Vendhaya Vendaikkai Kuzhambu

I see the different events created and hosted by fellow foodies, as an invitation to try new dishes, as a challenge and something that caters to my quest for trying different kinds of foods. For ‘Cooking with Seeds – Fenugreek’ event, I wanted to try something I had not tried before. I got this recipe from ‘Mallika Badrinath – Lunches’ Cookbook. It turned out to be a very flavorful and spicy kuzhambu.

2 tsp canola oil
250 g vendaikkai or okra cut into 1 inch lengths
1 large onion, quartered and sliced into thin strips
1/4 cup thick tamarind extract
1/4 cup cooked toor dal(optional)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste
jaggery a pinch(optional)
cilantro to garnish

1 tsp oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
1/4 tsp asafoetida
a sprig of curry leaves

To grind:
10 red chillies
1 tsp fenugreek
1 tbsp channa dal
3 cloves garlic
4 small onions
2 tbsp grated coconut

Add 1 tsp oil to a wide heavy bottomed pan over medium high heat. Add the onions and fry until soft. Add the okra and fry. Add turmeric powder, salt, tamarind extract and water enough to cover the vegetables. Cover and cook until the okra is soft.

Meanwhile, in a seperate pan over medium heat, add the other tsp of oil, add the items in ‘to grind’ section, and fry until golden brown. Let cool and grind it into a very fine paste.

When the okra is cooked, add the toor dal if using, the ground paste and cook until the kuzhambu thickens and the raw smell of all the spices is gone. Take care not to cook the kuzhambu too long at this stage, or the ground fenugreek may render a bitter taste to the kuzhambu. Make the seasoning by spluttering the spices and curry leaves in hot oil and add it to the kuzhambu. Serve hot with rice.

Verdict: This kuzhambu was spicy and tangy, and it sortof was like a cross between a sambar and a pulikuzhambu. Cooking the okra in the tamarind extract added a lot of flavor to the okra and also eliminated the sliminess of the vegetable. It tasted wonderful too. You can really pick up the flavor of the fenugreek both in the kuzhambu and in the tadka seasoning that comes in the end.

This is my entry to this month’s ‘Think Spice’ Event, originally started by Sunitha and featuring ‘Fenugreek’ this month, hosted by Priya of MharoRajasthan.

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