Sunday, November 25, 2007

Vatha Kuzhambu

The last two weeks had been quite busy with official and personal things. Added to this routine, we had guests over on the weekends and hence did a lot of eating out at the restaurants. This Saturday I tried to cook a complete vegetarian meal with menu comprising of tomato dal, vatha kulambu and a potato curry. I strongly believe that any vegetarian thali/ meal is not complete without a vatha kozhambu and sutta appalam.

Vatha kuzhambu is a south Indian dish served mainly with rice and papad. It has a single vegetable/ vathal as a base and is a simmered stew of tamarind with a set of spices. Usually it is prepared with brinjal/eggplant or okra/lady’s finger. Vathals can also be used. I guess vathals are the reasons for the authentic taste. Vathals are dried vegetables and can be bought from any Indian grocery store. Sundakaai vathal, manathakkali vathal or vendakaai vathal are some examples.

To Grind:
Corriander seeds 1 tbsp
Methi seeds – ½ tbsp
Urad dal – 1 tbsp
Channa dal – 1 tbsp
Red chillies – 3/ 4 (depends on the spice level)

Shallot / Pearl onions – 9 or 10 (You can substitute half of a red onion if shallots are not available.)
Garlic pods – 4 /5 (This is optional)
Tamarind – A small lemon sized ball
Vathal/ Vegetable of your choice(I used sundakaai vathal)
Sambar powder – 1 tbsp
Oil - 2 tbsp
Pepper - 1 tbsp
Asofetida / Hing – 1 pinch
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp

Procedure :

1. Soak the tamarind in water and extract the tamarind pulp. To make your work easier you can microwave the soaked tamarind for 30 seconds.
2. Dry roast all the ingredients that has to be ground and make them into a smooth dry powder.
3. In a heavy bottomed pan (traditionally a cast iron kadai is used), heat few spoons of oil. Usually sesame oil or gingely oil is used , but any oil would do good. If you are planning to use vathals instead of vegetables, now is the good time to fry those. Once done take it and leave it aside. You can add it at a later time to the kuzhambu.
4. Add the mustard seeds, curry leaves, asafetida, urad dal and channa dal to the oil.
5. Now add garlic, fry till its raw smell goes off add then add onions, fry till they turn to golden brown color. Add the sambar powder, tumeric , salt and sauté for 2 mnutes.
6. If you are planning to add vegetables add it now and sauté for few more minutes.
7. Now add the tamarind pulp and let it simmer for around 10-15 minutes.
8. Then add the dry ground masala powder, stir well. Add the vathals immediately after the masala powder and allow it to boil for 10 more minutes.
9. If vatha kolambu is too watery add 1 tsp of rice flour and allow it to boil to get the required consistency.
10. Enjoy vatha kuzhambu with hot steamed rice and sutta appalam.


Anonymous said...

I had heard a lot about this kuzhambu..thanks for the recipe.

amna said...

i recently tried vatha kuzhambu :)

FH said...

Looks wonderful! A great dish to make when we are eating junk for a weekend or a long weekend like we had! Mouthwatering, thanks for the recipe!:))

Vishnu said...

It's an awesome dish. It's a delicacy on its own. Not everyone can attain perfection in this dish unless we practise. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

Vishnu said...

Thanks for sharing this recipe. Look forward for more recipes plsss.

Anonymous said...

This usually also goes with some Kootu (veggies prepared with some pulses) which reduces the spice in it and adds to the taste. Of Course sutta appalam is always a favourite.

Indian Food said...


Thanks for your comments. Keep visiting often.

Indian Food said...


Glad to hear that you too tried Vatha Kuzhambu recently. I am sure it came out very well.

Indian Food said...

I cant agree more with you. This dish is definitely a great dish compared to all the junk foods available here.

Indian Food said...


Pleased to see a nice comment from a Chef !!! I am waiting to receive a guest post from you soon !!

kanch said...

This recipe was awesome. tried it this Sunday and my hubby loved it. my urad dhal supply was over so i left that out but it still tasted awesome...
as a 23 year old novice cook , the recipe was easy to follow and execute. Thanks a ton. looking forward to trying other recipes from you.

Anonymous said...

watery receipe tried . look comes okay. and was easy.

Surekha said...

Thanks for the receipe. I followed the same procedure however instead of adding your spices powder, i added Shakthi vathal kulambu mix. The curry was awesome.
Thanks again.