Meenakshi Ammal’s Cook and See books, has a Plain Kuzhambu (Kottu Kuzhambu) in Book 1 of her 4 book series. The Plain Kuzhambu is milder indeed, but is anything but plain. It is a gravy like dish without the toor dal, and with the addition of vegetables. I used pumpkin. Kottu, meaning plain, indicates the presence of vegetables but without cooked lentils.
This recipe is very similar to Vatral Kuzhambu, but uses fresh vegetables instead of dried ones (vathal).
You can find recipes for the other Kuzhambus here, including Green Chilli Kuzhambu, Fenugreek Kuzhambu, and Masala Kuzhambu with Gram Flour Vadai. If you are looking for traditional Sambar Recipes, they are here – the list includes the Kuzhambu Recipes. Or explore our Indian dishes here. Other Winter recipes can be found here.
Source : interpreted from Plain Kuzhambu in Cook and See Part 1, by S. Meenakshi Ammal
Cuisine: South Indian, Tamil
Prep time: 5 mins or less
Cooking time: 30 mins
Serves: 2 – 3 people depending how you are using it. It makes 2 cups.
Fresh vegetables like brinjal (eggplant), lady’s fingers (okra), sweet potatoes, pumpkin, onions, karunai root (a type of yam) or white radish
Tamarind – enough to make 2.5 cups juice. Use concentrate or traditional tamarind
1 – 2 Tblspn ghee
1/2 tspn black mustard seeds
1/2 tspn fenugreek seeds
2 pinched dried red chillies
1/2 tspn toor dal (red gram dal; pigeon peas)
10 – 15 curry leaves
2.5 tspns sambar powder
1 tspn of rice flour
green coriander to garnish
First, prepare your vegetables. If you are using onion, peel them and scald with hot water, or saute until a little cooked. If using karunai, cut them into big peiees, cook in plain water and peel. Other vegetables can be peeled and cut into cubes of a preferred size.
Then, prepare some tamarind to make 2.5 cups juice or use a small spoon tamarind concentrate dissolved in 2.5 cups water. Leave aside.
Heat some oil in a stoneware or heavy saucepan. Pop black mustard seeds then add fenugreek seeds, the dried red chillies, toor dal and asafoetida. After a few moments, add the curry leaves, carefully avoiding the spitting that occurs. Saute these for a moment, then add the sambar powder. Scald till it is a reddish colour.
Now add the prepared tamarind juice and your prepared vegetables. Simmer until the liquid is reduced to about 2 cups and the vegetables are cooked. Taste for saltiness and add salt if required.
Mix the rice flour with enough water to make a freely flowing consistency. Stir into the Kuzhambu, allow it to come back to the boil and simmer for a few minutes to cook out the rice flour. Remove from the flame.
Garnish with a tiny amount of chopped green coriander (cilantro).