Monday, 8 September 2014

Kara Kuzhambu (காரக் குழம்பு)


Kara kuzhambu (காரக் குழம்பு) is not a typical Brahmin preparation. However, owing to its popularity at home, I learnt this recipe from my erstwhile domestic help and it works well for me. Hot rice mixed with kara kuzhambu when eaten with pappad tastes fantastic. You can make this kuzhambu with vegetables alone or with vegetables and vathal.

Ingredients: (Serves four)
Tamarind – the size of a large gooseberry (காட்டு நெல்லிக்காய்)
Jaggery – half teaspoon
Sambar onions (Shallots) – peeled, a handful (சாம்பார் வெங்காயம்)
Garlic – peeled, 5-6 pods
Tomato – 1 no, chopped
Salt – to taste
Cooking oil – 2 tablespoons
Sesame oil – 1 tablespoon
Sambar powder – 1½ tablespoons
Red chilli powder – ½ teaspoon
Vegetables – cut into 1-2” long pieces*
Vathal – 1 tablespoon (optional)*
Mustard seeds – 1 teaspoon
Methi seeds – ½ teaspoon
Pepper corns – 6-8no
Curry leaves – a few

To be ground into a paste:
Bengal gram dhal – 1½ teaspoons
Black gram dhal – 1 teaspoon
Coconut – grated, 1 tablespoon

*You can use vegetables like ladies finger, drum stick or brinjal/ egg plant.
*Vathal is Sun dried salted vegetable or berry. Black night shade (மணத்தக்காளி) and/or Turkey berry (சுண்டக்காய்) may be used.
Kara Kuzhambu (காரக் குழம்பு) made with drumstick
Method: Soak tamarind in warm water for 15-20 minutes. Later squeeze tamarind and extract the juice. Add sambar powder, red chilli powder, salt and jaggery to the tamarind juice. Mix well and keep aside. 

Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a kadai, add black gram dhal and Bengal gram dhal, and fry till the dhals turn golden brown. Switch off the stove. Grind the fried dhals with coconut into a fine paste. Keep aside.

Heat the remaining oil in the kadai, add the vathal pieces and saute till they turn darker in color. Add mustard seeds, and when they start to sputter, add methi seeds and pepper corns. Fry for a few seconds. Add garlic and fry till they start to turn brown. Now add sambar onions and fry till they become transparent. Add tomato pieces, cut vegetables, required salt, and little water. Cover and cook on low flame till the vegetables are done. Now add tamarind juice mixture and bring it to boil. Reduce the flame and simmer for 3 minutes. Dilute the ground paste with little water and add to the boiling kuzhambu, stirring continuously. Allow the kuzhambu to boil for 2 minutes and switch of the fire. Add sesame oil and garnish with curry leaves. 

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