Method The term Kulambhu means gravy or side dish. It`s a stew made of either lentils or concoction of vegetables. Vatha Kulambhu is a stew made of dried vegetables and boiled in a tangy liquid made of tamarind pulp and little sugar or jaggery. The level of making this dish is extremely easy and is hardly any work. This vatha kulambhu can have one ingredient and that can be the dominant ingredient. The vatha kulambhu can be made with shallots, pepper corns, garlic, dried berries and even lentils. You could add chilly powder and tomatoes and you would have Kara kulambhu. An extremely versatile dish, this popular Tamil cuisine just adds to the simplicity of the dishes prepared.
No matter how many variations of the kulambhu you have, the base preparation carries the same ingredients for tempering and seasoning. If using vegetables they are cooked separately and added to the tempered ingredients. It`s the rich dark colour of the vatha kulambhu that looks beautifully fiery and with each region adapting the recipe to its own availability of products the dish only tastes better no matter how much it is tweaked.
Add water and jaggery to a ball sized tamarind . Let it soak for 15-20 minutes. Make pulp out of it and keep it aside.
1) Temper the ingredients in sesame oil till you get the aroma.
2) Add the dried vegetables or just the sundaka to the tempered ingredients and saute till golden brown.
3) Add the shallots and garlic and fry again till translucent.
4) To the tempered and sauteed mixture add the tamarind pulp, mix it well. Add the water and let it come to a boil.
5) Once it comes to boil, reduce heat and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
6) Remove from fire and garnish with coriander.
7) Serve hot with a bowl of steamed rice and crisps.
1) Manathakali and sundakai have a slight bitter taste to it. So you could keep the quantity of it low. The dried mangoes and other vegetables would have salt in them already hence be careful in adding the salt, you do not want an overly salty vatha kulambhu.
2) You could add sugar instead of jaggery too. The jaggery is added only to cut the overly sour taste of the tamarind.
3) In some regions due to the extremely sour taste of tamarind its used in a very small quantity and replaced with tomato or tomato juice.
4) This gravy will be slightly thicker in consistency if you like you can add extra water and dilute it a bit.
Ingredients: Dry Mixed Vathal - 1/2 cup ( dried mango, sundakai, manathakali or use just one kind)
Tamarind- 1/2 cup (Extract)
Jaggery- 1 tbsp ( crushed)
Garlic- 2-3 (chopped)
water- 1/4 cup
Salt- according to taste
turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
Sambhar powder- 1 tbsps
Red chilly powder- 1/4 tsp (optional)