Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Vethakozhambu ( Spicy Tamarind Curry)

August 25th 2010

I am back after almost a two month hiatus. It sure feels that long or longer :) Life on the personal front has been quite challenging and this has taken a backseat for sometime now. Additionally my parents visited and needlessly to say I spent lesser time in the kitchen. Though I will say that the time I spend cooking and blogging here are not necessarily correlated.

Ok back to this post. Anyone who has tasted my husband's Vethakozhambu raves about it. As a result those who have not want to try it. Finally that seems to be the only dish he ends up making when he cooks!  Not that I complain because it does taste good. So this is his recipe that he was kind enough to share, not really is the truth :P 

This goes best with rice mixed with a podi (powder) -like paruppu podi (dhal powder), pundu paruppu podi (Garlic dhal powder) or with just plain cooked paruppu (thoor dhal). Savor with hot rice, a spoon of ghee and some papad/appalam or chips.

Difficulty level : Medium

Time: 10 min ( Prep Time), 20 min ( Cooking Time)

  • Tamarind concentrate or extract [ If extracting from pulp, start with a nice lemon size tamarind ball, if using concentrate using 3-4 tbsps]
  • Water
  • Rice flour - 1-2  tsp
  • Oil - 3-4 tbsps
  • mustard - 1 tbsp
  • jeera  (cumin seeds) - 1 tbsp
  • red chillies - 2-3 nos
  • Methi seeds - 2 tsps
  • Thoor dhal (uncooked) - 2 -3 tbsps
  • Use any combination or all of them* - ( Marathangalikkai, pieces of appalam (unfried), sundakkai, Lady's finger, small onions or shallots)
  • Onions - 1 no medium size
  • Tomato - 1/2 no medium size
  • Sambar powder- 1 tbsp
  • Kara Kozhambu or Curry powder - 1 tbsp
  • Salt - 1 1/2 tbsp or to taste
  • Curry leaves - 2 nos
Method de Preparation
  1. Extract tamarind juice or mix tamarind concentrate in water. Should not be too watery, and one should be able to taste the tamarind. Use approximately 1 1/2 to 2 cups of water for quantity mentioned above. Keep aside.
  2. Take  a vessel. Add oil, when heated add the mustard and allow to splutter.
  3. Add jeera, chilly, methi and thoor dhal- allow to brown slightly.
  4. Add the chopped onions at this stage.
  5. Once translucent and cooked well, add the other items ( Marathangalikkai and/or appalam).
  6. Cook for a couple of min, add the tomatoes.
  7. When done, pour the tamarind solution into this and allow to heat.
  8. When tamarind solution starts to boil, add the rice flour mixed in a spoon of water and the two powder- Sambar and Kara Kozhambu/Curry.
  9. Add the salt too and allow to blend well, thicken and boil some.
  10. When the right consistency is reached ( right here depends on personal taste, I would say soup like consistency) turn off heat and add curry leaves.
  11. Serve with rice and pappad.
Chef's Tip:  Don't be taken aback based on the # of ingredients or by the # of steps. This is a great dish and easy to make. The trick is in not adding too much or too little water and getting the right consistency. Try it a couple of times if you want to get a hang of it. And this does taste better the next day. 

Chef's Tip 2:  The way I like to eat it with yogurt rice. I am guilty as charged. Like all south indian iyers, I  too am slave to the thayir sadam! Add some mixture/boondi into this mix and it is my all time favorite combo.

Variations: Some people add a little bit of jaggery ( brown sugar) to this just 2-3 mins before turning off the heat. That gives that bitter-sweet combo.

* I don't know what the English name is for Maranthangalikkai and for Sundakkai. They are basically berries that have been dried in the sun (small and round) and come under the category of  vadaam. If using Lady's finger, don't use the dry vathals.


Gayathri said...

Its called manathakkali in Tamil. Googled it and found it's called Black nightshade. Here's the wiki:
My dad dropped a few dried vathal in my back yard and now manathakkalli grows like a weed all year.

Anonymous said...

Vathakozhamu in brahmin household uses only one vegetable which is normally a vathal (dried vegetable). If used with fresh vegetable it is called ventia kozhambu. Also cummin is not used. If onion and tomatoes (and sometimes garlic) are added, it is called kaara kozhambu.

Nandhini Prasad said...

Absolutely amazing recipe..... It is raining here in London and my cooking plan for the day is sorted with this recipe... Thank you Anu.

Priya said...

Fingerlicking kuzhambu...very tempting..

Anu Karthik said...

@ Gayathri : Thanks for the link. I am sure many will find it useful!
@ Anonymous: I only said it is our recipe, I never said it is THE recipe. Variety is in fact the spice of life and what would happen if we don't experiment. I will post my recipe for Kaara Kozhambu too soon :)
@ Nandhini: hope it came out well
@ Priya: Thanks girl.

Juby Philips said...

i tried it out the day you posted the came out so well......and it was very keep posting such easy and tasty south indian husband was full of praises for trying this out.....thanks Anu

Anu Karthik said...

@ Juby: Thank you very much for the feedback, I appreciate it! I am very glad you all enjoyed it!

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