Vatha kuzhambu or Vathal kuzhambu gets its name from the vathals or dried/preserved vegetables – Manathakkali, Chundakkai etc that are added to it. But the kuzhambu can also be made without the vathals too. The next best thing after the vathals would be to add china vengayam, which is my favourite. Other vegetables that can be added are drumstick and sometimes even pumpkin pieces.
My mother usually makes by grinding a fresh paste of some spices. I love her kuzhambu. Today I am sharing a simple method where there is no roasting or grinding just by adding Sambar powder. I will definitely share my mom’s recipe soon.
Vatha kuzhambu will be concentrated so adding a little bit to the rice will go a long way. We usually pair it up with paruppu thogayal.
Serves – 2 to 3
What you’ll need
- Pearl Onions/Shallots – about 20
- Tamarind – a gooseberry sized ball
- Sambar Powder – 1.5 - 2 tbsp (adjust according to your spice level)
- Jaggery – ½ tsp (optional)
- Salt to taste
- Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp
- Sesame Oil – 2 tbsp
- Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
- Bengal Gram Dal/Channa Dal/Kadala Paruppu – 1 tsp
- Fenugreek Seeds/ Vendayam – ¼ tsp
- Curry Leaves – few
- Peel and wash the shallots.
- Soak the tamarind in hot water for 10 minutes and extract the pulp by adding 2.5 to 3 cups of water.
- Heat a kadai with oil, splutter mustard seeds.
- Throw in the Channa dal and fenugreek seeds and fry till the dal turn golden.
- Add the curry leaves and the shallots and sauté till the shallots turn light brown.
- Next add the Sambar Powder and sauté for few seconds.
- Now add the tamarind extract, turmeric powder and salt to taste and jaggery.
- Allow this to come to a boil, lower heat to medium and boil for 15 to 20 minutes or till the oil floats up and the kuzhambu becomes slightly thick.
Remove from heat and serve with plain rice and paruppu thogayal with some applams.