Vetha Kozhambu

My sister, whom I love and respect dearly wanted me to make my food blog more anecdotal – so here I go!

A typical fall day outside – overcast and nippy. But the birds seem to frolic in the yard – Shrey and I watched the blue jays and cardinals swooping in and out of the trees, playing tag or peek-a-boo with each other – The clouds are hanging heavily over the house, ready to rid themselves of their bloating – like any minute. I went down to my studio to practice the dance I am learning while Shrey found a pair of dandiya sticks to play around with. We are all still getting over the Endhiran experience – to say it like my brother’s good friend used to- a flap! as in flop!

Shrey is now down for a nap and here is my time to churn out a new, quick and easy recipe for you.
I’m am sure most of you out there will agree that the most difficult part of preparing a meal is coming up with a menu! At least for me, it is so much easier if the kids ask for something as opposed to coming up with an idea – On days like these, when ideas are not raging and the weather is kinda ugly, nothing like a Murungakai vetha kozhambu to liven up things. With keerai kootu – it is a favorite combo in our home.

There are SO many way to skin this cat – Vetha Kozhambu is a dish that many people take different approaches too and most often, they are all quite delicious, but I am sticking with my mom’s recipe. My father’s unforgettable comment is, the test of a seasoned chef is if they can fix a good vetha kozhambu and rava upma! Well, he is not around to pass the verdict on mine, but has left another Leo actually two Leo men – my husband and son – who are equally discerning. I will have them comment :-)

Frozen drumsticks (or fresh for the lucky ones in India and elsewhere) about 10 pieces or 2 drumsticks
2 spoons of tamarind puree/paste (Lakshmi Brand)
1 table spoon of fenugreek seeds or 1tsp of powdered fenugreek
2 1/2 -3 teaspoons of Sambar powder (or vetha kozhambu powder)
1/2 cup raw peanuts

Thaduka – (sautee)
1tablespoon of sesame oil
1/2 spoon of mustard seeds
4-5 curry leaves
a pinch of asafoetida
Optional (1/2 teaspoon of turmeric)


Mix the tamarind past in 3 cups of warm water. Also mix in the sambar powder, salt and fenugreek, if your are using the powder.
Using sufficient water, cook the drumsticks in the microwave or cook top for about 5 minutes and keep ready
In a deep dish, heat half the oil and then add asafoetida, mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds. Wait for Fenurgreek seeds to darken to red, and the mustard seeds to pop.
Add the tamarind mix and let it boil

Then add drumsticks to the tamarind mix and let it cook some more in the mixture. Add the peanuts and allow it to cook as well.
When the water evaporates and the kozhambu starts to thicken slightly (it will still be thin) switch off. heat up the rest of the oil, add the curry leaves and pour over the kozhambu

Secret tip: Mom used to always put a cherry sized ball of jaggery towards the end of the boil – As I’ve mentioned in other recipes, a little sweet brings together all the other flavors nicely.


Posted on

October 5, 2010

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