Thamarai thandu (lotus root) vathal kuzhambu

Lotus root as the name implies is the root of the lotus plant. It has a wide range of health benefits owing to its rich nutritional composition. It improves digestion,  reduces cholesterol, lowers blood pressure, boosts the immune system, increases the blood circulation, and maintain proper enzymatic activity in the body. The fresh root can be made into North Indian subji, pickles and South Indian vathal kuzhambu. Today I have used the salted and dried lotus root (வத்தல்) for the vathal kuzhambu.

These days vathal kuzhambu and vendiya kuzhambu (recipe here) are used interchangeably. However, traditionally, vathal kuzhambu used to be made only with salted dried vegetables, particularly in seasons when fresh ones were not easily available.
Lotus root vathal – 1/2 cup
Tamarind – size of 1 large lemon
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Vathal kuzhambu powder – 1 tsp
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Tuvar dal – 1 tsp
Dried red chillies – 2-3
Fenugreek seeds – 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves – 10
Asafoetida – a pinch
Salt – to taste
Jaggery – 1/2 tsp
Sesame seed oil – 3 tbsp
Fry the vathal in 2 tbsp of sesame oil and keep aside. Make 2-3 cups tamarind water from the pulp and keep aside. In a kadai add the remaining oil, pop mustard seeds and the tuvar dal, fenugreek seeds and asafoetida. Add 3/4 of the fried lotus root and mix well. Add the turmeric, vathal kuzhambu powder, salt, jaggery and mix well. Now add the curry leaves and tamarind water and allow to boil. Reduce the heat and boil until the smell of raw tamarind is gone. Mix well till the vathal kuzhambu comes together and thickens. Remove from stove and garnish with the remaining fried lotus root. Serve hot with rice, cooked moong dal and ghee. Serves 4.