Tuesday, January 17, 2006

ARF/5-A-Day #3 - Poricha kuzhambu (South Indian mixed vegetable 'stew')

I like this particular cooking event hosted by Sweetnicks, and I'm pleased that I havent missed too many episodes - just the first one entirely. I took part in the second ARF/5-a-day event, but was too late sending my link to Sweetnicks (mainly from sheer ignorance).

The other events hosted by food bloggers are usually out of bounds for me for various reasons - not enough time/inclination/imagination/expertise/take your pick - but since I've been trying to eat more veg and generally be more healthy, this event appeals to me a lot. It isnt difficult either - I mean, vegetables and fruit are everyday items on the menu, so putting up a post is easily accommodated. As an added bonus, I get to feel like I belong with the other food bloggers. It's all good! Yay for Sweetnicks! :)

Anyway, my entry for ARF/5-a-day #3 is poricha kuzhambu - a favourite with all of us when we were growing up and especially so for my mother, because she could use up all the odds and ends of vegetables left at the end of the week. It's my brother's all-tmie favourite, I think - paired with coconut thogayal (a type of chutney) and sutta appalam (poppadums which have been cooked directly on an open flame instead of being deep fried). I like an added extra with that - narthangai, which is a type of green citron (my best guess, since I dont have the English word for this fruit), salted and sun-dried.

My reason for making poricha kuzhambu was pretty much because I had lots of bits of vegetables - carrots, cabbage, green beans, spinach, potatoes, chayote squash. And I added some frozen green peas as well, because I love peas. It's an incredibly healthy recipe, containing all these veggies as well as protein in the form of
moong dal. It's also very simple if you use a pressure cooker.

Moong dal

Recipe for:
Poricha kuzhambu (South Indian vegetable 'stew')

Poricha kuzhambu, served over rice with coconut thogayal and fried bitter-melon crisps (brought over from India!)


4 cups mixed vegetables, chopped (any combination of carrots, green beans, cabbage, spinach, potatoes, chayote squash, aubergine, peas, etc, but not okra)
1/2 cup moong dal
1/2 tsp turmeric powder

Grind together to a smooth paste, using a few tbsp warm water:
2-3 tbsp grated coconut
1 tsp black peppercorns
3-4 dry red chillies (or to taste)
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp rice flour

For tempering:
1 tsp oil
2 tsp whole cumin seeds
2 tsp mustard seeds
7-8 curry leaves
2 tsp urad dal
pinch of asafoetida powder


1. Pressure cook the dal and vegetables together with turmeric powder for about 3 whistles. When the cooker can be opened safely, stir the vegetables and dal till mixed.

If not using a pressure cooker, cook the dal separately in plenty of water till soft and mushy. Drain most of the water and mash the dal. Cook the vegetables separately in just enough water to cover, till they are somewhat overdone but not a helpless mush. Mix the two together, add salt to taste, and set aside.

2. In a deep pan, heat the oil. Put in the mustard seeds, cover, and let them pop. Add the rest of the tempering ingredients and stir till the urad dal turns reddish.

3. Now pour in the vegetable-dal mixture. Stir in the coconut masala paste until it is well amalgamated with the vegetables.

4. Add more water if the mix is too thick, and stir. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer gently for five minutes.

5. Serve hot over steamed rice, or with chapaties.


Admin said...

I have tagged You.. Check my blog

Ravi said...

Hi Shammi, for seasoning what we use is the karuvadaam. Just fry it in gingelly oil and pour it into the kozhambu. The aroma you get is lovely!

Anonymous said...

Karuvadaam in this, Ravi? That's a new one on me. Next time I make poricha kuzhambu, I'll be sure to try your tip! Thanks :)

Anonymous said...

good and yummy

Kalyn Denny said...

Looks very intersting. I'm pretty much a novice at Indian food, but I am trying to learn.

Mika said...

Hi Shammi- Poricha kuzhambu is my husband's family favorite though we use tur dal. Serving it with coconut thogaiyal is my family's style. Looks like comfort food to me!

GourmayMasala said...

Hi Shammi,

We had this for dinner last night, with a different mix of veggies though! Loved it! This is an excellent one dish dinner recipe which I have bookmarked!

Just a friendly suggestion, when you get time to tinker with your blog, do consider creating an index of your excellent recipes. I had to do a bit of searching for this recipe that I saw some time back. If you need any help/sample code for this, do send me a note at spiceisright at gmail dot com.

Anonymous said...

Dear Shyamala,

You have a beautiful website & ur recipes are terrific, I cooked this poricha kulumbo last night & it tasted great, maybe becoz I used only 2 cups of veggies for half cup slip moong dal the curry didnt quiet look as your picture but definately tasted very good....It will be a regular at my table... Also I did try the North Indian egg curry & my hubby loved it...Thanks again Aruna.