Today it is going to be an authentic Tamil nadu recipe.Vatha kuzhambu varieties are family favorites ad often preferred over sambar or paruppu kuzhambu.This is because I think vatha kuzhambu is more bold and highly flavored than its counterpart paruppu kuzhambu where,the mashed dal plays the key role.There are loads of vatha kuzhambu one can make and this kathrikai vatha kuzhambu is one among them.Vathal in Tamil means sun dried.During summers,process of sun drying most of the vegetables in a common sight in Tamil homes.Usually vegetables like brinjal(aubergine),okra,cluster beans,sundakai,manathakkali are soaked in salted water over night and sun dried the next day till they are well shrunken and crispy.This vathal is then stored air tight and used in these kuzhambu varieties and some are also used as side dish for curd rice.Will try to write a detailed post on that. Among all the vathal,the one with brinjal is my favorite,it is very chewy and better than fresh brinjal,at least I think so.I am yet to try my hands on any sun dried item,I get my steady supply from mom/mil and my aunts :)Katharikai vatha kuzhambu,hot steamed rice,a dollop of sesame oil,wanna know what I mean,just try this once and you will not regret 🙂
Kathirikai vatha kuzhambu recipe
Star ingredients:Tamarind and sun dried brinjal
1/2 cup kathrikai vathal(sun dried brinjal)
1/4 cup pearl onions
1 small tomato(optional)
A small lemon sized tamarind ball
1 table spoon sambar powder
1 teaspoon methi seeds
1 teaspoon toor dal
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 dried red chillies
2 tablespoons sesame oil
2 cups water
1. In a cast iron kadai heat 1 table spoon sesame oil to smoking point,add methi seeds and let it bloom.Next add chillies, toor dal and saute for 2 minutes.
2.Add the kathrikai vathal,chopped pearl onions and tomato.Saute well.Add sambar powder,turmeric powder and saute till tomato turns mushy and well cooked.
3.Add water,salt and cook on medium flame till the quantity reduces and thickens. Add 1 more spoon of sesame oil,keep in high flame for five minutes and remove from heat.
Here is a note for making kathrikai vatha in small quantity.
1.Chop 3-4 brinjals into long strips.Immerse in a vessel of water with added salt for 3-4 hrs.Dry under hot sun till it turns crispy and shrunken.Store air tight.
2.You can even use fresh brinjal if vathal is not available
3.Instead of onion you can use asafoetida while tempering.