vendhaya mor kuzhambu recipe: a comforting, delicious, traditional south-indian recipe in a slightly different form.
vendhayam or venthayam is fenugreek or methi in tamil language. mor kuzhambu corresponds to a south-indian curd/buttermilk gravy based broth, where mor means curd/buttermilk.
i have been a major fan of curd based dishes ever since childhood. having been a fussy eater, curds (natural plain yogurt) would be my lean on, for every dish i happened to ‘dislike’. and if the dish itself was curd based, that would be my definition of food heaven :).
one such dish happened to be mor kuzhambu (majjige huli), a curd and coconut based broth with vegetables and a few other spices. this recipe is a slightly different mor kuzhambu.
one other childhood favorite has been the lentil powders such as chutney powder, roasted tuvar dal powder, and methi powder, or what we used to refer to as menthyada hittu. this methi powder although is easily available in the market nowadays, i have always relished it homemade prepared by my mother. the flavors are very special to me.
when i tried out this delicious recipe from the well-known author, chandra padmanabhan’s book “dakshin: vegetarian cuisine from south india”, i was pleasantly surprised. the flavors beautifully matched the methi powder based kuzhambu, which i have been savoring since decades. this vendhaya mor kuzhambu, you can say, is an instant version of the methi powder based broth with curds.
few more kuzhambu recipes which are posted on blog are:
- mor kulambu recipe
- poritha kuzhambu recipe
- mix veg kuzhambu recipe
- ennai kathirikai kulambu recipe
- manathakkali vathal kulambu recipe
the kuzhambu tastes good when served hot on a bed of steaming hot fluffy rice. you can adjust the spicing to your taste. to suit my kids’ mild palates, i used a combination of mild and spicy dry red chilies which resulted in a mild venthaya mor kuzhambu. however, you can go ahead and use the more of the spicy dry red chilies. also the dish tastes better if the curds are slightly sour.
green capsicum/bell pepper has been used in the recipe here. a variety of other vegetables can be used instead such as white pumpkin, okra/ladies finger, aubergine/brinjal, green peas. if using white pumpkin, once you prepare the tempering for the final dish, add cubed white pumpkin, stir. add sufficient water to cover the gourd, simmer until it cooks through, then add the rest of the ingredients. if using okra or aubergine, stir fry them similar to green bell peppers as in the recipe below and follow the rest of the recipe in the same manner.
vendhaya mor kuzhambu recipe below:
vendhaya mor kuzhambu
ingredients (1 cup = 250 ml)
for roasting and grinding:
- 2 teaspoons oil
- 1.25 teaspoon urad dal
- 1.25 teaspoon methi seeds (fenugreek seeds)
- 1.5 tablespoon tuvar dal (arhar dal or pigeon peas spilt and skinned)
- 1 teaspoon coriander seeds (sabut dhania)
- ½ inch piece of ginger (adrak)
- 3 tablespoons grated fresh coconut
- 4 to 6 dry red chilies (sookhi lal mirch)
- 1 cup chopped green capsicum (bell pepper or shimla mirch)
- ½ cup water
for making the kuzhambu:
- 2 cups curds (plain natural yogurt or dahi) - tastes better if it is slightly sour
- ½ to ⅔ cup water
- salt to taste
- 2 teaspoons oil
- 1 teaspoon mustard seeds (rai)
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
- 1 dry red chili (sookhi lal mirch)
- 1 finely chopped green chili, this is optional but adds a lovely flavor
how to make vendhaya mor kuzhambu
for the paste:
- add 2 teaspoons of oil to a pan.
- roast 1¼ teaspoon urad dal, 1¼ teaspoon methi or fenugreek seeds,1½ tablespoon tuvar dal, 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, asafoetida, 4 to 6 dry red chilies, at medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes . allow this to cool.
- transfer the roasted spices to a mixer/grinder.
- grind it to a smooth paste adding 3 tablespoons of fresh grated coconut and small amounts of water at a time. i used about ½ cup of water.
to prepare the curd gravy mixture:
- transfer the prepared paste to a separate bowl, add 2 cups of beaten yogurt/buttermilk and ⅔cup of water, ¼ teaspoon turmeric powder, salt to taste.
- whisk this to form a uniform mixture.
to prepare kuzhambu:
- chop the green bell pepper/capsicum to bite sized small pieces.
- in a thick bottomed wide pan, heat 2 teaspoon of oil.
- to this add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, 1 dry red chili and finely chopped 1 green chili.
- once they splutter, add the chopped green bell peppers. stir fry at medium-high heat for the first 1 to 2 minutes until they develop some browning.
- then simmer, cover and cook giving a stir now and again until it softens.
- once the capsicum is cooked, reduce the heat to low, pour in the prepared spice and yogurt mixture.
- mix everything and cook at low heat. give it a stir now and again.
- it is important that the mixture is allowed to cook at low heat, otherwise,the curd/yogurt will split.
- please be patient and once the mixture comes to a first boil, turn off the heat.
- serve with steaming hot rice and a teaspoon of ghee if desired.
please remember to cook the kuzhambu at low heat to avoid splitting of the curd/yogurt.
adjust spicing to suit your taste.
for an added level of flavor and spice, add 1 finely chopped green chili to the tempering.
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step by step vendhaya mor kuzhambu recipe:
1. first roast 1.5 tablespoons of tuvar dal, 1.25 teaspoons of methi seeds, 1 teaspoon coriander seeds, 1.25 teaspoons of urad dal, 4 to 6 dry red chilies in 2 teaspoons of oil at medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes.
2. roast the spices and pulses until they turn golden brown. take care to not burn them. transfer to a separate plate. allow the spices to cool.
3. once cooled, transfer the roasted spices and pulses, 3 tablespoons of grated fresh coconut, ½ an inch piece of ginger to a mixer/grinder.
4. without adding water, first pulse the mixture to form a coarse mixture as below. if you add water straight away, the spices and the pulses will not grind evenly.
5. adding small amounts of water at a time, grind the mixture and prepare a smooth paste. i added about ½ cup of water.
6. now, transfer the ground paste to a bowl.
7. add in 2 cups of plain yogurt/curd. buttermilk can also be used instead of curds.
8. add about ⅔ cup of water (adjust to the consistency you desire), ¼ teaspoon of turmeric powder.
9. whisk the mixture to form a smooth mixture.
10. add salt to taste. mix again.
11. the prepared mixture should look like this.
12. in a separate thick bottomed pan, heat 2 teaspoon of oil. add 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds. allow them to splutter. add 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds, allow these to splutter. add 1 halved dry red chili. stir. at this point you can also add 1 finely chopped green chili and stir. this adds a beautiful flavor.
13. now, add the chopped capsicum/green bell peppers. stir and cook at medium high heat at first to bring about a slight browning/caramelization of the bell peppers.
14. cook the bell peppers until they soften and yet retain a bite in them.
15. now, reduce the heat to low and pour in the prepared spices, pulses and curd/yogurt mixture.
16. mix and cook at low heat. it is important to cook at low heat, otherwise, the curd will split. stir now and again.
17. cook until you see the first boil. then turn off the heat.
18. serve vendhaya mor kuzhambu with steaming hot rice and enjoy.