Kathirikai Murungakkai Kara Kuzhambu– is a thick tamarind based South Indian gravy often served as accompaniment for rice. It is usually made plain or with vegetables, sometimes non veg based too… and a typical kara kuzhambu includes sambar onion, tomato with one or two vegetables and the most common form is brinjal & drumstick based gravy. T
his is something which we make often, atleast once or twice a week, definitely on saturdays that’s how i was raised back home…. it is always accompanied with some kind of thick kootu and poriyal. Amma always ensures that some kind of fried item like appalam/ varthal or crispy vegetable pakoda is served along to make it special. Now i make this combo for my family and its they enjoy it too. This is a south indian staple i would say and every household has its own variations and method in preparing this kuzhambu, this is how we make it at home and hope you like it too!
|Ingredients for Saute|
|Brinjal||3 (cut into quarters)|
|Drumstick||1 (cut into 4-5 peices)|
|Onion (Periya vengayam)||1/2 cup (chopped)|
|Sambar onions / Shallots / Pearl onions||6 (cut into half)|
|Tomato||1/2 cup (chopped)|
|Green Chili||2 (slit open)|
|Turmeric powder||1/4 teaspoon|
|Red Chili powder||1 teaspoon|
|Coriander powder||2 teaspoon|
|Black pepper powder||1/4 teaspoon|
|Salt||1 & 1/2 teaspoons|
|Tamarind||lime size (we need 3 tablespoons thick pulp)|
|Ingredients for seasoning|
|Fenugreek seeds||1/4 teaspoon|
|Cumin seeds||1/2 teaspoon|
|Urad dal||1/4 teaspoon|
|Curry leaves||5 leaves|
|Ingredients for grinding|
|Fresh grated coconut||1/4 cup|
|Fennel seeds||1/4 teaspoon|
Lets see how to make this Kathirikai Murungakkai Kara Kuzhambu…
Before we start, lets get some prep work done……finely chop the big onions, halve the sambar onions, chop the tomatoes, roughy crush the garlic, slit open the green chilies, cut the brinjal into big quarters &cut the drumstick i nto 2 inch long pieces. Soak tamarind in little water and extract the pulp and keep aside. Grind fresh grated coconut with fennel seeds and water to make a thick paste.
Heat oil in a kadai and splutter mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, urad dal, cumin seeds and curry leaves. Let them sizzle in hot oil for a second.
Add chopped big onions, sambar onions, green chili and garlic to it and saute till translucent.
Followed by chopped tomatoes and saute for few minutes to make them soft.
Now add turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, pepper powder, jaggery and salt.
Fry the masala until it blends well with the tomato onion mixture. Fry till the oil separates from the masala.
Now add 1 cup of water to the mixture.
Followed by the thick tamarind extract.
Add the drumstick and brinjal to the gravy.
Bring the flame to medium low, cover with a lid and cook for 15 minutes or until the drumstick cooks thoroughly. (tender drumstick should cook by this time if not cook little longer)
Once done the gravy will look thick with cooked veggies, oil separating on the top.
Add the coconut fennel paste at this stage and simmer for few minutes and switch off.
- Serves 2- 3 adults
- Adding jaggery can balance the heat and tanginess of the gravy.
- Usually for any kara kuzhambu we add kuzhambu thool/ podi which gives thickness to the gravy. Kuzhambu podi is a combination of chili, dhania, fenugreek, toor dal, black pepper & cumin… when added to gravy or masala it gives the mixture a thick feel to it.
- If you have kuzhambu thool then cut the above spice powders and add 2-3 teaspoon of that podi. Alternatively you can use sambar powder, but usually sambar powder is very strong and concentrated so adjust accordingly.
- I have used 2 teaspoons of coriander powder for 1 teaspoon of chili powder to give enough thickness to the gravy. Makes sure you fry the masala well or till the oil separates to avoid raw dhania smell.
- Some add raw onion to coconut while grinding for thickness and flavor – you may if you are comfortable. If so, try to add sambar onions while grinding to avoid raw onion smell in the gravy.
- We at home add coconut paste to make kuzhambu extra thick and also to increase the quantity to feed more persons… you can also make plain kara kuzhambu without coconut but the tomato onion gravy mixture +kuzhambu podi should be more to make it thick.
- Drumstick takes longer to cook, if you are not comfortable cooking directly in the gravy then boil them in water separately in pan and add that to the gravy along with the water in which it is cooked.
- Sambar onion adds immense taste to the gravy, hence do not avoid. Try to use a few and use regular onion for the rest.
- Adding fennel seeds to coconut paste gives a unique flavor to the gravy, do try it!