Generally Vatha kuzhambu is made with vegetables. But this recipe uses appalam instead. I learnt this recipe from my grandmother.

What you need

Gingelly oil - 200ml

Tamarind extract juice - 150 ml

Mustard seeds - 1 tbsp

Fenugreek seeds - 1 tbsp

Bengal gram - 1 tbsp

Black gram – 1 tbsp

Red chilli - 4

Sambar powder - 2 tbsp

Curry leaves - 10 to 12

Appalam – 2

Salt - as required

Water - 200ml

Asafoetida – a pinch

Cooking instructions

Heat the kadai add some 100 ml of gingelly oil. Add the mustard seeds and once they splutter add the fenugreek seeds and sauté till it turns red.

Add the Bengal gram, black gram and red chillies and sauté till it turns red. Add the curry leaves. Turn off the flame and transfer to a bowl.

Add another 100 ml oil to the kadai and fry the appalam. Transfer the appalam to another bowl and add tamarind juice to the kadai with the left over oil.

When the tamarind juice starts shrinking, add the fried gram and curry leaves. Boil for five minutes. When the oil starts spluttering add the fried appalam. Allow to boil for five more minutes, till it forms a thick gravy. Add some ghee, mix with rice and serve.

To add thickness to the gravy add 1 tsp of rice flour in 50 ml of water and add to the kuzhambu.

Aparna Rajesh Kumar blogs about vegetarian food and explores new recipes.