Vatha Kuzhambu might be one of my favorite South Indian dishes of all. This spicy tangy curry is made with a tamarind base and is tempered with spices.
Shanti’s Vatha Kuzhambu
1 tbp. oil ( gingely oil or til preferable)
1 tsp. hing (asafetida)
1 tsp rai ( black mustard seeds)
2 sprigs curry leaves
2 cups of whole sambar onions (small shallots) – or pearl onions.
5 cups of tamarind water ( recipe given below)
1 tsp. haldi ( turmeric powder)
½ cup sambar powder ( or homemade sambar podi)
5 cups of water
2” piece of tamarind (you can buy this in whole blocks)
• Using your hands, squeeze the tamarind and mix all the pulp with the water.
• Strain out the liquid and set aside.
• Heat oil.
• Add 1 tsp. rai.
• Add a few whole red chilies to taste.
• Add 1 tsp. hing.
• Add curry leaves and 2 cups of whole sambar onions ( small shallots) – or pearl onions.
• Add 5 cups of tamarind water.
• Add 1 tsp. haldi.
• Add ½ cup of sambar powder.
• Add a little water, chili powder to taste and simmer for ½ hour.
• Add 2 tbsp. jaggery and mix well.
• Let the mixture come to one or two boils.
• Adjust seasonings and serve hot with white rice.