The concept of a kuzhambu – is a cross between a condiment and an accompaniment in south Indian meals, that is usually eaten with rice and rice-based dishes like idlis or dosas. This dumpling curry is one of the traditional recipes from Tamil Nadu, that is nutritious as it is delicious.
When a reference is made to kuzhambu (pronounced ko-lam-bu) in South Indian cooking, it often means a tangy, tamarind-based curry made with a blend of spices, garlic, curry leaves and aromatics. The brothy consistency of the kuzhambu, may or may not classify as a ‘curry’, so to speak because it isn’t thick enough to hold its own but also not runny enough to scoop up with a spoon. Hence, the kuzhambu is perfect to eat with rice or with dishes like idlis, dosas and appams.
The urundai kuzhambu, a spicy accompaniment common in most home-cooking in Tamil Nadu, is safe to classify as a breakfast or supper item, depending on what time of day you choose to make them. These lentil dumplings are steamed and then tossed in a curry lush with tomatoes garlic, tamarind and spices. The category of kuzhambu this dumpling curry would fall under would be the array of puli kuzhambu or tamarind-based condiments. Other South Indian variations include mor kuzhambu (buttermilk curry), poricha kuzhambu (black pepper and coconut curry) and seiva kuzhambu (meat or fish curry). The key to getting perfectly cooked-through, grainy-nutty chana dal dumplings is to avoid adding any water to grind the mixture. Steering away from over-mixing the dumplings into the curry would also help in not causing too much breakage.
Image Credits: Gayathri's Cook Spot