I'm not sure if the recipe I have for kara kuzhambu is authentic, because it's kind of cobbled together from recipes I've seen online - I've omitted some ingredients that I didnt really want included (like coconut, for instance) or didnt have at that point and couldnt be bothered about and cant remember now... so it might not be what a genuine Chettinad-ite makes at home! It does taste pretty damn good with rice, though, especially if you like hot stuff with lots of garlic! Serve it with fluffy steamed rice, crisply roasted potatoes, fried pappadums and cucumber raita, and you can call it a feast fit for a king.
PS. I am submitting this as my entry for The Spice is Right IV - It's Too Darned Hot event hosted by Barbara (of Tigers and Strawberries fame).
Recipe for: Garlic kaara kuzhambu
For the sambar:
1/4 cup shallots, chopped into thirds (If you dont have shallots, onions are ok to use)
1/4 cup garlic, chopped into chunks
2 cups tomatoes, chopped fine
1 htsp tamarind paste, dissolved in 4 cups water
1 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp mustard seeds
1/4 tsp each of urad dal, fenugreek seeds and cumin seeds
3-4 tbsp oil
1 tbsp fresh chopped coriander leaves for garnishing
4-5 curry leaves (optional)
Salt to taste
For the dry masala powder:
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1 tsp black peppercorns
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp channa dal
1/2 tsp urad dal
7-8 dry red chillies
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
Dry roast till aromatic, then cool and powder finely. Mix with 4 tbsp water to make a thick paste. Reserve.
1. Heat the oil in a pan and add the mustard, cumin, urad dal and fenugreek seeds and the curry leaves, if using.
2. Cover the pan and let the seeds pop (about 30 seconds).
3. Add the chopped shallots and garlic and fry for a few minutes till they turn soft.
4. Then put in the chopped tomatoes and cook till the tomatoes are soft and mushy.
5. Mix in the chilli powder and turmeric, then add the tamarind water and stir.
6. Bring the mixture to a boil and let it bubble briskly for about 7 minutes, then add the masala paste and mix.
7. Let the kuzhambu simmer for another 10 minutes, then turn off the heat. Let it rest for about an hour to let the flavours mix, then warm it on a medium-low fire until thoroughly heated. Sprinkle with chopped coriander and serve hot with plain cooked rice.