Mochai, coconut milk and garlic kaara kuzhambu

Viji Ganesh, a friend of mine, had given me this kuzhambu to taste. She had got the recipe from her domestic helper. And once I tasted it, I was hooked. This is a bold and flavourful kuzhambu and I was sniffing my hands many hours after eating this with my lunch. There is absolutely nothing subtle about this kuzhambu and it truly packs a punch. If your palate is anything like mine, this will soon become a staple in your home.

Mochai – 1 cup
Garlic – 15 – 20 cloves
Coconut milk – from half a coconut
Tamarind pulp – 1 large lemon sized ball
Tomatoes (chopped) – 2
Onion (chopped) – 1 medium size
Green chillies (slit lengthwise) – 2
Curry leaves – 10-15
Sambar/vatha kuzhambu powder – 1 tsp (to taste)
Red chilli powder – 1/2 tsp (to taste)
Turmeric powder – 1/2 powder
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek seeds – 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida – 1/4 tsp
Salt – to taste
Sesame oil – 2 tsp

Mochai is the seed of the mochai bean also called field bean or mochaikottai. If you don’t have mochai you can use Lima beans or any large beans instead of mochai. If you have the dried dehydrated beans, soak and cook with some water in a pressure cooker before adding to the kuzhambu.


Now for the recipe. Heat the oil in a pot and add the mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds and asafoetida. Then add the garlic and onions and fry well. Now add the tomatoes and stir till tomatoes are soft. Finally add the mochai and give it a stir.  Add turmeric powder, sambar powder and salt. Now add the tamarind water and allow to boil and cook till the raw smell of tamarind and garlic disappears.

The coconut milk has to be extracted in three different degrees of concentration. Add a cup of water to the chopped up coconut and grind well. Strain and remove this milk. This will be the thickest of the coconut milks. Set it aside. Now add about 3/4 cup water to the coconut pulp and give it another swirl. Extract this milk also and set aside in a different cup. Add some more water to the pulp and grind again. Strain to get a very dilute cup of coconut milk and set aside.

After the raw smell of tamarind and garlic has gone, add the most dilute coconut milk and continue cooking. After it has all come together add the second cup of coconut milk and continue cooking. Finally add the thickest coconut milk. Do not allow to boil too much after this has been added. Remove from stove and enjoy with hot rice and ghee. Serves 4.

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