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A friend B had an Indian restaurant , on our visit, we were bowled over by the kara Kuzhambu served with Pongal, usually Pongal is not on our list of things to eat , definitely not by paying for it. However this was out of the world delicious.

So in a bid to recreate it, I annoyed the chef enough to get the recipe . This is mostly his creation , the only change to this is ,  when I noticed some of the ingredients he used were the same ones in Goda masala , I add a pinch of Goda Masala instead .

Shallots – about 10 – 15 peeled and chopped
Tomatoes – 1 chopped
Ginger – shredded
Garlic – 10-15  cloves crushed
Green chilies – 2 ( more if you like it spicy)
Sesame oil
Cumin seeds –  1tsp
Curry leaves – handful
Turmeric powder – liberally
Goda masala  – 1/2 tsp  — ( entirely my addition – ignorable)
Sambar powder – 2 tbsp
Tamarind water –  2 cups
Eggplant ( small round ones) – 3 /4 cut lengthwise into slivers.

Make a paste with the following or  alternately Use Kara Kuzhambu powder  – Jai ho grand sweets

Coriander seeds – 1 tsp
Shredded coconut – 1/4 cup
Fennel seeds – 1 tsp
few cloves/ cardamom

Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a  deep pan, Add cumin seeds, curry leaves, eggplant slices and shallots and fry , next add ginger ,garlic ,green chilies and chopped tomatoes.
Cook till the tomatoes are well cooked  .
Now add the powders and salt., cook for 6-8 minutes.

Add tamarind juice to the mixture in the pan and let it boil and become a thick gravy.
Once the raw smell has gone , add the  ground paste and  let it cook for  about 5 min ( you can omit this step is you used kara kuzhambu powder) .
I let this simmer for close to 15 min and at the end thicken with some paruppu podi / garlic podi mixed in water.

Mix in with Rice and hot Ghee / Sesame oil and enjoy.

  • Adding  paruppu podi ( lentil flour)  or garlic podi  instead of rice flour was taught to me by a friends mom ( deep down south ) and tastes infinitely better.
  • Paruppu podi is available as dhal powder but then i get mine home-made or failing that grand sweets , I cant vouch for the other brands.
  • You could add a touch of Jaggery at the end, a friends mom does that and it tastes OK but i like my sambar non-sweetish.
  • Goda Masala is my latest love . After a stint to Pune I pretty much add it to anything and everything , I’m not a typical sticking to recipe cook, I add whatever is in my current list of ‘ I love’s’  .
  • I dont add red chili powder ,the sambar and kara kuzhambu powder is fiery enough for my wimpy taste buds.
  • Once I have this done, then it accompanies Rice one day, Dosa the next day, maybe idli / pongal/ Khichdi the third  and so on until it is completely over.