Vatha Kozhambu Paste | Podi

A very popular recipe from South India particularly Tamil nadu cuisine is the Vattal Kuzhambu, /Vattazh Kuzhambu , a deeply reduced aromatic tamrind sauce spiced with the Indian spices like cumin, fenugreek, red chillies, and the star of the dish is the Sundakkai or the Manathalai , used to roast and simmer in the broth.

It lends a particularly sour, tangy spicy taste which is a great appetizer also. Even a sick perosn will not refuse a ladle of this sauce with plain rice and a dry roasted papad will suffice to satisfy the soul!.

Yes Soul food , that’s what it is!!

Yet its not so easy to get the exact blend of all the tastes of the sourness, spice, and the tanginess in the right proportions ,if you decide to fast forward the procedure.

Cannot be too watery, or too thick. Well enough said on the simple dish and let us now look at  the interesting things WIKI has to say about Kuzhambu in general for those  who are not familiar  with the word kuzhambu.

Kuzhambu  is a dish
common in South India and SriLankaTamil cuisines, and is primarily made of a variety of dals.
Kuzhambu is a stew based on a broth made with tamarindurad (bean) dal and toor dal,
and can include vegetables. The dish is very popular as a side for rice in the
southern regions of India especially in Tamil NaduKarnataka and Kerala. The number of
varieties of kuzhambu are countless, with each state in the South preparing it
with a typical variation, adapted to its taste and environment.
The preparation of kuzhambu vary
greatly with the type of kuzhambu to be made, but its basic preparation methods
include first frying curry leavesmustard seeds, and dry chili pepper over vegetable oil on a heated stove.


vatha kozhambu paste , vatha kozhambu powder , vatha kozhambu recipe


Ingredients to make the vatha kozhambu powder
1/3 cup coriander seeds
2 tbsp chana dal 2 tbsp toor dal
2 tsp cumin seeds 1 tsp pepper
1 tsp udad dal
1/2 tsp asafoetida powder
red chillies
1 tsp methi seeds
Roast all above on a low heat , till fragrant , powder to a smooth texture .
Store this for making delicious Vatha kozhambu or even for making flavorsome curries .
To make the vatha kozhambu paste for making instant Vatha kozhambu
1 small orange size tamrind ,
extract juice to make 4-5 cups of tamrind water
1/4 cup gingelly oil 1 tsp mustard seeds
2 tbsp dried black nightshade ( Manathakaali )
1 tsp cumin seeds
asafoetida powder
some broken red chillies
1 tsp methi seeds
1 tbsp toor dal
some curry leaves salt as needed a pinch of jaggery about a tsp
Check video below  for method

To prepare the vatha kozhambu , from scratch ( without paste )
Soak tamarind in warm water for a few minutes and extract the pulp and add 3 cups of water to make tamarind water.     
In a pan, add oil, when heated  add the mustard seeds, add fenugreek seeds Toor Dal, Red Chillies, Asafoedita.,after mustard seeds crackles.
Fry till golden brown keeping flame low.Add the berries, sundakkai or manathakali  vathal and roast .Add sprigs of curry leaves.
 Add the Tamarind water in the pan. Add salt.
When the taramind water starts boiling, add a pinch of turmeric and also add the Sambhar powder/ or the  vattalkuzhambu powder which we have powdered .
Keep stirring the ingredients to prevent lumps forming after adding powder.
Allow it to boil till the Kuzhambu thickens. Add a bit of jaggery if you like.
You can add 1 tsp of  Rice flour mixed with little water at the end to thicken if need be.
Garnish with more sprigs of curry leaves  when done.
Serve hot with rice and sutta appalam or potato podimas the recipe  which follows next on this page.
 The dish is best enjoyed with potato roast or podimas, rice and pappadam or sutta appalam 

Potato Podimas   ( mashed potatoes with mild spices and dash of lime)

 4 to 5 Medium sized potatoes
 1 or 2 green chillies slitted or chopped finely removing seeds if you want.
Small piece of ginger grated or chopped finely
Dash of lime juice to drizzle at the end.
3 tsp oil for tempering.

For the seasoning.

1/2 tsp mustard seeds.
1/2 tsp split udad dal
1/2 tsp chana dal
Pinch of turmeric powder
salt to taste.
Sprigs of curry leaves .


Cook the potatoes in a pressure cooker. When the cooker cools down ,  Peel and mash them when potatoes are still warm   to get a smooth mash. Lightly mash with ladle, but dont make them too mushy too. you need the potato pieces too.
Heat a pan  with oil,  crackle  mustard seeds, channa dal and urad dal. Once the dals turn light  brown  add chopped green chilles, grated ginger and curry leaves. Stir well . Now
Add the  turmeric powder and  add the mashed potatoes and salt.
Stir well and cook for few minutes making sure the potatoes get coated well with the seasoning and the green chillies.
This type of podimas need not get roasted brown and you need the yellow look on it . When cooled, drizzle lime juicy  and stir well again .
Serve hot with rice, rasam vattalkuzhambu or sambar.


    • says

      yes we also dont do podimas! only sutta appalam, or fried appalams, spmetimes we do podimas, this one is for the blog!thanks a lot for coming to the page Aparna:)

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