Masal Kuzhambu – Medley of veggies in a coconut and poppy seeds paste, flavoured with cardamoms fried in ghee. Absolute side dish for roti.
Before I get into my post, I have a confession to make. I am not sure if my today’s post can be called as a conventional Tambrahm recipe. Neither I was able to figure out how the reason behind the name of the dish. This dish has almost all of the elements that go into the recipe of a Kurma. But it is the most favourite dish in my in law’s house. This has been a part of the menu in most of the celebratory dinners since my spouse’s great grandmother’s time. Even his grandfather who does not eat garlic or relishes anything apart from dosa or idly, likes this a lot. I debated quite a lot about posting this recipe but then how can I not if it has been my family’s favourite for more than two generations?
Whenever this is made for lunch, then it is Chapathi for dinner. Yes, this can be had as a side dish to roti / chapathi as well. My MIL always makes it a little excess so that it can be had for dinner as well. The highlight of this dish is the ghee tempering at the end. It imparts such a rich flavour and aroma to this recipe. This is served with rice and papads.
- 1 teaspoon oil
- 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds (kadugu)
- 2-3 green chillies (pachai milagai) slit lengthwise
- 6-7 gralic pods (poondu) crushed
- Few curry leaves
- 8-10 shallots or 1 small regular onion
- Salt to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder (manjal podi)
- 2 cups cubed veggies refer notes
- 2 tablespoons garam masala
- 1 cup coconut milk 2 tablespoon coconut cream mix it in 1 cup of water
- 1/2 cup thick curd | yoghurt Replace this with lime juice if you are on a vegan diet
- 1 tablespoon pottu kadalai
- 1 teaspoon poppy seeds (khasa khasa)
- 5 tablespoons grated coconut ( thuruvia thengai )
- 1 tablespoon ghee (clarified butter)
- 5-6 numbers cloves (lavangam)
- 1" cinnamon stick (pattai)
- 12-15 numbers green cardamom pods ( elakkai )
Chop the veggies about a quarter inch thick.
Whisk the curd and keep aside.
If you get coconut milk use it as such. If it is a cream mix it in water.
Grind the ingredients mentioned under "for grinding" into a thick paste.
Heat oil a kadai or pan on a medium heat. Once it is hot, add the mustard seeds and let it splutter. Then add the curry leaves and green chillies and give a stir.
Then add the shallots, chopped veggies, salt, turmeric powder and little water. Cover and cook until it becomes tender.
Once the veggies are cooked, reduce the flame to low medium and add the ground mixture and garam masala. Mix it well.
Let the mixture come to boil and the raw smell of the ground mix goes off. The mixture will thicken as it boils.
Then turn off the flame and add the whisked curd. Mix well. (If you are on a vegan diet, skip this and add 1 tablespoon lime juice after taking it off the flame.)
Then add the coconut milk to dilute it to a gravy consistency. So add as much as you need. (please refer notes)
In another pan, heat a Tbsp of ghee. Once it is hot, add the cinnamon stick, cloves and green cardamoms. Once the cardamom and cloves bulge, add this to the kuzhambu and turn off the flame.
- You can add most of the veggies to this dish. Carrots, potatoes, ash gourd, pumpkin, beans, broad beans, beet root and peas.
- Addition of coconut milk is for its mild taste and to dilute the gravy as needed. So if your mixture is very thick add a little more. Other wise 1/2 cup is enough.
- Do not skip on the tempering and cardamoms which are the primary flavouring agents.
- If you feel the spice from the chillies is less, then add a tsp of Red chilli powder. Also you can use lemon juice instead of curd for sourness.