Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Vathal koottan/kozhambu

The chundakka vathal that I blogged about yesterday is most commonly used in vathal kozhambu. To me, curd rice served with some spicy and tangy vathal kozhambu is heaven on a plate.
Here's what you need to make vathal kozhambu:
Tamarind - a lemon sized ball
Sambar powder - 1.5 - 2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Gingely/Sesame oil - 2 tsp
Chundakka vathal - a handful
Shallots - 7 or 8, peeled and halved (optional)
Channa dal - 1 tsp
Urad dal - 1 tsp
Methi seeds - 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp

Soak the tamarind in two cups of warm water for 10 minutes. Squeeze to extract tamarind juice and set it aside.
Heat gingely oil in a kadai. Add in the channa and urad dal, methi and mustard seeds, and a pinch of asafoetida. When the mustard seeds pop, stir in the chundakka vathal and fry for a minute. Add the sliced shallots and fry till translucent. Pour in the tamarind extract. Add some more water if needed. Add turmeric powder, sambar powder and salt. Boil until the raw smell of tamarind is gone. Just before removing from the stove, mix a tsp of rice flour with a tbsp of water and stir this into the kozhambu. Garnish with fresh curry leaves. Serve hot or cold. This tastes great with curd rice.
As a child, I remember me and my cousins sitting in a circle around my maternal grandma while she used to place little balls of curd rice in our palms. We used to make a hole in the middle of the rice ball, pour vathal koottan into it and then proceed to gobble it up at a pace which today, is amazing even to me. Iam sure if polishing off a bowl of curd rice and vathal koottan had been an Olympic sport at that time, we'd have carried home the gold.

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