Whenever I lay my eyes upon curry leaves my Grandmom’s advice come to mind. She would ritually make this gravy every Friday as she had a curry leaves shrub in her backyard. As this kulambu tastes better the next day and continues to do so for another 2-3 days even after making it, she will make it before every week end. I used to hate it back then but then she would simply compel me to eat it with rice stating that curry leaves would prevent hair from pre mature greying. As I’m already seeing some grey hairs those words ring a bell now in my head. Hmmmm... too late I guess. The only thing I have to pray for now is to age beautifully. Wishful thinking... sigh....
This is a very versatile recipe. I have just made it the way in which my grandma makes this gravy. But you can omit or include the shallots and garlic in this gravy. Of course there are several ways of doing this gravy but this one is ideal for me and Hubby too likes it this way. Though my kids initially refused to eat it the thought of getting grey hair at a young age is enough for them to quit complaining and eat. Nothing works best like threatening I guess.
Karuvaeppilai Poondu Kulambu (Spicy Curry leaves and Garlic Kulambu/Gravy)
- Shallots / Sambar Vengayam – 1 cup
- Garlic – 1/2 cup
- Curry leaves – 2 cups
- Tamarind – 1 lemon size
- Vengaya kari vadagam – 1/2 tsp
- Salt – to taste
- Sesame Oil – 4 tbsp
To roast and grind:
- Whole dry red chillies – 10 –12
- Channa dal – 2 tsp
- Coriander seeds – 3 tsp
- Black pepper cirn – 1 1/2 tbsp
- Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
- Fenugreek seeds – 1/4 tsp
- Oil – 1/2 tsp
Immerse the curry leaves in water and wash well at least twice. Peel the skin of both shallots and garlic. If you have a mortar and pestle pound both together till they are coarse. Soak the tamarind in some warm water and extract the juice.
Heat a pan with oil and roast the ingredients mentioned in the list over medium flame till you get a nice aroma. Let it cool and grind it to a fine paste adding little water. Keep aside.
Heat sesame oil in a pan. Season with vengaya kari vadagam, when you get the aroma add the pound shallots and garlic and cook till they are pink and soft. Add the ground paste at this stage and cook till the raw smell goes off.
Add tamarind extract, salt, enough water (1/4 cup approx.,) and mix well. Close with a lid and let it cook over low flame for 5-7 mins or till the raw smell disappears.
Serve hot with rice to which a dollop of ghee has been added. This tastes even better the next day and the next but you have to reheat it to prevent it from spoiling as we have added shallots.
- Adjust the quantity of red chillies according to your spice level.
- For an authentic taste use sesame oil but if you are not comfortable with the flavor use any vegetable oil.
- In case you do not have vengaya vadagam use 1/2 tsp of mustard seeds and 1/4 tsp of urad dal for seasoning.