Mor means curd in Tamil, and Kozambu means gravy or thick soup. The basic ingredients for Morkozambu are curd and spices. The dish is tastier if a slightly sour curd is used. Watery vegetables like cucumber, chow-chow and ash gourd lend a special taste to Morkuzambu. Vegetables like okra, brinjal, and capsicum can be sautéed and added to the kozambu. Cooked drumsticks can be added for a special flavour. Tubers like colocasia are also used. Vattals or Sun dried vegetables are another option. You can fry them and add to this kozambu.
Morkozambu always brings back memories of an incident during my childhood. My Pati (grandmother) used to prepare excellent ash gourd Morkuzambu. I was about four years old when I sat down for lunch with my mouth watering for the dish, she also served roasted potato curry with it. All hell was let loose and I started howling and howling. I loved to eat both the dishes with rice. But as I was very young at that time, I could manage to have only one course per meal. My Pati burst out laughing when she learnt about my predicament. After much persuasion, she finally helped me ‘tic-tac-toe’ and I decided to have the morkuzambu with great relish!
Paruppu urundai (lentil dumpling) morkozambu is a specialty. Serve it with hot steamed white rice and a dollop of ghee. Here is how we prepare it.
INGREDIENTS FOR PARUPPU URUNDAI / LENTIL DUMPLING
Tur dal (Red gram) – 1 cup
Dry red chillies – 3
Salt - ½ tsp
Asafoetida – 1 pinch
Soak the dal and red chillies for 40 minutes.
Drain all water and grind coarsely with asafoetida and salt.
Take the coarse mixture and shape into small dumplings.
Steam them in a pressure cooker for 10 minutes without the weight.
Allow it to cool.
INGREDIENTS FOR THE MORKOZAMBU/ CURD GRAVY
For the gravySlightly soured curds – 3 cups
Salt – 1 ½ tsp
Turmeric - 1 pinch
Fresh chopped corriander leaves – 1 tbsp
For the spice pasteBengal gram dal (chana dal) – 1 tbsp
Coriander seeds – 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Fenugreek seeds – 1/4tsp
Mustard seeds – 1/4tsp
Green chillies - 3
Freshly grated coconut – 1 tbsp.
Except for coconut and chillies, soak these ingredients in a little water for 20 minutes.
Grind all the ingredients with the chillies and coconut to make a paste.
For the Seasoning
Cooking oil -1 tsp
Mustard seeds – ¼ tsp
Fenugreek seeds -1/4 tsp
Red chillies - 2
Curry leaves – 10
1) Blend the spice paste into the sour curds, along with salt and turmeric powder.
2) Now we have to add the seasoning. Heat oil and add the mustard seeds. When the mustard splutters add fenugreek seeds and red chillies. When the fenugreek turns reddish and aromatic, switch off the flame. Add curry leaves while oil is still hot, and pour this seasoning into the spiced curd.
3) Blend the curd mixture (kozambu) well and place it on a low flame.
4) Next, add the paruppu urundai (steamed lentil balls) into the kozambu without breaking them.
Note: Cooked vegetables or sautéed vegetables can be added instead of the urundais for a vegetable morkuzambu.
5) Cook until the kozambu bubbles, gently stirring now and then.
6) Remove from the flame before it boils.
7) Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve with steamed white rice and a dollop of ghee.