This dish gets its name from the fact that it is prepared with 7 vegetables. It is a South Indian dish, actually a Tamil dish, which is often prepared on Thiruvathirai Day as a side dish for Thiruvadhira Kali (a sweet mung dal and rice dish made on this festival day). Although its name means seven vegetables, often nine, eleven, or even more are used! It is a blend of sweet, salty, tangy and spicy flavours that meld so well together, and is a perfect clean-out-the-fridge dish.
But you can also make this dish at any time – don’t keep it only for a festival dish. The recipe is one of Meenakshi Ammal’s from her cook books Cook and See. One of our very special projects in the kitchen is to cook through these books, as they are very traditional Tamil recipes.You can find all of Ammal’s dishes that we have made here. Most of them are from Vol 1 so far.
I love this dish cooked just with potatoes. It is divine. Today I made it with Colacasia, Chenai Yam, Cluster Beans, Pumpkin, Potato, Ridged Gourd, and Drumstick. Delicious!
Ezhukari Kuzhambu / Kootu | Seven Vegetables Kuzhambu or Kootu
fresh bean seeds, ash gourd, pumpkin, sweet potato, plantain, eggplant (brinjal), snake gourd, sabre beans, cluster beans, french beans, chow chow, chenai yam, colacasia, potatoes, green chillies, drumstick, ribbed gourd, okra (small quantities). Drumstick and ribbed gourd are not included on festival days.
You are looking for 4 cups of vegetables and 4 cups gravy.
0.75 cup toor dal, cooked until very soft
0.5 tspn turmeric powder
tamarind paste made with piece of new tamarind
2 tspn rice flour
sea salt, to taste
coriander leaves, to garnish
3 Indian dried red chillies, or to taste (Meenakshi Ammal uses 15 – 18!)
0.25 cup coriander seeds
1.5 Tblspn bengal gram (channa dal)
0.5 cup grated coconut
1 Tblspn Indian Sesame oil or ghee
1 Tblspn Indian sesame oil or ghee
2 tspn brown mustard seeds
1.5 tspn fenugreek seeds
3 – 4 Indian dried red chillies, or to taste
2 pinches asafoetida powder
10 – 12 curry leaves
Make the spice paste. Fry the spices from the Spice Paste in the oil (not the coconut), until darkening and a nice aroma arises. Grind to a paste with the coconut. Set aside.
Cook the vegetables. Select the vegetables to be used and prepare as follows. Scrape the skin from the chenai yam and cut into small bits. Cook with the potatoes and colacasia with their skin on, then peel the potatoes and colacasia. Cut them into 2 or 3 pieces.
Cut all other vegetables except cluster beans into more or less the same sized pieces. Cut or break each cluster bean into two. Cook the cluster beans in a little water with the bean seeds, and when half cooked, add salt to taste, the turmeric powder and the other vegetables.
About half way through cooking, turn the vegetables carefully with a spoon to ensure even cooking. Add the tamarind paste and continue cooking until all vegetables are cooked and soft.
Add the cooked dal and the spice paste. Stir well and leave over a very low heat.
Heat the oil for the tadka and toast the mustard seeds until they pop. Add the fenugreek seeds, chillies and asafoetida powder. When the seeds turn gulden, add the curry leaves and let them splutter. Pour into the vegetables and bring back to the boil.
Mix the rice flour with water and add to the kuzhambu. Let it boil until all ingredients are mixed well and the sauce thickens slightly. Add the coriander leaves.
The kuzhambu will be quite thick.
recipe notes and alternatives
Add a little more dal and prepare the dish a little thinner and serve like sambar.