Kariveppalai Kuzhambu , a tangy tamarind based stew using curry leaves. In India , especially in south India , you get this wonderful herb throughout the year. In fact this is offered for free in grocery stores when you make a purchase. We south Indians cannot imagine a curry or poriyal without the use of this wonder herb. Generally not many prefer to chew on this , yet they like the flavor of it spread in the dishes. So whenever we come across a small curry leaf in our sambar , kuzhambu or rasam , we take it out and set it aside in the plate and later we throw them away. Actually this is considered as a bad habit , but 80% of us waste the curry leaves and thus we loose out on its major benefits. My great-grandmother , in order to make us (great-grand children) eat curry leaves , she would prepare this kuzhambu atleast once a week.
For roasting and grinding
- Firstly de-stem the curry leaves and wash them in water thoroughly. Spread a cloth , big enough to take the curry leaves , pat dry them and set this aside.
- Take a kadaai / wok , on medium heat , add a tsp of sesame oil and saute all the ingredients mentioned under “roasting and grinding” . Saute them in medium heat until aromatic. Transfer this to a blender jar , cool it for about 10 minutes and grind it to a fine powder.
- In the same kadaai / wok , on medium heat , add 4 tbsps of sesame oil , let it heat up. Once the oil is hot add compounded asafoetida and other ingredients mentioned under “tempering”. Saute them well.
- Now reduce the heat and add tamarind extract. Do this carefully because when you add any liquid on hot oil it will sizzle and splutter on you, make sure the heat is in simmer while you add the tamarind extract. Add another 100 ml of water.
- Stir this well , add required amount of sea salt and allow this to boil until the raw smell of the tamarind leaves. This is an important step , this decides the taste of the kuzhambu. Let it boil vigorously for about 7-9 minutes on medium heat.
- Once the raw smell leaves , add the prepared powder and mix.
- Allow this to boil for about 3 minutes and take it off the heat. Serve it hot with plain rice.
For the tamarind extract , soak a small gooseberry sized tamarind in 100ml of lukewarm water for 10 minutes. The tamrind will turn soft and mushy to touch. Now squish it with your palm and take out the juice. Add another 100 ml of water and continue to squish it with your palm until it becomes very thin to touch. Now take out the tamarind and keep only the water.
If you do not have tamarind you can use tamarind paste and dilute it with 200-250ml water.