Vathal Kuzhambu and Srirangam are closely related. People of srirangam make this recipe often and serve with roasted appalam (not fried one). If you happened to visit Srirangam and taste Vathal kulambu & sutta appalam you would say “wow” and you can forget srirangam after some time but the taste you had will never ever go.
Vathal Kuzhambu tastes more when it is prepared with Vathal (dried vegetables) like Mangai Vathal (Raw Mango), Sundakai Vathal (Turkey berry), Manathakkali Vathal (Black night shade). Optionally you can use fresh vegetables such as Brinjal or Ladies finger. I used fresh Turkey berry. I don’t recommend even homemade sambar powder to prepare this recipe. Everything should be roasted and manually ground.
- Turkey berry (Sundakai) – ½ Cup [Fresh or dried]
- Tamarind extract or tamarind water – 1 ½ cup or tamarind paste – 2 tbsp
- Curry leaves – 2 springs
- Sambar Onion (Shallots) - 10 (whole)
- Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
- Jaggery – 2 ½ tbsp [grated]
- Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
- Urad dal – 2 tsp
- Bengal gram – 2 tbsp
- Asafetida - 1 tsp
- Salt to taste
- Gingelly Oil [Sesame oil]– 3 tbsp
- Water as needed
For roasting & grinding
- Fenugreek - 2 tsp [Dry roast (dont add oil for frying) fenugreek and grind to fine powder]
- Rice – 1 tbsp
- Dry Red Chilli - 4
- Urad dal – 2 tbsp
- Toor dal – 2 tbsp
- Coriander seeds - 2tbsp
- Peppercorns -1tbsp
- Heat oil in a pan add toor dal & urad roast till light brown.
- Then roast coriander seeds & peppercorns.
- Next roast rice & dry red chilli then let it cool.
- Put roasted ingredients in mixer jar & grind to smooth paste with ¼ cup of water.
- Slit Turkey berry and remove all the seeds out then put in water.
- Heat oil in a pan add mustard seeds, let it splutter.
- Add Bengal gram & urad dal sauté.
- Add onion sauté till light brown.
- Add fenugreek powder & asafetida mix well. Then add curry leaves sauté.
- Add the Fresh/ dried Turkey berry (Sundakai), salt & ½ tsp of turmeric powder sauté till soft.
- Add the tamarind paste / tamarind extract and mix well. Add water if required & let it boil & thickens.
- Add ground paste mixture mix well & let it boil
- Add Jaggery & salt let it boil
- Finally add 1 tbsp of sesame oil & cut off heat.
- Serve hot with rice.
To make Vatha Kuzhambu thick add rice flour. Roasted Pappadam is the best combination for Vatha Kuzhambu. It’s a common dish in Srirangam.
The alternative vegetables are drumstick, Brinjal, ladies finger. This spicy gravy can be made with either dried vathal or fresh vegetables.
How this Vathal Kuzhambu recipe is Unique?
The unique combination of ground mixture and Jaggery brings extra taste to the Vatha Kuzhambu.
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