. Let the mixture boil for some time till you get cooked aroma of the kuzhambu.
That's it. The kuzhambu is ready to served. :)

Quick points:
  1. Instead of frying and grinding Channa Dal, corriander seeds, fenugreek and red chillies, you can just use Sambhar powder.
  2. If you cannot grind anything, then chop the tomatoes and garlic as finely as possible, saute them and add to the kuzhambu. Then add the grated coconut and sambhar powder. Once the tomato is cooked well, it will make the sambhar nice and thick and give a ground paste effect.
  3. Things like saunf, cumin, Curry leaves, turmeric, asafoetida etc. add flavour to the kuzhambu. They can be skipped if you don't have them.
  4. Garlic is also strictly optional. If you do not like garlic, you can just leave it out of the picture.
People reading this - If you know any simpler or better or more creative ways to cook this dish, please let me know.


Prasanna said...

wonderful recipe :-)