Curry without curry leaves seems tasteless and hence 'kariveppilai' (curry leaves) is an unavoidable content of curries in South India. The leaves in addition to its characteristic aroma, is said to have medicinal values. So it is no wonder that our Grandmas have made it an essential ingredient in our daily cuisine.

Kariveppilai Kuzhambu is a special dish with curry leaves as the main ingredient. It is a dish I learnt from my Grandmother.

What you need

Fresh Cleaned Curry Leaves: a handful

Urad Dhal: 2 tbsp

Red Chillies: 5

Pepper: 1 tsp

Tamarind: lemon sized

Turmeric powder: half tsp

Asafoetida powder: half tsp

Sesame oil: 2 tbsp

Mustard: half tsp

Salt: 2 tsp or as per taste

Cooking instructions

Soak tamarind in a cup of water and squeeze out the juice and make two cups of tamarind juice. Take a frying pan, put one teaspoon of sesame oil and fry urad dhal, pepper and red chillies separately. Add the curry leaves to the pan and fry for a while.

Mix the fried dhal, chillies, curry leaves and add asafoetida powder and grind to a fine powder. Pour the remaining sesame oil into a frying pan and when it is hot add mustard. When the mustard crackles add tamarind juice along with turmeric powder, ground (dhal, chillies, curry leaves and asafoetida) powder prepared earlier. Add salt to taste. Stir well. Close with lid and bring to boil. Let it cook in low flame till it thickens to a fine paste.

(Ramasaraswathi S. is a home maker who enjoys preparing traditional South Indian cuisine)

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