VENDAYA KEERAI-KATHRIKAI KOZUMBU

Monday, June 16, 2008 by

VENDAYA KEERAI-KATHRIKAI KOZUMBU
This is traditional Tamil Nadu gravy served with rice. There are many variations of this dish. At home, my mother used to prepare it this way. I have used eggplants here. Even plantain, drumsticks, yam, or okra can also be used for this gravy. Drumstick leaves can also be used instead of methi. They add a good taste. For the seasoning, I have added vadakam. It is a traditional Tamil Nadu seasoning made with dried small onions, fenugreek, chilies etc. That gives a real good taste to sambars and other gravies. Back home, my grandmother never cooks anything without vadakam. It can be omitted if not available. Here goes the recipe:

INGREDIENTS:
Small onions, 1 cup.
Tomatoes, medium sized, 2.
Eggplants, 3.
Methi leaves, 1 bunch.
Garlic, 3-4 cloves.
Tamarind, 1 lemon-sized ball.
Chili powder, 3 teaspoons.
Coriander powder, 2 tablespoons.
Sambar powder, 1 teaspoon.
Curry leaves for seasoning.
Fenugreek powder, 1 teaspoon.
Salt for taste.
Vadakam for seasoning (optional).
Mustard seeds for seasoning.

PREPARATION:
Extract thick tamarind juice from the tamarind (it usually comes to 1 cup) and clean the methi leaves and keep aside. Chop the onions and tomatoes into small pieces. If small onions are used, they need not be chopped. Crush the garlic into a rough paste. Cut the eggplants into small pieces and put them in cold water to prevent them from turning brown. Heat a kadai with some oil. When the oil is hot enough, add the mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds start to splutter, add the vadakam and when they start to turn brown, add the chopped onions, tomatoes, curry leaves, and crushed garlic and sauté them for few minutes. When everything is well blended, add the chopped eggplants and sauté them for a minute. Then add 1 cup of tamarind juice, chili powder, coriander powder, sambar powder, fenugreek powder, and salt and cook them closed in medium flame for 10-12 minutes until the raw smell of the spices go off and the gravy thickens. Then add the cleaned methi leaves and cook them for 2-3 minutes and turn off the stove. It can be served with rice, idlis, or dosas.

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