Friday, September 17, 2010

Thengai Masala Kuzhambu - my choice side dish for shavige

Breakfast during weekends at my husband's home used to be shavige during our first few years of marriage. On other days it was regularly idli and dosai with coconut chutney. My mother-in-law might forget anything, soaking for idli every third day, she would not! On Saturdays, she would soak another bowl of rice in order to make shavige on Sunday. The side dish will be again finely ground chutney or a coconut milk based gravy.

I love the variety sevai mixed in tangy lemon, spiced coconut and so on. But my husband prefers it plain and mixed with gravy or chutney. My sister had learnt this recipe from some friends and passed it on to me. My husband loved it too. So I make this as often as I make shavige. I do coax him to eat mixed sevai and he obliges; but his vote is always to this combination.

The long list of grinding ingredients may seem intimidating. Once done with the grinding, the gravy is ready in minutes. It is very flexible with the choice of vegetables and sometimes I try to finish off my vegetable tray in this dish.

One or more vegetables of choice cubed - 1/2 cup
Tomato 2 large chopped
Tamarind pulp 3 teaspoons
Sambhar powder 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder 1/4 teaspoon
Salt as required

For the masala:
Cooking poppy seeds/ khus-khus 2 teaspoons
Cinnamon 2" stick
Cloves 5 pieces
Fennel seeds 1/4 teaspoon
Corriander seeds 1 teaspoon
Channa dhal 1 teaspoon
Dry red chillis 4 pieces ( to be adjusted according to spice requirement and the heat of the chilli)
Garlic 3 pods (optional)
Onions 3 large chopped
Coconut 1/4 of a whole scrapped - about 1/3 cup yield
Oil for roasting the dry spices and sauteeing the onions

For tempering:
Cooking oil 1 teaspoon
Mustard seeds 1/2 teaspoon

Cook the cubed vegetables until just about tender. Do not cook until very soft as you will be boiling them again until the gravy thickens.
Saving the onions and coconut, roast the listed ingredients in little oil until aromatic.
In the same pan saute the chopped onions and garlic, if using, until translucent.
Do not roast the coconut.
Grind all the masala ingredients viz. the roasted spices, sauteed onions and the fresh coconut to a fine paste adding water.
Transfer to a bowl and wash the jar of the blender with about a cup of water. Add this water to the paste.
Place a pan on the stove and cook the tomatoes, tamarind paste until the raw taste of tamarind subsides and tomatoes are a mushy pulp.
Add cooked vegetables, salt, turmeric powder and the sambhar powder to it.

Few minutes later add the ground masla. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for about 6-8 minutes. The gravy will have to be medium thick to rare, as you will be mixing it to the shavige.
Heat the oil for tempering and add mustard seeds to hot oil. Allow to crackle and add this to the gravy.
You may retain some onions before grinding and add as garnish to the gravy.
There is no need to garnish with curry leaves or corriander, but feel free to do so if you like them. I do at times.
Serve hot with shavige/ plain sevai or idiyaappam.
It is a good side dish for neer dosa also.


  1. Never tried the masala gravies for aapam and idiyappams,have to try it,sounds great,flavorful!

  2. absolutely new recipe for me. But looks so yummy

  3. Woww.. looks gr8 and awesome.. thanks for sharing !!

  4. droolworthy and the kuzhambu is so tempting and mouth watering.I am planning to note down the recipe and make it very soon.My grandma used to make fresh thengai kuzhambu very often which we all used to love and hog like anything.

  5. Hi lata, thanks for writing to me, I have busy lately, and I have missed lot of posts, that's nice sounding recipe, definitely give it a try

  6. masala kuzhambu looks soo good...

  7. Wow...sounds like traditional kongu side dish...i am loving it

  8. never had a dish like this... will definitely try it when i get over the laziness of grinding so many masalas!

  9. Wow,

    thats a long list of ingredients but i am guessing it should be definitely worth a try if your husband says, i prefer sevai which is infinitely spiced with tamarind, coconut and lemon....Sneha loves hot steamed evai with a little sugar...


  10. I luv this curry very much...thick and perfect it is

  11. I wouldn't mind grinding up the big list if it's for such a flavorful curry :-)

  12. Hi lata,
    I am not in FB now. My friends in FB are mostly food bloggers. So no worries. First time to your blog. Our traditional recipes are really mouth watering.This kuzhambu will taste good with dosa and idli too! Planning to try tomorrow!
    I lost my camera on baby's birthday. Not yet decided which model to buy! :D

  13. Hi lata, Made this kuzhambu yesterday with my Idlis, it was a super hit, everybody loved it, thanks dear


Welcome and thank you for taking time to drop by.
I appreciate your valuable comments and tips.
I sincerely hope to improve with them.
Hope we shall interact often.
Thanks once again,
Lata Raja.