Monday, April 6, 2009
VELLARIKKAI MENTHYA KUZHAMBU
Cucumber Fenugreek Tamarind Gravy
Tingalnagavalli is a function celebrated on the 30th day after a wedding. It was customary to have a nalangu or a get together on this day where the bride and groom were fussed all over once again.
On my Tingalnagavalli day, though we did not have any traditional ceremonies, my father-in-law decided to invite all his friends for dinner. My mother-in-law prepared an elaborate and delicious dinner, while I ran around assisting her. My sister-in-law and me served the sumptuous hot meal on the green banana leaves. The guests treated themselves amidst good humour and animated chatters. They praised and blessed my mother-in-law for the delicious and lavish dinner. I was taken aback when I heard my father-in-law’s loud statement – “Thair pachadi was very good!” That dish was my meager single handed contribution for the dinner! When I come across men who keep pecking about even a minute shortcoming in the meal, or the ones who keep a long drawn poker face even if you had served the heavenly nectar on their platter, I always remember my father-in-law for his thoughtfulness and culture. His comment not only made me happy by enriching my self esteem, but it also inspired me to learn more.
He savored my simple vellarikkai menthya kuzhambu with paruppu chutney and roasted papad with the same excitement and relish, as he would the rich and complicated Bisibele Bath.
Cucumber – 1Tamarind – 1 lime size
Salt – 2 tsps
Sambar powder – 2.5 tsps
Sesame oil - 3 tsps
Asafoetida – ¼ tsp
Mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp
Fenugreek seeds – ½ tsp
Bengal gram dal – 1 tbsp
Curry leaves – a few
Red chillies – 3
Rice flour – 2 tsps
METHOD:1. Soak tamarind in warm water and extract the juice.
2. Scrape (Peel can be retained if preferred) and cut the cucumber into cubes discarding the seeds if they are hard.
3. Add salt and sambar powder to the tamarind juice.
4. Heat oil in a pan and add the mustard seeds.
5. When it splutters add the fenugreek seeds and the Bengal gram dal.
6. When it becomes golden in colour add the asafoetida powder and broken red chillies.
7. Add curry leaves and pour the seasoning into the tamarind juice and boil.
8. When it starts to boil add the cucumber cubes .
9. Cover with a lid and cook on slow fire.
10. When the cucumber is glassy and done make a paste with rice flour and water and add it to the kozhambu.
11. Switch off flame when the kuzhambu thickens giving out a heavenly aroma.
Relish the hot spicy and tangy menthya kuzhambu with hot rice and a spoon of thick ghee.
We've got few enquiries on the versatile sambar powder from this post, which finds uses in so many dishes and recipes in this blog, other than just Sambar! We will do a post very soon on Sambar powder to answer all those questions!