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Friday, July 11, 2014

Sundakkai Vathal Kuzhambu

Event: Blogging Marathon #42
Theme: South Indian meals 
Choice of state: Tamilnadu

Sun-drying vegetables has been one of the inexpensive and smart ways to preserve the surplus bounty in all cultures over the world, when agriculture was the primary occupation. Even now, it is a common practice in Indian homes to sundry vegetables / fruits. They come handy on a rainy day or offer variety from the humdrum of everyday meals. The word "Vathal" in Tamil refers to basically any sun dried vegetable and vatha kuzhambu refers to the stew made with any of such sun dried vegetables. It is what we call "varugu" in Telugu as referred in this post here.  
Sundakkai or Turkey berry happens to be one of the various vegetables that are sun-dried in Tamilian homes. Sun-dried sundakkai or fresh ones can be used in preparing this kuzhambu / spicy stew. During my last India trip, I bought a pack of the dried berries when I came across them. I had seen them in blogs several times over the years and besides, my SIL who was with me shopping recommended them. This stew is prepared on these lines and so we loved it.

Ingredients: (2 servings)
2 to 2&1/2 cups water
A small lime sized tamarind
2 tsp oil 
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
A pinch of methi seeds /fenugreek seeds
1/4 cup sundried Turkey berries
A few pinches of asafoetida / hing
2 red chillies
Few curry leaves
1 big onion, chopped fine
1 tsp jaggery powder
1 tbsp sambhar powder
Salt to taste
Method:
* Soak tamarind in water for about 30 minutes or zap it in microwave for about 3 minutes. Squeeze the tamarind and extract the thick pulp. Throw away the strands and the pith.
* Heat oil in a pan and add mustard and cumin seeds. When the mustard seeds start to pop, add fenugreek seeds, asafoetida, red chilles, curry leaves and vathal. Fry until vathal turns brown.
* Next add the onion and fry until they turn translucent.
* Add the tamarind extract, sambhar powder, salt and jaggery. (The vathal have salt in them and so add alt accordingly.)
Taste and adjust the seasonings if needed.
* Cook until the mixture thickens and turn off the stove. 
* I served it with okra fry, plantain curry, yogurt and steamed rice.
Comments

10 comments:

Sarita said...

Nice curry.. New to me.. Looks tempting.

vaishali sabnani said...

Interesting. .even I remember my granny drying veggies but by now no one does..a few are available which are used as fries with a meal..but vurries made with them are new.

nandoos Kitchen said...

nice curry. Tried this before but didn't come properly. Will try your version next time. Thanks for sharing..

Priya Suresh said...

I can survive for many days with this kuzhambu, serve me with some rice and papads can have it even everyday.

Kalyani said...

i dont add onions, but rest of the process is similar.. interesting to know you add jaggery too - traditionally in Tamilnadu jaggery is never add (but I cant do without it in my kozhambu to balance the tamarind :-)))

Harini-Jaya R said...

Wow! Wonderful, flavorful sambar! I have seen this recipe in so many places and was wondering when I can lay my hand on these berries!

Srivalli said...

That's such a delicious looking dish Suma..I have never made with these dried berries myself, though Mom makes it often..love your simple comfort food..

Sapana Behl said...

Very new to me and looks so tempting with a plate of rice...

Sandhya Ramakrishnan said...

Yummy! I do not use onions but make this often....one of my favorite :)

Sreevalli E said...

Very tempting Kuzhambu. I want to make it too.