Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Kara Kulumbu - A Chettinad delicacy for Blog Hop Wednesday

Back again with another Blog Hop Wednesday and this time I am paired with the gal who started the blog hops, Radhika of Tickling Palates. I always think about her seemingly never ending supply of energy when it comes to blog posts and blog events. At any time, she has one or more events going on. Being a blogger, I know how much time and coordination they require and admire her for what she does.

I have always wanted to cook a Chettinad curry at home ever since I tasted this on one of our restaurant visits. Though, I was not bowled over by what I had that day, I always leave a pretty big margin when it comes to restaurants cooking up what they advertise as 'as good as home made', I was definitely taken up by the burst of flavors it had. I was looking for an authentic home made recipe and found it when Radhika posted this a couple of months back. Just didn't know I would actually make it for the blog hop :-).

Radhika tells you that the Chettinad vegetarian recipes do not get their due credit, I won't know about the non-vegetarian dishes as I haven't tasted them. There is nothing understated in the taste of Chettinad recipes, the flavors are bold and the burst of taste is quite a mouthful. It is an acquired taste and may take time to grow on some people. What I loved was the rich texture and the balanced mix of ingredients. I made a few changes from Radhika's original recipe, I used a combination of almonds and cashew nuts (5 almonds+2 cashew nuts) as I am quite nutty about healthy nuts. I replaced the black eyed peas with black chana or Kadle kalu since I had them handy and lastly reduced the amount of garlic from the original recipe to suit my garlic tolerance.
What do you need to make Chettinad Kara Kulumbu?
4-5 small purple eggplants (about 1 cup when chopped)
1 medium sized drum stick (4-6 pieces if you are using frozen)
15-20 pearl onions (more the merrier, I love them)
1/2 medium sized tomato - chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup cooked black chana/kadle kalu
Dry powders:
1 Tsp red chili powder
1 Tsp sambar powder (I used my home made huli pudi, replace with any equivalent sambar powder in the market)
1 Tsp dhania powder
A small gooseberry sized tamarind soaked in water for 20 minutes (use 1/2 Tsp tamarind concentrate)
1 Tsp salt - adjust to taste
1 clove garlic - chopped fine
2 Tblsp oil
1 tsp mustard
1/2 Tsp cumin
4-5 black pepper corns
4-5 curry leaves
To grind:
2 Tblsp grated coconut(fresh or frozen)
1 Tsp saunf
1/2 Tsp poppy seeds/gasagase
6-8 nuts (I used a combination of almonds & cashew, you can use either as you prefer)

It was a cloudy, masked up sky outside and had limited light which is the excuse I am giving for the picture quality
How to make Chettinad Kara Kulumbu?
  • Soak poppy seeds and the nuts in warm water for about 30 minutes.
  • Soak tamarind in water for 30 minutes and extract the juice. Skip this step if you are using tamarind concentrate.
  • Soak the black chana overnight and pressure cook it until soft but holds shape.
  • Heat oil in a wide pan, add mustard and let it splutter. Add cumin, black pepper, chopped garlic and curry leaves. 
  • Add the pearl onions after 30 seconds and let it cook until it starts to turn light pink. 
  • Add the chopped eggplants, drumsticks and tomatoes, give it a good mix. 
  • Add salt, cover and let cook on medium heat for about 8 minutes. 
  • Add the chili powder, dhania powder and sambar powder.
  • Add the tamarind extract and let it cook for a minute. 
  • Add the cooked black chana and continue to cook until eggplants and drumsticks turn soft.
  • Grind all ingredients noted separately above into a smooth paste adding water as necessary. 
  • Add the ground paste to the vegetables, adjust consistency with water and let it come to a boil. 
  • Switch off and serve warm.
  • You can increase the garlic per taste. 
  • The gravy thickens once it cools, so adjust the consistency while boiling it.
  • Make sure the eggplants hold shape and are just cooked for a great taste.


NamsVeni Pothas said...

kara kulumbu is very tasty and not that kharaa! thanks Sattvaa for the nice and tasty dish.

Prathibha said...

Its been a long time I visited u bcoz of my r u?? Nice kulambu,looks delicious

Kaveri Venkatesh said...

I love the chettinad cuisine for all its wonderful's a pity that only few vegetarian recipes are popular...this kuzhambu looks yum

Jay said...

sounds very interesting n new to me..
Tasty Appetite

Kannada Cuisine said...

I have always wanted to make these Kulumbus..they sound so interesting

Priya said...

Am a fan of chettinad cuisines, quite an irresistible kuzhambu with full of flavours.

Roshni said...

awesome kozhambu.. made something similar a few days ago...

Akila said...

Looks yummy yummy... Just love it....