Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Karuveppilai poondu kaarakuzhambhu

Sometimes deciding the menu for the day's cooking is a challenge than the actual task itself. We are just two people and hence if I try to make a variety, most times we have left overs. So I limit my everyday cooking to one gravy dish to go with the rice and two vegetables side dishes. It is harder that you try not to repeat the same vegetable dish in the course of the week. The vegetables that I include most of the days are tomatoes and onions.
Garlic is not usually cooked in my parents' home. They do not buy garlic at all and if we plan to cook some dish with garlic, we go borrow from our neighbours. Here also, I do not stock garlic, but sometimes the vegetable shop assistant will throw in one or two  pods free of cost, if I request. The second time I baked the pull apart bread, I took with me some garlic from the shop and had some left along with my onions. To use them up I made this kaara kuzhambhu.

This kuzhambu was some random idea in my head and I worked the recipe with stuff I had on hand and some I wanted to use up. Sometimes, those dishes taste best when you did not plan for it. This was one such dish and to share a post, I cooked it again.
Bharathy's Spicy Chilly is celebrating the blog anniversary this month and she has announced her first event throwing in a give away from CupoNation. Check her post for details. I wish to send this spicy dish for the event.
100 grams shallots/  pearl onions
1 whole pod of garlic -about 15-18 cloves
150 grams/ 2 medium tomatoes
1 cup fresh curry leaves
5- 7 dry red chillis
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1/4 cup thick tamarind extract
1/2 teaspoon sambhar podi
1 teaspoon powdered  jaggery
Salt to taste
2 tablespoons ginglley oil/sesame seeds oil

For the tempering and garnish:
1 teaspoon cooking oil
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 dry red chilli
2 sprigs fresh curry leaves

Peel the onions. Retain some of them as whole. Chop the rest.
Peel the garlic and retain as whole.
Chop tomatoes and press them hard with your hands. Keep aside.
Heat 1 teaspoon of the sesame seeds oil. Roast the curry leaves until they are crisp. Transfer to the jar of a spice grinder.
In the same pan, dry roast the coriander seeds and then the red chillis until the chillis are brittle.
Add the roasted chillis and coriander seeds to the curry leaves. Grind to a fine powder. Keep aside.
In a heavy bottom pan, heat the rest of the oil.  When the oil is hot, add the fenugreek seeds and the whole shallots and cook until they are puffed well and almost browned. Add the peeled garlic and sauté. Remove them with a slotted ladle and keep aside.
Drop the chopped onions in the hot oil and cook them until they are very transparent. Add the chopped tomatoes with the liquid. Cook until they are well pulped. add the salt and the tamarind extract. Add about 1/2 cup water and allow to simmer.

Put the sambhar powder and the powdered jaggery. Cook until the gravy is thick enough.
Finally add the powdered spice mix and the roasted onion and garlic. Adjust the water and cook to a slightly thick gravy.
Remove from the stove.
Place a pan with the cooking oil on heat. Add the mustard seeds and allow them to splutter.
Drop in the red chilli and toss until the oil coats the chilli. Then add the curry leaves and allow them to fry a bit.
Temper the kuzhambu with the above.
Serve the kuzhambu with hot steamed rice.

Generally the  pulikuzhambu,and  kaara kuzhambu are best made with stone ware utensils or the iron wok. I have made it with my iron wok. However, it still will taste good with regular cooking utensils too. Tomatoes are my additions and thus I have reduced the tamarind quantity. If you choose to not add tomatoes, increase the tamarind pulp by another 1/4 of a cup.
This kuzhambu can be had as a side for dosais too.


  1. Lathaji,your recipe looks quite delicious,but I didnt follow the name as Idont know tamil,and basically from Andhra.

    1. Kuzhambu is a stew and this has curry leaves, garlic and loads of spice. I just had to give it a name and wrote the ingredients in order.


  2. looks so good. Hard to believe it is an original recipe.

  3. It is 11:30pm here, naaku oorarthu!!!!! Feel like having it right now! !

  4. Wow this looks so perfect for winter love the tangy taste

  5. Delicious curry Lataji. Garlic and onion combo can't be wrong.

  6. I love the colours in this dish. This is one of those curries where you need no other accompaniment for rice. I liked the touch of tomato; the sour flavouring will be different from that of tamarind. Will definitely try this Lata.

  7. Wow.. perfectly done lataji.. just how a kulambu should be... reminds me of saravana bhavan kulambu... wish I could have this with some rice now..

  8. Love this one ...ages I had poondu kuzhambhu .... tempting

  9. wow, super kaara kuzhambu.bookmarked !/nice entry for the event :)

  10. I guess u're the only one who realised the blog anniv thing! :) thank you ma:) very well said about deciding everyday menu... this gets worse if our spouses are choosy about veggies :) mande kanchudum :) love the poondu kuzhambu .. looks yummm.. I like the addition of sambhar pod I and cell am.. flavouful!!!

  11. for sai padma priya, kuzhambu is the tamilian thicker version of pulusu and not necessarily have a sweet tinge.
    Lataji, mouth watering, gonna try this once i find some shallots

  12. Looking at the pic, I can almost feel how tangy, spicy and tasty the kuzhambu is.

  13. Would love to make this garlicy Kuzhambu for the weekend treat!


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Lata Raja.