Vathal kuzhambu, a spicy, tangy accompaniment to rice is one of my favorite dishes. It is a classic traditional tamil brahmin recipe that goes well with both plain rice and curd rice. The term “vathal” means “sun dried vegetable”. We have a variety of vathals – sundakkai (turkey berry), manathakkali (wonder berry), lady’s finger, kothavarangai (cluster beans) etc. We can even make this with small onions, garlic, orange peels(one of my favorite), capsicum,ladysfinger, beetroot etc.The recipe I have posted here is made using manathakali vathal.
- 1 tbsp manathakali (or vathal of your choice)
- 1 gooseberry sized tamarind
- 1 tsp fenugreek seeds
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1 tsp channa dhal
- a pinch of asafoetida/hing
- one sprig curry leaves
- 2 tbsp sesame oil (or canola/vegetable oil)
- 3 tsp sambar powder
- 1/2 tsp jaggery
- 1/4 tsp turmeric
- salt to taste
Extract juice from the tamarind by soaking the tamarind in 2 1/2 cups of water. Once the juice is extracted discard its pulp.
In a kadai, add sesame oil and once its hot add the tempering items- mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, curry leaves, asafoetida, chana dhal.Let the mustard seeds splutter.Then add the vathals and saute for few seconds until they are fried.( If you want to add onions, add it before u add the vathals and saute it till it turns transparent and then add the vathals)
Add the extracted tamarind juice to the kadai and add salt, turmeric powder and sambar powder to it.
Let it cook in a medium flame for 20 minutes until you see the mixture thicken lightly and the oil leaves the sides of the kadai/pan.
When it is done, add the jaggery and switch of the flame.
Serve with plain rice or with curd rice!