October 22, 2008


Vatha Kuzhambu, a  tangy South Indian specialty gets its name from Vathal which is vegetables sun dried and then added to the gravy for flavour. The common vathal is made with sundakka (Turkey Berry), vendakka (Okra) or manathakkali (interestingly known as black nightshade in english). You can also add vegetables like brinjal or drumsticks for a different flavour.

Easy Vatha Kuzhambu-Vatha Kuzhambu Recipe

I had been using the MTR ready mix for making Vatha Kuzhambu since I came to Singapore but decided to make the authentic version. I wasn't very confident since this is a very authentic recipe and may not come out well during the first try.

It came out much better than I expected so this one is definitely a keeper. We have different versions of Vatha Kuzhambu in South India. Theeyal is the most common variation from Kerala and Reddiars make something called nalla pulusu which is very close in taste. By whatever name you call it, Vatha Kuzhambu is a very tasty and easy kuzhambu recipe for rice. I also love the flavour the methi seeds give the kuzhambu on tempering it. Use gingelly oil or Indian sesame oil if you can for tempering, it really enhances the taste and flavour of the kuzhambu.

You may also wish to check out this cumin rasam recipe, a very flavourful rasam recipe for hot rice.

Instant Vatha Kuzhambu Recipe

Shallots -12, halved or whole if not too big
Vathal / Drumsticks / Aubergine - 1/2 cup (you can add pretty much any of these in the kozhambu for a unique flavour)
Tamarind paste - 2 tbsp (or half cup tamarind water made by squeezing a lemon sized tamarind ball in luke warm water)
Fenugreek / venthayam / uluva - 1/4 tsp
Sesame oil - 3 tbsp
Black Pepper - 1tsp
Sambar powder - 2 tsp
Salt - to taste
For tempering:
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Urad dal - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - a few
For thickening:
Either 1 tbsp urad dal roasted and powdered OR 1 tbsp rice flour mixed with some water.

How to Make Instant Vatha Kuzhambu

1. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan temper mustard seeds, urad dal and curry leaves.

2. Then add the shallots and any vegetable or vathal you are using and fry for about 2 minutes.

3. Add the sambar powder and peppercorn and fry for another 30 seconds.

4. Add the tamarind water and water and allow to boil on low flame for 8-10 minutes.

5. Add the thickening ingredients of choice and let boil for another 3-4 minutes.

Serve vatha kuzhambu with steamed white rice and ghee drizzled on top.

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