Today is Varalakshmi Vratham and it is usually celebrated with a bit of pomp and show. This year however, owing to a death in the family, the celebrations were muted. Instead of the usual idli, kozhukattai that is made I opted for the simple pongal and made vatral kuzhambu to go with it. Since I had not taken the day off it made sense for me to pick something easy.
Stuff you will need:
Tamarind – A ball the size of a big lemon – soaked and pulp extracted
Manathakkali vatral (sundried sun berries) – a handful
Gingelly oil – 2 tbsps
Mustard – 1 tsp
Urad dhal – 2 tsp
Fenugreek (Methi seeds) – 1 tsp
Asafoetida – 2 pinches
Salt – 1.5 tsp
Sambar powder – 2 tsp
Red chillies – 1 broken into two
Rice flour – 1 tsp mixed with 100 ml of water
Jaggery – 2 tbsp
Curry leaves – 2 sprigs chopped.
How to make it?
In a thick bottomed vessel set on medium high heat, pour the gingelly oil. When hot, add mustard, urad dhal, fenugreek, asafoetida, red chillies, manathakkali vatral. When mustard pops, add sambar powder and saute till raw smell of sambar powder is gone. Add tamarind pulp and boil. Add salt and jaggery and boil. Add the rice flour – water paste till the kuzhambu reduces to a thick soupy liquid. Now add curry leaves and turn heat off.
Serve hot with rice and ghee with appalam on the side.
Manathakkali can be used along with Sundakkai (Turkey berry) vatral. Shallots may be peeled and added when the manathakkai is added and sauteed along with it before adding tamarind pulp.