Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Vatta Kozhambu

Vatta Kozhambu is one of the most frequently cooked dish by my mother. And i still maintain that nobody cooks it better than her. This dish is a gravy that can be had with hot n steaming rice along with papads (in fact vatta kozhambu with sutta appalam is a very endearing combo and one to die for ). Vatta Kozhambu is a spicy tamarind gravy made without dals (lentils) and vegetables. I must add that over the years my mother has made this dish with a few vegetables like onions/shallots, drumstick, capsicum. But the authentic vatta kozhambu is sans any vegetable. It can also be made with vathal sundakai (dried pea eggplant), manathakkali vathals or any other vathals like pavakkai vathal
And anybody who has had rice with this gravy will keep coming back for more....

*Tamarind (lemon sized,
*Groundnuts( a few---optional),
*bengalgram(a few----optional),
*Sambhar Powder,
*Salt to taste,
*a pinch of turmeric powder,
*Gingelly/Til Oil ( any other oil can also be used----- but til oil brings out the best taste),
*fenugreek seeds,
*curry leaves.

Before i begin to explain how the dish is done let me say a few words about the sambhar powder. This powder readily available in stores is made from a mix of coriander seeds, bengal gram, red chillis, urad dal and fenugreek seeds !

Peel the cover of the shallots and keep them aside.
Extract the pulp from the soaked tamarind and keep it aside.
Now in a heavy bottomed vessel add a little oil and put mustard and when it starts to splutter add fenugreek seeds and a few curry leaves. Now add 2-3 heaped spoons of sambhar powder and let it fry in the oil. This not only eliminates the rawness of the powder but also gives it a good colour. Now add the vegetables/vattals and stir it for a few minutes.

Now add the tamarind pulp and add 4-5 glasses of water. Bring it to a boil and allow it to simmer. Once the water starts reducing in half, add some more water and allow it to simmer too. The more it cooks, the better it is. After the raw taste of tamarind disappears add some more water. Now take some rice flour ina bowl, mix it with water to a smooth paste and add it to the gravy. This brings a thick consistency. Finally before switching off gas add a spoon of gingelly oil and close the lid.

Vatta Kozhambu is ready to be served with rice. You can refrigerate the same for 2-3 days and the taste remains as fresh as ever. Dig in to it and keep coming back for more
"Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all"

So love , cook n enjoy !!!!

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