Bored of making sambar and vatha kuzhambu ? Looking for a simple and easy alternative for rice ? This thengai aracha kuzhambu is one of the few go-to recipes. Quick and simple to make, a sour kuzhambu with a flavourful coconut ground masala.
It is a everyday ritual at mom's home. I think, in most of our homes, it must be the same. Every meal of every day has sambar, rasam and some poriyal. The only alternatives to the Sambhar are mor kuzhambu and vatha kuzhambu. No amount of complaints could change it. The more I pestered mom for a different dish every day, I got more scoldings. So at that adolescent age, it got clearly etched in my mind that when I grow up I would never make sambar this frequently. But for rice, you need a gravy, some kind of kuzhambu or rasam to go with it. You see, since we have a rice-dominant gene, we could never ever be without having rice at least for one meal.
Thengai aracha kuzhambu
It simply translates to a kuzhambu made with ground coconut. Thengai means coconut in Tamil hence the name thengai aracha kuzhambu. It is a kuzhambu made from ground coconut without using lentils. Kuzhambu literally means mix. It is a type of gravy that we, south Indians mix with rice. The most beloved sambar also falls under this category.
Do you know the difference between a sambar and kuzhambu ?
- Kuzhambu in general does not have lentils. If a kuzhambu uses toor dal, then it becomes a sambar.
- They are both tamarind based gravy and uses veggies. The masala that goes in might differ from recipe to recipe.
Things to note while making thengai aracha kuzhambu
- The main flavouring agent in this is fenugreek (methi) and coconut. Be careful to not add too much of methi seeds. The dish will be bitter.
- Try to use freshly grated coconut or the frozen ones. They give a different flavour than the desiccated coconut. But in certain places, even in Munich, we don't have access to the fresh ones. Then use unsweetened desiccated coconut.
- Do not skip the rice or rice flour. Sometimes, after adding the ground coconut, the masala might separate and it might become runny.
- Since this is a mild curry, pair it with a spicy veggie side dish like potato roast (urulai poriyal) or colocasia roast (sepankizhangu roast) etc...
See here for more such South Indian kuzhambu varieties.
Kuzhambu flavoured with freshly ground roasted fenugreek seeds and coconut along with red chillies. A simple kuzhambu to pair with white rice.
- 1 teaspoon tamarind paste mixed in 1 Cup water
- 1 teaspoon oil
- 1 cup cubed veggies (either or mix of carrot, onion, drumstick or ash gourd)
- ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
- ½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds refer notes
- 1.5 teaspoon urad dal
- 4 to 5 dry red chillies
- 4 tablespoon freshly grated coconut or 3 tablespoon unsweetened desiccated coconut refer notes
- 1 teaspoon rice or ½ teaspoon rice flour refer notes
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- ¼ teaspoon mustard seeds
- 3 to 4 curry leaves (fresh or frozen), torn
- 2 dry red chillies, break it into half
Heat a teaspoon of oil in a pan or kadai. Add the chopped veggies and fry for half a minute. Then add the tamarind extract, salt, turmeric powder and let it boil.
- Boil it for about 10 minutes. Once the veggies become tender to bite and the raw smell of the tamarind leaves, add the ground paste.
Reduce the flame to medium-low. Mix everything well and bring the kuzhambu to boil for about 5-7 minutes. Add some water if it is very thick.
Tempering: Heat a tablespoon of oil in a Kadai | Pan over medium high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the mustard seeds and let it splutter. Then add the curry leaves, red chillies and fry for a second. Pour this over the kuzhambu mixture.
- Finally garnish it with coriander leaves and turn off the flame.
Serving: Serve this with plain white rice and some veggies on the side.
Shelf Life: Since it has coconut, you cannot keep this for more than a day. If you are planning to save some for later, cool the kuzhambu and transfer the portion to a separate container and refrigerate it immediately.
- If you have not used fenugreek seeds in your cooking, use ¼ teaspoon and as you get used to the flavour, increase the quantity. If you use the fenugreek seeds in excess, the dish will become bitter. Always use it cautiously.
- You can use either fresh or frozen grated/shredded coconut. If you are not able to get either of these, use unsweetened desiccated coconut.
- The addition of rice is to thicken the gravy. You can also use rice flour instead.
Calories: 1 serving is 1 cup of Kuzhambu