Saturday, December 26, 2009

Day 2 : Traditional Kara Kuzhambu - Spicy gravy with beans

For someone who grew up in a home where blending masalas was not all that common, I tend to cook with ground masalas quite a bit. The food back then was very simple fare, no blended onions or tomatoes, very little oil and not overtly spicy. This kara kuzhambu (spicy gravy) was an exception made every now and then because I for one insisted on them whenever I had a chance. The puli kuzhambu(tamarind based) was another favorite which I think was made more often because it was traditional as well. The cook we had back then was especially good at making spicy foods. She excelled in making non-veg dishes and spicy veg curries but her talent was curtailed because my parents were not fond them, perhaps I was the only fan.

The masalas when made were simple affairs with very minimum of ingredients. Kara kuzhambus were usually cooked with brinjals,okras mostly or other green vegetables and rarely if ever with beans like I tend to do a lot. Back home rice was pretty much the staple and wheat based breads like chapatis, rotis or parathas were not very common, whereas in my kitchen wheat based breads are eaten more than rice which necessitates the need for spicy gravies since they tend to go well together.

Adding tamarind pulp is a variation to this dish. Coconut is generally blended separately and used but I saute it a bit and add it together with the onions and blend. If using a pressure cooker it is a good idea to blend the coconut separately and add at the end, otherwise it tends to separate in the cooker.

Tomorrow we will look at an exotic gravy (to me it is) which uses a different set of ingredients but has now become a favorite in the house.

Kara Kuzhambu - Spicy gravy with Canary beans
1. 2 Cups of soaked Canary beans (substitute with any vegetable of choice)
2. 1/4 onion chopped about 2 tbsps
3. seasonings: mustard, curry leaves, methi seeds a few and cumin seeds
4. salt to taste
For the Paste
1. 15 small onion or a 1/2 cup of chopped red onions
2. 1 tbsp coriander seeds
3. 1 tsp cumin seeds
4. a few pepper corns
5. 6 red chilies
6. 2 tbsp grated coconut (blend to a paste separately if desired or if using a pressure cooker)

Saute the onions first till translucent, then add the rest of the ingredients other than the coconut and saute for a few minutes. Add the coconut towards the end saute for a few more minutes, cool and blend.

1. In a pressure cooker or a heavy bottomed pan add a tsp of oil and add the seasonings followed by the onions and saute till translucent.
2. Add the soaked beans and mix well.
3. Add the blended paste, enough water to cook the beans and let cook for 10-15 minutes till the beans are soft. Add salt.
Note: If you are using pressure cooker, cook for one whistle, let cool add the coconut paste and salt and let cook for 2 minutes more.

Serve with rice or with parathas.


  1. Simple yet nice recipe. You have a lovely space with yummy recipes.


  2. You have a way with curries! Canary beans are new to me, but they look so pretty and tasty. I think I might try this with black-eyes peas.

  3. Belieave me, yesterday i thought of soaking some mochai, to prepare kuzhambu.

    Kuzhambu looks so Delicious!!

  4. I love karam, the kuzhambu looks delicious.

  5. Yummy with canary beans, ISG. I love those especially. Looking forward to your 'exotic' dish!

  6. I never cooked with canary beans, looks so creamy. Deliicous gravy..

  7. Yummy looking curry ISG.. the curry is so versatile that I guess any kind of beans can be used..


  8. You're right, our childhood/growing-up foods were simpler. At home at my parents', they still are, simple stir-fries, tamarind gravies with not too much in them, dal - my parents eat paneer and stuff only when they go out

  9. I was surprised to learn from our friends Mom about Kongu cuisine, not much masalas involved and yet the curries were very tasty and simple.
    Lovely kulambu...Hope you have a better weather now after the storm.

  10. This curry looks delicious! simple yet so flavorful! I have not cooked with canary beans but I love the flavor (had them in a Peruvian restaurant once). This is a wonderful recipe to try canary beans, only if I can find them somewhere closeby now :)

  11. Hiya,

    I am in the marathon too, and love kara kozhambu /vatha kozhambu. Adding legumes to it too? Slurp.. slurp...

  12. I have to have my spicy food too! I really like how versatile this can be in swapping out as many beans or vegetables as I want! Love the warm colors of the photograph ... I swear I can smell it too!!

  13. This looks and sounds so delicious and healthy! With rice and plain yogurt, it would be my perfect comfort food.

  14. new for me ,...looks yummy,..

  15. yes. it turned out very well. thanks a lot. a kuzhambu without tamarind.

  16. I mistook the canary beans for peanuts in the first look. I bet this kuzhabu will taste best if u use soaked peanuts! Love the blending of roasted coconut with onions. Would go well with rice and papad Indo!

  17. This reminds me of the double beans kozhambu we used to make in Chennai - sigh....looks amazing!

  18. rtoram, glad to hear that and double glad you stopped by to let me know.

    Nirmala, I have indeed tried this with peanuts. love that too but these canary beans are tasty as well.

    PJ, let me know if you would like some shipped?

    Miri, no double beans in Delhi?

  19. I love the curry base gravy you used. Looks very delicious. Will try this as I have lots of foodgrains to be used up.


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