Poritha kuzhambu or Poricha kuzhambu is a style of kuzhambu that often includes coconut in its ground spice mix – this is the most defining characteristic of a Poritha Kuzhambu. This recipe is lentil based which can be made with either Toor Dal as we do here, or Green Gram Dal (Mung Dal). Although some Poritha Kuzhambu recipes can contain tamarind, this one does not.
This dish is not spicy, with very little spice added. It celebrates the taste and textures of the dal and the vegetable. You will enjoy it. It uses a per-prepared Sambar Powder, which you can purchase at an Indian grocery, or make your own.
Sometimes Poritha Kuzhambu is called a Lentil Vegetable Stew. That is not entirely accurate. There is no real equivalent in our cuisine – perhaps it can be described as a Lentil Based Gravy with a Vegetable, to eat over rice. It flavours the rice and the rice compliments the kuzhambu. I love kuzhambu so much, I will also eat a small bowl of it like a soup.
Simple Poritha Kuzhambu with Sambar Powder
source: Cook and See 1 by S. Meenakshi Ammal
Cuisine: South Indian
Prep Time: 3o mins or more to cook dal
Cook Time: around 20-30 mins
The best vegetables to use are Snake Gourd, Chow Chow, Drumstick, Country Runner Beans.
You can also use Ridge Gourd, Eggplants, Cluster Beans and Amaranth Stems.
It is best to choose only 1 vegetable rather than mix them.
0.5 cups of either red gram dal (toor dal) or green gram dal (mung dal), or a mixture of both
0.75 tspn salt
0.5 tspn sambar powder
2 – 3 tspns of ground coconut (take some coconut – frozen grated coconut is Ok – and grind in a spice grinder until fine)
0.5 tspn rice flour
2 tspn ghee
0.5 tspn mustard seeds
0.5 tspn black gram dal (urad dal)
Cook the dal until quite mushy/pastey. This will take around 30 mins unless the dal is old and drier – then it will take longer. When it is cooked, you can partially blend it with an immersion blender if necessary.
Prepare the vegetables and cut into suitable sized pieces. Cook in 0.5 cup of water, adding more if necessary, with the salt and sambar powder. Cook the vegetables well.
Add the cooked dal, adding some water if the mixture needs to be thinned, and let the mixture boil well. Add the ground coconut and mix.
Dissolve the rice flour in a little water and add to the dal. Stir for a couple of minutes as the rice flour cooks out and the gravy thickens slightly.
Add the asafoetida and stir, then turn off the heat. Garnish with the curry leaves.
Make the tadka by heating the ghee in a small pan, adding the mustard seeds and allow to pop without burning them. Add the urad dal and fry for a moment or two, then pour the ghee and all over the curry leaves and dal.
Cover with a lid and leave for 2 mins to allow the flavours to infuse. Serve and enjoy.
You might like to leave out the coconut and add 0.25 tspn of cumin seeds to the tadka.