Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Kadhamba Kootu/Kuzhambu

My aunt (Sumathi athai) would make this kuzhambu once a year for thiruvadhirai and since that usually would come during the months of Dec/January there would be a good supply of winter veggies, especially mochai. She would use 21 different veggies, if I remember right... which explains the name of the dish since it's a medley of vegetables.  For some reason, my mom or grandmother never made this so I would eagerly await the thooku (a stainless steel vessel with a fitting lid and a handle) of this tasty kuzhambu each year that my aunt would bring for us.  During my last trip, I got the recipe from her and quickly scribbled it down and now I can enjoy this anytime of the year :)  This pairs really well with ven pongal or just plain white rice and is chock full of vegetables, also it's a recipe with no onion or garlic. In my mind this is like aviyal meets sambar and they live happily ever after :)


Mixed Vegetables - 2 to 3 cups (I used ashgourd/wintermelon, vazhakkai/raw banana, potato, avarakkai/flat beans, carrot, green beans, chow chow/chayote squash, brinjal)
Fresh/Frozen mochai (Papdi Lilva) - half cup

Toor Dhal - 1/4 cup
Channa Dhal- 1 tbsp
Mung Dhal - 1 tbsp
Tomato - 1 small
Tamarind - 1 small lemon sized, soaked in warm water
Chilli powder - half tsp
Sambar powder - 2 tsp
Turmeric powder - half tsp

Salt - to taste

To Grind:
Coconut Grated - 1/4 cup
Cumin seeds - half tsp
Green chillies - 2
Black pepper - 5

For Seasoning:Gingelly / Sesame Oil (Nallennai) - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds- half tsp

Urad Dhal - half tsp
Cumin seeds - quarter tsp

Methi seeds - 4 or 5
Curry leaves - few

Coriander leaves - 2 tbsp
Asafoetida - a pinch

1) Cut veggies into uniform 1 inch cubes. Cook them (except tomato and mochai) with some water, salt and turmeric till soft (but not mushy). If in a rush, I use a pressure cooker and cook for 4-5 minutes once the pressure builds up and switch off the stove.

2) Pressure cook the Thuvar dhal, channa dhal and mung dhal together with some turmeric and asafoetida till soft and mushy. Mash them up.  I also pressure cooked the mochai till soft with a touch of salt.

3) Extract the tamarind water from the soaked tamarind and strain.
4) Grind together the coconut, cumin seeds, green chillies and black pepper with some water to a paste.

5) In a big pot or the pressure cooker itself,  bring together the cooked vegetables, mochai and tomatoes and allow them to cook for a few minutes with about 1 cup of water before adding the tamarind water, chilli powder and sambar powder. Allow this to boil for about 10 to 15 minutes.

6) Add the mashed dhals at this point and the ground coconut paste. Adjust salt and consistency of gravy and allow to boil for another 5 to 10 minutes. Switch off the stove.

7) In a separate small kadai, heat the oil and add the seasoning ingredients... once the mustard splutters, add the curry leaves and pour into the pot with the kuzhambu. Sprinkle coriander leaves and cover. Allow to rest for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.


  1. This is a fantastic recipe! The food is delicious

  2. Got to try this. I have only heard of it not really tried it.

  3. Thiruvathirai Kootu looke delicious...

  4. Yummy kootu to pair with hot rice and a papad, I love these types of kootu

  5. Very different thiruvadirai kootu!kootu looks delicious!

  6. Yummy kootu.. we too make the same way but adding pepper sounds new.. will do it next time..

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