Most authentic Tamil recipes uses tamarind. Be it sambhar, kuzhambhu, kootu or rasam tamarind plays a major role in Tamilian cuisine .
Any tamarind based sauce with a main ingredient and without dhal is called 'Kuzhambhu' ('z' is pronounced as 'lha'). The name varies as per the main vegetable or ingredient added to it like poondu kuzhambhu or kathirikai kuzhambhu etc., I think we can just start a whole event on just kuzhambhu varieties alone :) .But I hate when people call anything and everything 'curry' when certain dishes has its own name .
Anyways while growing up the typical lunch menu for a week in my household would go something like this. Tuesday and Friday - sambhar , Saturdays - kuzhambhu with any dried beans like mochai, black channa, karamani/black eyed beans, Mondays would be any vegetable kootu/mor kuzhambhu , wednesday - seafood/any veggie kuzhambhu and sundays will definitely be a feast with Non-Veg.
Coming from a family that has kulambhu for atleast 3 days in a week JFI - Tamarind was a delight to participate.
Here is an authentic recipe for parrupu urundai kuzhambhu.
The lentils are soaked , grinded, made into balls and steamed.Then these are added to the spicy boiling sauce.Though the ingredients and the recipe looks lengthy its worth the effort.
This kuzhambhu served with rice and keerai /greens poriyal makes a perfect meal.
For the Urundai/dumplings:
1 cup Toor dhal
1 medium onion finly chopped
1 tblsp chopped coriander leaves
2 red chilies
1/4 tsp sombhu/fennel seeds
1/2 tsp jeera seeds
Soak the dhal in water for 2-3 hours
Roast the red chillies, sombhu and jeera in a medium flame for few minutes.
Add them to the soaked dhal and grind coarsly. Make sure its not watery.
To the grinded dhal add choped onion, garlic , salt and coriander leaves.
Make it into lime sized balls and the steam it using the idli plates for 10 mins.
Cool the dumplings.
1 medium onion
5-6 garlic cloves
1/2 inch ginger finely chopped
2 medium tomatoes
lemon sized tamarind ball soaked in water or 2 tsp of thick tamarind paste soaked in 1/4 cup water.
2 tsp coriander seeds
10 red chillies
1/2 tsp jeera
1/4 tsp sombhu/fennel
Dry fry all the above in a pan and grind it to a powder.
Alternatively you can also add water and grind it to a paste.
Mustard - 1/2 tsp
fenugreek /vendhaiyam - 1/2 tsp
few curry leaves
Chop the onion garlic and ginger, and tomatoes keep aside.
Add a few tblsp of oil and add the tempering ingredients.When the mustard pop add the chopped onion garlic and ginger and fry well.
Add the tomatoes when the onion is golden brown.
When the tomatoes turn into a pulp add the tamarind water, salt , the grinded masala and turmeric powder.Add 3 cups of water and allow it boil for 10 mins.
Now add the steamed lentil balls /urundai's and allow it to boil for another 7-8 mins.
Allow it to rest for atleast one hour before serving.The sauce thickens as it cools.
If the sauce is watery break one or two dumplings and dissolve in the sauce.
This delicious kuzhambhu goes to the JFI event hosted by Sig with the theme as Tamarind for this month.
Click here for another kuzhambu recipe that uses black eyed peas
This dish also goes to this months "Eat Healthy - Protein rich" event by Sangeeth