Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Araichu Vitta Kozhambu (Gravy made with freshly ground spices)

Most of you must have figured out now that I love kozhambu (South Indian curries), the spicier and tangier the better! There is this one with okra, another one with pumpkin and yet another one with sun dried berries

A week of dals, roti, subzi or even pasta, pizza and tortillas and there will be this gnawing feeling at the back of my mind (or is tongue) and eventually I figure out I can't wait to shake up my palate with a lip smacking kozhambu. It took some time for me to get the proportions right, but when I did, making this seemed even more easier than sambar - atleast one didn't have to wait for the dal to cook.

This Sunday morning was one such day. I woke up feeling quite in the mood for something different than the usual tomato or onion chutney or sambar we have with dosai. It helps if you have a stock of tamarind extract or if you are using tamarind paste.

But even if you don't, pour some warm water over a small ball of tamarind. By the time, you cut the veggies and boil then, roast the masala and grind it, it would have soaked for about 20 minutes - long enough to extract the juice. Boil with the freshly ground masala, add the cooked vegetable half way through and in a bit you have some great tasting kozhambu ready to go with dosai, idli or rice.

This dish goes to Srivalli's Curry Mela which she is hosting on her blog Cooking 4 all Seasons.

Araichu vitta kozhambu

Half a cup chopped pumpkin (drumstick, brinjal or okra can be used; brinjal and okra need to be fried a bit before adding to the gravy and not cooked in water)
Small lime size ball of tamarind soaked in 3 cups of water

Red chillies - 5
Coriander seeds - 1 tbsp
Fenugreek - 1/4 tsp
Chana dal - 2 tsp
1/4 cup grated coconut

Oil - 1/2 tbsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
asafoetida - pinch
curry leaves - 5-6

1. Extract juice of tamarind and keep aside
2. Cook the pumpkin pieces in about 2-3 cups of water till just done.
3. Roast the spices in half a tsp of oil and then grind to a paste with the coconut.
4. Heat oil in a kadai, add the mustard seeds; when they splutter, add the asafoetida, curry leaves and saute for half a minute.
5. Add the masala paste and fry for a minute
6. Pour the tamarind extract, add salt and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for about 15 minutes
7. Add the cooked vegetables and simmer for another 5-10 minutes till the gravy is a bit thick and the flavours have blended well.
8. Serve with idli, dosai or rice.


Srivalli said...

oh miri..thats such a lovely combo...looks perfect..thanks for the entry!

Lubna Karim said...

Looks yummy