Sunday, October 11, 2015

Kothavaranga Pulikulambu - Cluster Beans in a Spicy and Sour Curry

Pulikulambu is one of those sour and spicy curries that is perhaps only common in TamilNadu. Paired as a side with some rice and dal it becomes one of the most delicious things you have ever tasted. Puli is the tamil word for tamarind and kulambu is a watery curry. Pulikulambu is made with a very few ingredients - tamarin pulp, a vegetable, green chilies or chili powder and some seasonings.

In a bit of oil saute the garlic,ginger, curry leaves and coconut.
Saute the lentils and pepper. Combine the sauteed lentils with the coconut to a smooth paste.
Saute the jalapeno peppers in a bit of oil and set aside. In the same pan heat more oil and add the seasonings followed by the cluster beans.
Add the tamarind pulp to the sauteing vegetables and bring to a boil.
Add the blended paste and a cup of water, salt and let it cook for about 4-5 minutes.

There are many variations to these basic ingredients which including roasting and blending lentils or coconut. A few weeks ago I was talking to my mom about recipes with cluster beans and she passed on this recipe. The slightly sour cluster beans is perfect in a pulikulambu. Since I had an abundance of jalapenos I added that to the mix as well. Jalapenos are perfect for pulikulambu

Kothavaranga Pulikulambu - Cluster Beans in a Spicy and Sour Curry
Preparation Time:10 minutes
Cooking Time:25 minutes
  1. 1 cup of chopped cluster beans (cut to about 1 inch pieces)
  2. 10-15 jalapeno peppers cut in half, seeds and ribs removed
  3. 2 tsp of tamarind paste (or pulp from soaking a lime sized tamarind in water)
  4. seasonings: cumin seeds, mustard seeds, few fenugreek seeds, curry leaves
  5. salt to taste
  6. 2 tsp of oil
  7. For the paste
  8. 4 cloves of garlic
  9. 1 1/2 inch piece of ginger
  10. 1 tsp of pepper corn
  11. 1 sprig of curry leaves
  12. 1/2 tbsp kadalai paruppu or Bengal Gram
  13. 1/2 tbsp of ulandam paruppu or urad dal
  14. 2 tbsp of grated fresh or frozen coconut

  1. First get the paste ready, heat oil in a saute pan, add the garlic and ginger and saute till they turn color.
  2. Add the curry leave and saute for a minute. Add in the coconut and saute for a a few minutes more. Remove and set aside.
  3. Add a bit more oil and saute the kadalai paruppu first till it starts to turn slightly brown. At this stage add the urad dal and pepper and saute for a few more minutes.
  4. Combine the ginger, garlic, coconut and the sauteed dals and with addition of a little bit of water blend to a smooth paste.
  5. In a wide mouthed pan or kadai heat oil and add the jalapeno and saute till they brown a bit set aside. In the same pan add the seasonings - cumin seeds, mustard seeds and when the mustard seeds start to pop add curry leaves followed by the cluster beans. Saute the beans for 3-4 minutes. Add the sauteed jalapeno peppers.
  6. Add the tamarind pulp or if using tamarind paste mix in a cup of water and add it to the sauteing vegetables. Let it come to a boil.
  7. Add the blended paste along with 1/2 - 1 cup of water. Add salt and let it cook for 4-5 minutes. Turn off the heat.
Serve with steamed rice.

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