Vengayam (pearl onion) vendaya kuzhambu

Vatha kuzhambu is usually made with vathals or dried vegetables like sundaikkai, manathakkaali or kothavarankai. There are different ways of making vatha kuzhambu also and each variation is tasty in its own right. Todays kuzhambu is called vendaya kuzhambu which is made with fresh vegetables like onions, pumpkin, eggplant, okra etc. What I like about this recipe is a slight dominance of the flavour and aroma of  additional fenugreek seeds making this a very aromatic, tangy and spicy dish.

A friend of mine used to ask me to make this for her whenever she returned from her travels and I would ask her over for dinner. She said nothing could give her more comfort than this kuzhambu. She would say “ஒட்டிக்க ஒட்டிக்க ஒரு வெந்தயக்குழம்மு பண்ணால் போரும்” where the consistency would be so thick that it would stick to one’s fingers when you eat it.

Tamarind – size of a large lemon
Tuvar dal – 1 tsp
Fenugreek seeds – 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Sambar powder – 1-2 tsp (to taste)
Asafoetida – a pinch
Salt – to taste
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Dried red chillies – 2
Curry leaves – 8-10
Sesame oil – 1 tbsp
Jaggery – 1/2 tsp

Vegetable – of your choice cut into 1” cubes. I have used pearl onions

For the spice mix
Raw rice – 1 tsp
Fenugreek seeds – 1/2 tsp
Dried red chillies – 2

Make 2 cups of tamarind water and keep aside. In a kadai heat the oil and pop the mustard seeds. Add the tuvar dal, fenugreek seeds, chillies and asafoetida. When golden brown add the onions and curry leaves and fry for a minute or so. Now add the tamarind water, salt,  turmeric and sambar powder. Continue cooking till the onions are cooked and the raw tamarind smell has gone. Add the jaggery and then the spice mix.

For the spice mix dry roast and grind finely the rice, fenugreek seeds and chilies. Mix this in some water and add to the kuzhambu when tamarind smell has gone. Allow to boil till the kuzhambu thickens and comes together. Remove from stove. Serve with hot rice and ghee. Also great with venpongal and tayir sadam. Serves 4.

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