Cauliflower Poricha Kuzhambu

My husband is working from home today, and I wanted to make a good lunch. Been bored of the usual sambar and puli kulambu, I wanted to try something very different. I had once written down the recipe for ‘Cauliflower Poricha Kuzhambu’ from the book ‘Dakshin – Vegetarian Cuisine from South India’ by Chandra Padmanabhan. This book is one of my favorite books, because of the way she showcases South Indian cuisine, and her clear instructions. I always feel bad that when people think of ‘Indian’ cuisine, it is limited to the cuisine of the North and also that many ‘Indian’ restaurants here in the US fail to showcase the versatile nature of what Indian food is. The pictures in Chandra’s book are awesome too…I am always skeptical of cookbooks that don’t have a picture of the dish(a big complaint I have against Mr. Bittman is this). How else am I to know, how the end product is supposed to be?

Anyway, I had cauliflower on hand, and I decided to make this kuzhambu for lunch.

Ingredients:

1 whole head cauliflower, cut into florets

1 cup moong dal or 1/2 cup toor dal ( I used moong dal)

2 roma tomatoes quartered

1 1/2 tsp sambar powder

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1/2 cup coconut milk (canned)

2 tsp rice flour (optional)

salt to taste

Paste:

1 tsp coriander seeds

1 tsp urad dal

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 cup coconut grated

1/2 tsp asafoetida

Tempering:

2 tsp oil/ghee

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp urad dal

1 whole red chilly

curry leaves

Method:

If using toor dal. Pressure cook dal, and cook the cauliflower seperately.

If using moong dal, place it in a heavy bottomed pan along with the cauliflower florets, turmeric powder, sambar powder and salt. Cover with enough water and let it cook over medium heat until the dal is just soft and the florets are tender.

Meanwhile, dry roast the ingredients for the paste in a pan – first add the coriander seeds, urad dal and pepper corns and fry over medium heat until fragrant. Add the asafoetida and the coconut and saute until the coconut turns a light brown. Remove, cool and grind to a fine paste by adding a little water.

When the cauliflower is cooked well, add the quartered tomatoes and the paste. Let it simmer until well blended. Finally add the coconut milk and bring to a boil. If you think that the kuzhambu needs thickening, dissolve the rice flour in some water and add it finally. Since, I used canned coconut milk that was pretty thick , I didn’t add the rice flour, and it was the right consistency for me.

Just before serving, do the tadka by heating oil in a small pan. When hot, add mustard seeds and let it splutter. Add the urad dal and when it turns brown, add the whole red chilly and curry leaves. Add the tadka to the kuzhambu. Serve hot with rice.

I served it with potato spicy fry – urulaikizhangu kara kari.

The author suggests that you could use ridge gourd(peerkangai) or snake gourd(pudalangai) to make the same kuzhambu. I have tried the same kuzhambu with toor dal too.

Verdict: It tasted like a cross between sambar and kootu. Kindof like arachivitta sambar, but the pepper makes it different. Very comforting to eat with rice and if you like cauliflower, you will definitely like this kuzhambu.

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