One of the first few kuzhambus I learnt from my mother was vendaikkai moarkuzhambu. She used to write recipes for me along with her letters. And as with her and my aunts, it is always "take a little of this, add some of that...etc." And using such recipes and measurements they have cooked without much ado. Thinking back so have I! I have those recipe sheets tucked to all of my cookbooks, many notes here and there and all. Lately, I have started being a bit meticulous just because I am sharing the recipe with readers of this blog. Otherwise, I think I might just be dropping some of this and a little of that into my dish as well.
Though I like paruppu urundai moar kuzhambu much, and of the vegetables added recipes, I prefer the ash gourd, I do at times alternate other vegetables too. Drumsticks, brinjals, potatoes, arbi and okras are a few that may taste good in moar kuzhambu. As I was planning to cook the entire process in the microwave oven, I chose okras which cook quicky in the microwave.
8 to 10 numbers okras
1/3 of a cup of slightly sour curds
2/3 cups water
Very little turmeric powder
A pinch of asafoetida
Salt as required
Soak in 2 tablespoons of water and grind to a paste the following:
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cuminseeds
1/3 teaspoon channa dhal
1/4 teaspoon thuvar dhal
3 green chillis
1 heaped tablespoon scrapped coconut
( you may omit coconut and add some more channa dhal, but coconut renders body and flavour to the kuzhambu which is uniquely South Indian style)
2 teaspoons oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds (omam/ajwain) (optional)
1/4 teaspoon split black gram (optional)
Fresh coriander leaves chopped
Fresh curry leaves ( I don't find freash curry leaves, most times. Hence I use sundried leaves by roasting them along with the tempering.)
Wash and pat dry the okras.
Cut them in about 1/2" long pieces.
In a microwave safe bowl take the cut okras and add one teaspoon of the yoghurt.
Cover and cook on micro power high for 3 minutes. Allow 1 minute standing time.
Toss the vegetables a bit and place the cover back. Cook on 60% power for 2 more minutes.
The okras will be tender by now.
Meanwhile get the paste ready by grinding the ingredients to a smooth but not very fine paste.
Whisk the rest of the yoghurt with the turmeric, asafoetida and salt added. add the water to achieve a thinner consistency.
Add the cooked okras and the paste to this. Mix well so the masala blends with the yoghurt.
Preferably this bowl should be a big one in order to avoid overflowing of the liquid contents while boiling.
Place the bowl in the microwave, without lid on. Cook for first three minutes on 100% power.
The yoghurt mix will be boiling and you may find some of this sticking to the walls of the bowl.
Remove from microwave, scrape down the food sticking to the walls back into the liquid inside.
Place back in the microwave, without lid on. Cook at 60% power for four minutes until the gravy has thickened a bit.
Now in a flat microwave safe dish, heat oil for 30 seconds on 100% micro power.
Add the ingredients for tempering. Keep without lid on for 2 minutes until the mustard seeds are cracked.
( Most microwave cook books say that the mustard seeds crackle as quickly as 30 seconds, but i have always had to keep for longer.
Also the gram will not appear to have roasted as well as done on stove top, however, it would have roasted sufficiently.)
Remove this dish from the microwave and add the tempering to the kuzhambu.
Add the garnish to the kuzhambu.
Serve with hot steamed rice.
Over heating may result in splitting of the yoghurt. But usually the addition of the channa dhal to the grinding takes care of that and binds the kuzhambu.
You may also opt to cook without the salt and add the salt later to the kuzhambu, salt is one of the possible factors that split the yoghurt upon heating, I am told.
Allow the moarkuzhambu to cool down to room temperature and the cover it with a lid. Do not re heat repeatedly. It is best served, warm or at room temperature with hot steaming rice.
Moar kuzhambu makes the very best side dish for ven pongal. If serving with ven pongl, okras are not the best veggies to add, however, ash gourd, urad dhal bondas and steamed dhal dumplings are best.
This kuzhambu is being added to the Lunch box menu, of the Microwave Easy Cooking event currently hosted at this very space.
Kindly hurry your entries as well, I am looking forward to be virtually enjoying your treats.