Saturday, 20 March 2010

Vatha Kuzhambu

Kalyana Vatha Kuzhambhu

During our trip to India, my husband and I decided to do something interesting and that was to join a cookery class. While he chose the recipes he wanted to learn I chose my own set of recipes. The person teaching was also from Kumbakonam and so I was expecting the same meticulous attitude towards cooking and I should say that she did not disappoint me that way. We usually call this dish vatha kuzhambu and when I saw kalyana vatha kuzhambu on her list, I assumed it would be different from what I do and chose to learn it. However, it turned out that the recipe was the same as my mom’s and it is one of the few items I would very often cook in my school days and would get loads of appreciation from my parents. Now I learn that my sister-in-law and also my close friend’s wife like vatha kuzhambu so here I share my recipe (with due credit to mom).
1 teaspoon channa dal (kadalai paruppu)
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 ½ to 2 tablespoon kuzhambu podi
1 lemon sized tamarind
Oil preferably gingely oil (sesame seed oil)
2 pinches of turmeric powder
1 gooseberry (amla/nellikai) size jaggery
Salt to taste
2 to 3 urd appalam
2 to 3 tablespoon manathakkali vathal
In a kadai, heat some gingely oil and add mustard seeds. After it splutters, add fenugreek seeds, channa dal, turmeric powder, asafoetida, manathakkali vathal and fry until the dal turns brown. Add the kuzhambu podi and fry until the raw smell begins to fade. Now add tamarind water. You could also use tamarind paste. In general vatha kuzhambu is suppose to be quite sour and hot so you may want to increase or decrease the tamarind quantity depending on your taste. Allow the mixture to boil and come together like a thick sauce. Add required amount of salt and jaggery and dilute with water to achieve required consistency and allow to boil. Vathal kuzhambu is usually best thick so do not add a lot of water initially. Let the kuzhambu cool for a while and add broken pieces of deep fried urd appalam. It would be delicious as it soaks all the taste. Depending on your taste you could add karuvepilai or curry leaves and dry red chillies while tempering. To enhance the taste add about a teaspoon of gingely oil after removing from stove. If the kuzhambu has become watery, you could make a paste of rice flour and add to the kuzhambu and ensure you allow it to boil well otherwise the rice flour would be uncooked.
This dish can either be mixed with rice or best eaten with curd rice. It is not exactly a nutritiously rich dish so I would not do this very often but as it is hot and spicy and easy and quick to make I make it once or twice in a month. I also take this with rice mixed with dal powder (paruppu podi). It is important to have something cooling like yogurt/curd whenever you have vatha kuzhambu.


  1. what is this kuzhambu poder is it chille daniya haldi powder together

  2. Hi Taroor, kuzhambu powder is dry red chilly, turmeric, dhaniya, little bit channa dal, urd dal, toordal and fenugreek. usually we grind it in a shop with dedicated mills to make such a powder. If not, small quantities can be ground at home, do let me know if you need exact proportions.Cheers