Vatha Kuzhambu is one of my favourites. This is a tangy sauce like preparation, that goes well with rice. It is usually made using dried vegetables or Vathal like Manathakkali, Chundakkai, Kothavarangai etc. But it tastes equally good when made with veggies like shallots, drumstick or even pumkin. My personal favourite is thisChinna Vengaya Vatha Kuzhambu.
As promised in my post, here is my mother's way of making vatha kuzhambu. The freshly ground spices lend an amazing aroma and flavour to it.
I have used Manathakkali vathal in today’s recipe, but feel free to substitute with any other vathal or vegetables like onions, drumstick etc.
Serves - 2 to 3
What you’ll need
- Tamarind – gooseberry sized ball
- Turmeric Powder – ¼ tsp
- Asafoetida/Perumgayam – a generous pinch
- Jaggery – 1 tsp
- For tempering
- Mustard Seeds – ½ tsp
- Manathakkali Vatthal – ¼ cup
- Gingely Oil/Nalla Ennai – 2 tbsp
- Curry Leaves – few
To Roast and Grind
- Channa Dal/Kadalai Paruppu – 2 tbsp
- Coriander Seeds/Dhaniya – 2 tbsp
- Fenugreek Seeds/ Vendayam – ½ tsp
- Cumin Seeds – ½ tsp
- Whole Black Pepper – ¼ tsp (adjust according to taste)
- Dried Red Chilly – 2 or 3 (adjust according to taste)
- Soak the tamarind in 1 cup of hot water for 10 minutes. Squeeze and take out the extract and make it about 2.5 cups by adding more water.
- Heat a small frying pan, with ½ tsp of oil, and fry all the ingredients mentioned under “to roast and grind”.
- Cool, and transfer to a small mixie jar. Powder it first and then add little water and grind to a smooth paste.
- Heat a Kadai with 2 tbsp oil, temper with mustard seeds and curry leaves. Then add the Manathakkali vatthal. Fry for couple of minutes or till the vathhal is fried well.
- Next add the tamarind extract, turmeric powder and asafoetida. Bring this to boil.
- When it starts boiling, add the ground paste and mix well. Add the jaggery and let this boil on medium flame for 10 to 12 minutes, or till the kuzhambu reaches a slightly thick consistency.
- Remove from heat and rest it for atleast 10 minutes before serving.
- Since my manathakkali vatthal was very salty, I did not add salt to the kuzhambu, so check and add the salt, else the kuzhambu will become salty.
- If you don’t have vathal, you can substitute with any vegetable, like onions, or Drumstick. Add the vegetable after the tempering of mustard seeds and sauté for few minutes before adding the tamarind extract. Also don’t forget to add salt.