Sunday, 27 January 2013

Vathakulambu - Southindian spicy & sour curry

    Vathakulambu is my favourite curry.  I often admire its taste.   Once i saw cooking show which featured menu rani chellam maam cooking this yummy curry,  I was deeply moved by the show and its output.  The best part of her show is that she gives a lot of tips about cooking and also educates us about the dish's contents...  For very instance she said that vathakulambu differs from karrakulambu (another spicy, non-soury curry) a lot.  Former does not require addition of tomato and garlic, wheras latter requires them as their main contents.  Sambhar powder/sambhar masala is main spice ingredient used up in vathakulambu, wheras latter requires chilly powder, dhanya powder etc... I enjoyd watching her show and her valuable tips... Hope they telecast more of her shows....

     The perfect recipe for vathakulambu lies in the balance of imli and sambhar powder.  The best part of balance lies in adding half of  imli first and tasting the final product, lateron as per the taste other half quantity of imli can be added.  Freshers/ those who try vathakulambu and sambhar for the first time can follow the same, bcoz excess use of imli can spoil the taste and health.

And literally, vathakulambu doesn't include use of coconut milk, although here i wanted to deliver it in creamy style/ restaurent style  :)

So, let us move to recipe

Ingredients required

To temper
  • 2 ladles of oil
  • 2 tsp of hing/asoeftida
  • 1 tsp of kadugu/mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp methi/venthayam
  • 1 tsp broken urad dal
  • 1 tsp tuvar dal
  • Handful of curry leaves
  • 2-3 broken dried red chilly
  • 1/2 cup of finely sliced shallots/sambhar onion
  • 2 tsp sambhar powder

other ingredient
  • 1/2 cup of tamarind extract (got from lemon-sized imli ball)
  • Salt, as required
  • 1/4 cup of thick coconut milk
  • 3 tsp of finely chopped coriander leaves, to garnish


Add oil in kadaai, and after that add ingredients for temper one by one. Adding tuvar dal for temper is an characteristic feature of vathakulambu.   The tempering ingredients should be very well immersed in oil and should be fried very well.  Sambhar masala, when fried gives the dish best flavour and taste

After frying, add tamarind water and simmer the flame for twenty minutes.  

When the vathakulambu gets oily/shiny flavour, add required amount of salt.   Then add coconut milk, after five minutes, switch off the flame and serve hot garnished with coriander leaves

Vathakulambu goes great with hot rice and papad...

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