Sunday, October 12, 2008

Vatral Kozhambu (Vegetable Stew)

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Having been married to an Iyer Brahmin,exposed me to a very different cuisine altogether. A cuisine which was simple and mild yet marrying so many flavors. After having seen my grand mother-in-law cook and after really pestering her for recipes (she still doesn't understand the presence of a male in the kitchen), I have now built up a nice collection of Iyer recipes for all ocassions.
So what is a Vatral Kozhambu ? Vatral means dried vegetables and includes eggplant, gourd,onions, shallots etc. Kozhambu (Pronounced KoolAMbu) is a gravy/ stew dish from Tamil Nadu that is made without lentils in it.Typically it can have a tamarind base or a buttermilk base. Other variations too exist. Literally translated it means "Boiling Paste". I tried digging in deeper to find its origins but could not go far. Any other inputs are welcome.

Vatral Kozhambu (Vegetable Stew) Ingredients:

Tamarind, lemon sized ball,soaked in 2 cups of hot water
Eggplants,small, cut into small cubes - 4
Shallots, peeled - 8-10
Mustard seeds (Rai) - 1/2 Tsp
Dry Red Chillies - 2
Asafoetida (Hing) - A Pinch
Fenugreek Seeds (Methi Seeds) - 1/4 Tsp
Chana Dal - 1.5 Tsp
Sambar Powder - 1/2 Tsp
Turmeric (Haldi) - 1/4 Tsp
Rice Flour - 1.5 Tsp
Jaggery, powdered - 1.5 Tsp
Curry Leaves - 8-9
Salt - To Taste
Oil - 1 Tblsp

1. Extract the tamarind pulp and keep aside.
2. Heat oil in a thick bottomed vessel. Add the mustard seeds.
3. Once they start crackling, add in the dried red chillies, asafoetida, fenugreek seeds and curry leaves. Saute for a minute.
4. Add the chana dal and saute it till it starts to turn golden brown. Add in the eggplants and shallots. Fry for a minute.
5. Add in the sambar powder, turmeric powder and tamarind extract. Simmer on low flame for 10 minutes.
6. Make a paste of rice flour with little water (thick paste without lumps).
7. Add this paste to the simmering mixture and bring it to a boil.
8. Add jaggery and salt and mix well.
9. Serve hot with rice.

Note:Readers willing to try out new things can also read my older post on Mutton Chops Kozhambu .


Anonymous said...

I love vatral kozhambu too. I love this recipe. I am going to try this for sure. Thanks.


Cilantro said...

I usually add only the Vatral in the kuzhambu. Interesting to know vegetables could be added. Will try your version.

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