Tuesday 20 May 2014

Vathal Kuzhambu (வத்தல் குழம்பு)

Traditionally, seasonal vegetables and berries are salted and Sun-dried during summer. These 'vattal' (வத்தல்) are used to make kuzhambu when fresh vegetables are not available. Moreover, Black night shade (மணத்தக்காளி) and Turkey berry (சுண்டக்காய்) vathal are used to treat indigestion in native medicine. 

Ingredients: (Serves four)
Tamarind – the size of a large gooseberry (காட்டு நெல்லிக்காய்)
Jaggery – half teaspoon
Salt – to taste
Cooking oil – 2 tablespoons
Sesame oil – 1 tablespoon
Sambar powder – 2 tablespoons
Vathal – 1-2 tablespoons (as desired) *
Mustard seeds – ½ teaspoon
Toor dhal – 1 teaspoon
Methi seeds – ½ teaspoon
Asafoetida – a pinch
Curry leaves – a few
Rice flour – 1 teaspoon, if required

Turkey berry (சுண்டக்காய்)
Black night shade (மணத்தக்காளி) vathal

   *Vathal is Sun dried salted vegetable or berry. 
Black night shade (மணத்தக்காளி) and /or Turkey berry (சுண்டக்காய்) vathal are often used to make vathal kuzhambu.

Method: Soak tamarind in warm water for 15-20 minutes. Later squeeze tamarind and extract the juice. Add sambar powder, salt, asfoetida and jaggery to the tamarind juice. Mix well and keep aside. 

Heat oil in a kadai, add the vathal pieces and saute till they turn darker in color. Add mustard seeds, and when they start to sputter, add toor dhal and methi seeds. Fry till the dhal turns golden brown. Now add tamarind juice mixture and bring it to boil. If the kuzhambu is watery, mix rice flour in little water and add the mixture to the boiling kuzhambu, stirring continuously. Allow the kuzhambu to boil for a minute and switch of the fire. Add sesame oil and garnish with curry leaves. Serve hot with rice, pachadi, and poriyal/ kootu/ appalam. Vathal kuzhambu and dhal rice (பருப்பு சாதம்) make an excellent combination. It goes equally well with curd rice!

Vathal Kuzhambu (வத்தல் குழம்பு)
Note: You can make vathal kuzhambu with vegetables like sambar onions, ladies finger or brinjal instead of using vathal. However, vathal can also be used along with vegetables. Peel sambar onions. Cut the vegetables in to 1" long pieces. After the mustard seeds start to sputter, add the cut vegetables and required salt. Cover and cook on low flame till vegetables are done. Then proceed with the recipe as given above. 

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