Friday, July 26, 2013

Vatha Kuzhambu

                             Vathakuzhambu is a popular gravy for rice in the southern districts of Tamil Nadu.It is also called as Puzhi Kuzhambu and its unique quality is that it could be preserved even for a week in those days when refrigerators were not widely used.Sambar,I feel has its own taste even with slight variations and mostly turns out to be good for every one. But this Vathakuzhambu can be a real Vathakuzhambu only if the right ingredients are used in the right proportion.
                     We always use different powders for Sambar and Vathakuzhambu, both homemade.Initially it was a surprise for me to read or watch the Sambar Powder being used in the recipes for Vathakuzhambu.Now it has become a matter of acceptance.
                   In earlier days as the name suggests, only dried vegetables like sundavthal, Vendaikkai, Kathari, Kothanvarakkai ,Manathakkali or Paharkkai vathals were used for this
gravy.Of late we started using fresh Drumsticks, Vendaikkai, Kathrikkai,Paharkkai etc.
Vatha Kuzhambu

Ingredients :

Sundavathal            1/4 cup
Garlic Pods              15
Small onions            15
Sambar or Vathakuzhambu Powder   3 tsp.
Tamarind                 1 lemon size
Gingelly Oil               2 tbsp.

To grind :

Small onions       10
Curry leaves        Little

To temper   : 

Mustard,  Urad dhal,  Curry leaves

Method  :

1. Soak the tamarind in warm water and take nearly 3 cups of tamarind extract.

2. Grind the small onions with the curry leaves in the mixi.This is a purely optional step.

3. Heat 1 tbsp. of oil, add the Sundavathal, Garlic, small onions, and saute well till they
    change colour and get half cooked in the oil.
4. Add the sambar powder, onion paste, salt and turmeric powder and stir for 2 to 3 mins.

5. Add the tamarind extract and mix well.Let the gravy boil on a medium or simmering
6. When a thick consistency of the Kuzhambu is reached, season with mustard, urad dhal
    curry leaves in 1 tbsp. of Gingelly oil which gives a rich aroma and taste.

Note  :

1. Gingelly Oil is the real taste maker of this gravy and that has to be used generously.

2. Tamarind and the oil are the natural preservatives. As dhal and coconut are not used,
    this can be stored for a few days even without the fridge.
3. Onion and Garlic can be totally avoided.

4. We always prepare this Vathakuzhambu Masala powder for nearly six months by
    roasting all the ingredients and grinding them to a fine powder in the flour mill.
    The measurements will be given in a separate post.


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