Sunday, October 08, 2006

Karuveppilai (curry leaf) kuzhambu

The original recipe for this is from Kamala Swaminathan, a featured chef on the site I had printed it off despite not having any curry leaves at that time (about a couple of years back, I guess, when I was a regular on that site), in the hope of getting to make it one day when I had lots of fresh green curry leaves.

Well, that day finally happened. The last time I went shopping for Indian veggies, I bought two packs of curry leaves because for once, they looked fresh. I guess they will never be as fresh as picked fresh off a plant, but at least they werent wilting brown and curling up. Most of the leaves went into the freezer - curry leaves freeze beautifully and as long as they go straight from freezer into pan without defrosting, they dont lose their lovely aroma or turn black.

Anyway, I remembered the recipe I'd downloaded and decided on the spot to make curry leaves kuzhambu. I guess tender leaves are best for this recipe, but I wasnt pushing my luck. Getting them fresh was a near miracle in itself - asking for tender was kind of like looking a gift horse in the mouth! :)

The kuzhambu tasted pretty much like
thengai/eruvalli kuzhambu that is popular in Tamil Nadu - except, of course, that it had the added strong wonderful aroma of curry leaves. Definitely a recipe I'll be trying again - especially when I can get freshly plucked karuveppilai!

Recipe for:
Karuveppilai (curry leaf) kuzhambu

1/2 cup fresh curry leaves (tender if possible)
1 onion, chopped fine
1 tsp tamarind paste
1/2 tsp red chilli powder (or to taste)
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp fenugreek seeds, powdered
3 tsp oil
3-4 dried red chillies
2 tbsp fresh grated coconut
1 tbsp rice flour
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp asafoetida powder (optional)
Salt to taste


1. Dissolve the tamarind paste in 4 cups water along with the red chilli powder, coriander powder and turmeric powder. Stir well and reserve.

2. Heat 1 tsp oil in a saucepan and fry the curry leaves for a minute, stirring until they turn shiny.

3. Remove the curry leaves from the pan and grind them to a smooth paste with the rice flour, coconut and dried red chillies. Reserve.

4. In the same pan, add another tsp oil and fry the fenugreek powder for a few seconds, then add the chopped onions and cook till they begin to turn transparent.

5. Pour in the reserved spiced tamarind water and let it come to a boil. Turn the heat down to medium high, letting it simmer briskly for about 10 minutes or till the onions are well cooked.

6. Now add the ground coconut paste and mix well. Let the mixture simmer for another 5 minutes. Add salt to taste.

7. Meanwhile, heat a tsp of oil in a small pan. Sizzle the asafoetida powder in it for 5 seconds, then add the mustard seeds. COver and let them pop, then add the tempering to the kuzhambu. Serve hot with plain rice and any dry vegetable or kootu.


archana said...

This curry sounds interesting and very different. I just plainly adore curry leaves, can't wait to make this curry. Thank you for the recipe.

Krithika said...

Mouth-watering !! Love anything with curry leaves. Thanks for sharing

Anonymous said...

Love curry leaves,will try this recipe soon.
Now I remember you U, U used to be one of the ammas in
Is that right?

Jayashree said...

Shammi, I love curry leaves....haven't ever tried a kozhambu with that as the main ingredient though.
Oh...and I didn't know curry leaves freeze well. Thx for sharing.

Prema Sundar said...

Hi Shammi,
Curry leaves kuzhambu is new to me.. Sounds more like karakuzhambu..Curry leaves are good for the hair growth and I remember my mom used to add and grind curry leaves in many of her dishes.Thanks for the recipe.

Anonymous said...

Sounds great. Abundance of curry leaves in Darwin, NT and since moving to Brisbane, I am not getting my curry leaves. My plant is taking it's time to grow. Anyone in Brisbane can help me.

Unknown said...

Does anyone know the botanical name for karuveppilai?

Ratna said...

this was truely lovely...:)

Anonymous said...

Would you please tell me the Botanical name of Karuveppilai?

Please write the name under this question. Thanks!

Shammi said...

AnNon: You can find information on curry leaves here: