Saturday, December 21, 2013

Masala Kuzhambu

Weekend lunches are meant to be special and doze-inducing for us. Either we indulge ourselves in a rich restaurant Biryani or cook a lavish meal at home. As we don't cook meat at home, I compensate the menu with some masala rich, spicy foods. The use of poppy seeds makes this dish a mild sedative. Masaal Kuzhambu easily frequents into our sunday lunches. It tastes much like a hybrid of Kurma and Sambar. 
The key flavor profile of this dish comes from the use of 'Kalpaasi/black stone flower' and 'Fennel seeds/Sombu'.

Kal Paasi
  You will need:
1 Drum Stick
3-4 Brinjals (Small sized)
1 Cup Pearl onions, peeled
5 Garlic pods, peeled
Tamarind, gooseberry sized (soaked and extracted to 3 cups)
1 tbsp Poppy seeds, soaked in 1/4 cup warm water for 15 minutes
2 tbsp coconut, grated
A small piece of jaggery/ 1 tsp sugar
1 tsp Fennel seeds/saunf/sombu
1 tbsp Sambar powder
Salt to taste

To temper
2 tbsp Gingely(Sesame) oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
A pinch of Asafetida /hing
1 inch piece of cassia bark (Pattai in Tamil)
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 clove
1/2 tsp Kal paasi 
2 sprigs of curry leaves


1. Finely chop the pearl onions. Cut the drumstick and brinjal in equal sizes.

2. Heat oil in a kadai, add mustard seeds, hing, cassia bark, fenugreek and Kal paasi. Let the whole spices crackle. Add the curry leaves, garlic and chopped onions

3. Fry until the onions are cooked. Add the cut vegetables and fry for few minutes.

4. Pour the tamarind extract. Add sambar powder and salt.

5. Grind together, fennel seeds, coconut and poppy seeds into a fine paste

6. Add this paste into the bubbling kuzhambu. Mix well and taste the kuzhambu at this stage. Add  more salt and jaggery/sugar as per taste. Let the gravy simmer for 8-10 minutes or till the drum sticks are tender.

Serve with steaming rice, poriyal and Appalam!

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