No one really knows how Race Kuzhambu got its name, but we have a theory that it is a mis-spelling of rice. This recipe uses a little rice to aid in the thickening of the kuzhambu gravy.
A Kuzhambu is a gravy like dish, sometimes thin, sometimes thicker, intended to be eaten over rice. Read more about Kuzhambu here.
It is also called Anjara petti kozhambu, meaning Spice Box Kuzhambu. In this dish, a range of ingredients in the home spice box are used to make the masala which is then cooked in tamarind liquid.
This is a variation of Vatral Kuzhambu in fact, with a little lesser tamarind than Arai Puli Kuzhambu (Mildly Sour Khuzambu), and it has 4 different dal varieties included in its seasoning – its masala or spice powder. We used okra for the vegetable, but eggplant and drumsticks can also be used.
In terms of heat level, the recipes uses 6 dried red chillies and 6 green. The heat is there but it is not as hot as you might expect with that amount of chillies. It is the tamarind that modifies the heat experience.
Ladies Fingers (Okra), Brinjal (eggplant) or drumsticks can be used. Okra or eggplant are preferred.
Race Kuzhambu | Anjara Petti Kuzhambu
Source : interpreted from Race Kuzhambu in Cook and See Part 1, by S. Meenakshi Ammal
Cuisine: South Indian, Tamil
Prep time: about 30 mins to roast spices and saute veggies
Cooking time: 10 mins
Serves: 2 – 3 people depending how you are using it. It makes 2 cups.
Fresh vegetables like brinjal (eggplant), lady’s fingers (okra) — these are the preferred vegetables — or drumsticks
Tamarind – enough to make 2.5 cups juice. Use concentrate or traditional tamarind
12 tspn ghee or Indian Sesame Oil (much lighter than Chinese Sesame Oil)
0.5 tspn fenugreek seeds
0.5 tspn rice
1 tspn each of Bengal Gram (channa dal), Green Gram Dal (split mung dal), red gram dal (toor dal) and black gram dal (split urad dal)
2 tspn coriander seeds
6 or 8 black pepper corns
6 dried red chillies, the end pinched
0.5 tspn black mustard seeds
10 – 15 curry leaves
5 or 6 green chillies, slit from the base through the middle, but still in tact at the top of the chilli
1.5 tspn salt
green coriander to garnish (optional)
First, prepare your vegetables. Chop them as desired and saute with the green chillies in 4 – 6 tspn ghee or sesame oil. Put aside.
Now prepare the masala. Dry roast the rice and fenugreek seeds in a plain pan. Remove from pan into a small bowl. Next, one by one, roast the following ingredients separately, adding to the bowl as they attain a golden colour and a magnificent aroma. I prefer to roast them dry, but you can add a little ghee or oil if you prefer: The four different dals (roast them separately), coriander seeds, black pepper corns, red chillies.
When you have completed the roasting, grind all of the roasted dals and spices to a nice powder.
Heat the remaining ghee or sesame oil and fry off the mustard seeds and curry leaves, allowing the mustard seeds to pop. Add the tamarind juice and salt, then the masala powder. Stir well so that no lumps of the spice powder forms. Boil for 2 – 4 minutes.
Add the sauteed vegetables. Mix well, and as soon as the vegetables are cooked sufficiently, remove the pan from the heat.