Vathal Kuzhambu is a spicy tangy curry made with dried berries in India. There is definitely many versions of Vathal Kuzhambu, some use onions and tomatoes, you can also make vathal kuzhambu without them.
As someone who is a big fan of this wonderful combination of sweet, tangy and spicy recipes, I like to eat it with hot rice and a dollop of ghee or even as an accompaniment to indian style tempered curd rice.
Some pointers before you start the recipe.
- Using sesame oil makes a big difference to the flavors of the dish. It is also said to be an important component in balancing the nature of tamarind. Which is said to have more of a cooling property.
- like already mentioned, the same recipe can be made with onions and tomatoes and without. without the onions and tomatoes it tends to even last longer than 1 week.
- I have used onion vathal and manathakkali vathal in this recipe. You can substitute with any variety of vathal of your choice. or even completely skip the dried berries and make the recipe
- If you don’t have sambar powder, you may add 2 tsp red chilli powder, 1 and 1/2 tsp coriander powder, 1/4 tsp fenugreek powder.
- 50 ml Sesame oil
- 1 tsp Mustard seeds
- 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
- 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 tbsp Vengaya vathal
- 1 tbsp Manathakkali vathal
- 1/2 Onion (finely chipped)
- 6-7 pods Garlic pods (large size, sliced)
- 1 & 1/2 tbsp Sambar podi
- salt ( to taste)
- 1 piece Jaggary (1 big piece or use I tsp sugar)
- 1 big lemon sized Tamarind (soaked in water)
- 1 cup Water (or more to adjust consistency)
- 1. In a small cup add tamarind to warm water and let it soak for 10 mins and once it becomes soft, pulp it and extract the tamarind juice out of it. Add more water if required to extract most tamarind juice out of it.
- 2. In a kadai/wok, add sesame oil and heat it to medium heat. Once hot add in mustard and crackle it. Next add fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds and sauté for a few seconds, add the vengaya vathal and the manathakkali vathal. And salute for 1 or 2 minutes until this the vathals are fried nicely.
- 3. Next add in the chopped onions and garlic and sauté with some salt until onions are slightly browned.
- 4. Next add in the tamarind extract and the water cover and boil until the raw flavors of the tamarind is cooked through. This would take about 10 minutes on medium flame.
- 5. When the tamarind extract is bubbling boiled and all the rawness of cooked off add in the sambar powder. If you prefer more spice add a little bit more of redchilli powder. Add water and cook in covered with a lid in medium flame until the masalas are cooked off.
- 6. Finally after boiling it down you’ll start to see that the gravy is thickened and has slightly started to ooze oil on the sides.
- 7. Add in powdered jaggary or sugar to add some sweetness to balance out the sharp taste of the tamarind and spices.
- 8. Continue to cook in medium flame for about 10 minutes. Vathal kuzhambu would have to reduce nicely and thick to a creamy consistency.
- 9. Turn off the flame and serve hot with rice and appalam.