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Kuzhambu

Kuzhambu
Stuffed Eggplant curry.jpg
Ennai kathirikkai kuzhambu (Stuffed eggplant kuzhambu)
Place of originTamil Nadu, India
Region or stateSri Lanka and South India
Created by/
Main ingredientstamarind, vegetables

Kuzhambu (Tamil: குழம்பு), is a common dish in Tamil cuisines and Sri Lankan Tamil , and is a tamarind based dish that can include a variety of vegetables, and in some cases, dal.

Kuzhambu is a watery dish based on a broth made with tamarind, a blend of spices that include ground coriander seeds, fenugreek, and toor dal, and can include fresh or dried vegetables, blended fresh coconut, or dried lentil balls (vadagam, Tamil: வடகம்). It can be made watery like a broth or thick like a gravy. The dish is very popular as a side for rice in the northern regions of Sri Lanka and the southern regions of India especially in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala. In Andhra kuzhambu is called as pulusu The number of varieties of kuzhambu are countless, with each state in the South India preparing it with a typical variation, adapted to its taste and environment.

It is a common misconception that lentils (dal) is a staple ingredient in kuzhambu. There are varieties of kuzhambu, such as paruppu (Tamil: பருப்பு, meaning dal) kuzhambu and pattani kuzhambu that contain lentils, but the vast majority do not use dal beyond the small quantity used as a spice or during tempering.

Preparation

The preparation of kuzhambu vary greatly with the type of kuzhambu to be made, but its basic preparation methods include first tempering curry leaves, whole black mustard seeds, whole cumin seeds, dry red chili pepper, and often split urad dal over vegetable oil on a heated stove. For kuzhambu that includes vegetables, they are cut and then added to the fry, with shallots, and garlic being added first, and pureed or diced tomatoes going last. Salt and ground spices are added next (which are often pre-prepared), and finally tamarind juice (tamarind soaked in water), or tamarind concentrate and water. The dish is then cooked for approximately 20 minutes and usually served with rice.

Varieties

Mor Kuzhambu
Poondu Kuzhambu

The following is a small list of the hundreds of varieties of kuzhambu popular in Tamil cuisine. These types of kuzhambu all include a base of tamarind, urad and toor dals, and spices such as curry leaves, chili, and salt. Many of these varieties also include tomatoes or tomato juice as part of the base.

Varieties of Kuzhambu
Name Distinguishing Ingredient(s)
Vathal Kuzhambu turkey berry, shallots
Milagu Kuzhambu black pepper
Kara Kuzhambu onion, green chili, tomatoes
Mor Kuzhambu thick buttermilk, channa dal, ash gourd, okra, pumpkin
Poondu Kuzhambu garlic
Vazhakai Kuzhambu plantain
Vendakai Kuzhambu okra
Poricha Kuzhambu mixed vegetables, black pepper, ample amounts of dal
Thakkali Kuzhambu more than usual proportions of Tomato puree

See also