A South Indian Lunch

This morning, I made Vattha Kuzhambu and Beans Curry for lunch. I really enjoy my own cooking in general, and today I relished it even more! Both dishes are very south Indian and not so commonly found in Indian restaurants outside India. Tomorrow also happens to be the south Indian new year, so I thought these recipes would be great to share in case you are planning on celebrating the new year at home. 🙂

Beans Curry:

This is not a curry in the sense most non-south Indians associate the word with. Its more like boiled and salted beans mildly tempered with some oil. It is very light on the stomach and super healthy!

Thoroughly wash your beans and take off the top and tails for each stalk. Cut them into small pieces. I stuck them inside the microwave for 10 mins in a bowl of water before cooking them since they take a really long time to soften (and I was hungry). My mom would never do this though, so well…

In a large pan, heat up some oil and add mustard seeds when the oil is hot. Break up some sun-dried chillies into the oil as well. Once the mustard seeds stop spluttering, add the chopped beans to the pan and saute them around a little. Once the colour of the beans darken, add some salt to taste. Add a little water to help the beans cook and keep the pan covered with a lid. Check every 3 minutes or so to see if the beans are done. Voila!

Vattha Kuzambu

Serves 4

The Vattha Kuzambu is more complicated and time consuming; here is a list of ingredients you will need:

2 onions

1 capsicum

4-5 green chillies

3 spoons of Tamarind paste

a handful of mustard seeds

a handful of fenugreek seeds

a handful of channa dal

a pinch of asafoetida

chilli powder

turmeric powder

coriander powder

In a large wide bottomed pan, heat the oil and add mustard, fenugreek, channa dal and asafoetida. Add chopped chillies and stir the mixture on a low flame. Be careful to not burn the oil! Chop up the onions and capsicum coarsely and add them to the oil. Saute till the onions get nice and brown.

Meanwhile, mix the tamarind paste in about 3 cups of water and once the onions are done, add the tamarind water into the pan. Now for the masalas! Add in the chilli, coriander and just a pinch of turmeric powder to the broth and stir. Add salt to taste. Bring it to a boil.

Now is the tricky part… I always do not know how much water to add and my kuzambu’s tend to go from too concentrated to too watery. It is key to stay near your pot and add water slowly, constantly tasting the mixture. I think the best way to learn this is to know what is should taste like.. and then add water/tamarind till you achieve the right consistency. This is meant to be mixed with rice and eaten, so it should be sufficiently watery to allow that.

Once the kuzambu comes to a boil and the vegetables seem to have absorbed all the flavour, it is ready to be served and eaten! This probably will take about 10-15 minutes after the tamarind water was first added.

To serve:

Beans curry, vattha kuzambu and boiled rice are typically the first course of a meal. This is followed by rasam saadam and thair saadam (both of which I did not make today..)

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Iniya puthaandu nal vazhthukal. 🙂

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