January 18, 2015

Ezhu Kari Kuzhambu/Kootu

How to make Ezhu Kari Kuzhambu (Sambhar with seven vegetables)

          This less known accompaniment for Thiruvathirai Kali and Ven Pongal is exclusively prepared by Amma on the day of  Pongal, which is served with Ven Pongal for breakfast, but is also carried over for lunch and served with steamed rice. This lip smacking gravy has been cooking in my family for many years and comes from my recipe diary. Although this gravy is typically made quite thick; you can thin it out like a Sambhar, if you like. Sharing this family recipe with you & my friends at CCChallenge - A cooking from cookbook event started by Sri Valli.

Ingredients for 6-8 Servings:

Assorted Cubed vegetables - 4 Cups
(Use vegetables like Ash Gourd, Pumpkin, Drumstick, Sweet Potatoes, Plantains, Brinjal, Yam, Cluster beans, Snake Gourd)
Red Gram Dhal/Toor Dal - 3/4 Cup (pressure cooked until soft)
Tamarind - About the size of a big lemon (Soak in water & take extract only)
Salt - To taste
Turmeric Powder - 1/4 Tsp
Rice flour - 2 Tsp (if required, for thickening)
Coriander leaves - For Garnish

To Roast & Powder:

Oil - 1 Tsp
Red chillies - 2 no:s
Coriander seeds - 1/4 Cup
Bengal Gram Dal/Channa Dal - 1/8 Cup
Dry desiccated coconut/Copra powder - 1/4 Cup

For the Seasoning/Tempering:

Oil - 3-4 Tsp
Mustard seeds - 2 Tsp
Fenugreek seeds - 1.5 Tsp
Red Chillies - 2, broken
Asafoetida Powder - 1/4 Tsp
A Sprig of Curry leaves 

Stove Top Method:

  • Heat a Tsp of oil on low-medium heat & roast the (Ingredients to powder) Red Chillies, Bengal Gram Dal, Coriander seeds until crisp & aromatic. Lastly add the dry coconut powder, roast for 1-2 minutes & transfer  onto a mixer/blender. Powder finely when cooled down & set aside.

  • Heat the oil for tempering & fry all five ingredients starting with Mustard seeds & finishing with Curry leaves. Transfer onto a bowl for later use.
  • Cover & boil all the vegetables in just enough water, until half cooked. Add Salt, Turmeric Powder, Tamarind extract, cover & cook further until all the vegetables are completely cooked.
  • Add the cooked Toor Dal, roasted & powdered ingredients & let boil once. 

  • If the gravy needs to be thickened, make a paste out of the Rice flour & a little cold water - add it to the simmering gravy & let it simmer for a few more minutes.
  • Finally add the fried seasonings and serve hot with Thiruvathirai Kali or Ven Pongal.


  • There is really no limit on how many vegetables you can add. You could do 5, 7, 9 as you wish. Just remember - The more, The merrier!!
  • This is typically made a little thick; but you can thin it out if you want to use it like Sambhar.

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