8 May 2018

Pointed Gourd Kuzhambu

         There are several varieties of stews in our country, closest relative in Tamil Nadu being Kuzhambu. Sambaar, Vettral Kuzhambu, Ara puli, Iru puli, they all come under this category. Basic concept being the simmering of Tamarind extract with spices and in some cases, lentils too and vegetables of choice.
Today mom made this Aracha vitta kuzhambu, which literally translates to Stew with ground spices/paste. While it can be made with almost any vegetable - white pumpkin, capsicum, Okra and many more, she made it with Pointed gourd (Kovakkai / Kundru / Thondekkayi)


Pointed gourd / Kovakkai/Kundru - 1/2 cup, thin round slices
Dry red chilies - 4, medium
Bengal gram /Chana dal - 1 tsp
Pigeon peas, Arahar dal - 1 tsp
Fenugreek / Methi seeds - 1/2 tsp
Tamarind - cherry sized piece
Coconut oil - 1/2 tsp + 1 tsp
Fresh Coconut, grated - 1/4 cup
Salt to taste
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
For Tempering:
Coconut oil - 1 tsp
Curry leaves
Split black gram / Urad dal - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
1. Pressure cook the kovakkai / pointed gourd using very little water.
2. Heat 1/2 tsp coconut oil in a kadhai, roast red chilies and lentils till aroma is released.
3. Now add the grated coconut and roast till golden brown. Finally add methi seeds and roast, taking care not to let it brown too much. Let cool and grind to a fine paste using little water.
4. In a saucepan, add tamarind extract to the cooked kovakkai along with salt to taste & turmeric powder. Let simmer till the raw aroma leaves the tamarind. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat.
5. Now add a little water to the ground paste, mix well to remove lumps and add it to the simmering mix.
6. Pour 1 tsp coconut oil over the simmering stew. Let simmer for 2 more minutes, then remove.
7. For tempering, heat coconut oil, add mustard seeds, curry leaves and urad dal. Add to the stew.
Serve hot with rice, rotis or Dosas.