Ericha Kuzhambu – A special dish that is made using left over gravies like sambar, kuzhambu and curries that is served as a side dish with idli or dosa. Its basically a melange of tastes that comes together to form a single unique dish that tastes like all the dishes that went into it.
This Ericha kuzhambu is usually made the day after a festival or after any big family function. Usually a big feast is prepared for both occasions and as our ancestors did not have any refrigerator to preserve the left overs back then, this kulambu was prepared using up all the left overs from the feast.
Many also call “7 kari kootu” or “Thiruvadhirai Thaalga Kuzhambu” as Ericha Kulambu or Ericha Kootu (as its very thick) but they are made using fresh produce for the specific purpose of “neivedhyam” and no one gets to taste before neivedhyam. In my home, only the kulambu made using the left overs is referred by that name.
As the left over sambar and rasam the next day are exceptionally thick because of the reheating the previous night, its called as “kasadu” and since we once again cook them up again the next day, some people also refer to this kulambu as “sunda kuzhambu”.
During my childhood, neither my grandma nor her neighbours had any refrigerator in their homes. After pongal festival especially, all the left overs from the neighbourhood will be collected to cook up this Ericha kuzhambu in a big claypot fired up by wood.
A big wooden “mathu” (masher) will be used to gently mash the veggies right back into the boiling kuzhambu. The resulting dish will look like a spicy mash that tastes spicy, tangy and sweet because of the sweet potatoes in the pongal kuzhambu.
It will then be distributed to all the houses to serve as a side dish. After each festival or any special occasion, each house will take turns to volunteer to make this.
There is something exceptionally aromatic and tasty with cooking up this in wood fired claypot. The regular ones cooked in stainless steel vessels on gas stove lack something prime or may its my imagination.
This tastes not only good with idli and dosa but also goes exceptionally well with curd rice, paal sadam and paal pongal. As a kid I loved to have it with paal sadam (milk rice).
Ericha Kuzhambu Recipe details as follows:
- Left overs (sambar, rasam, kuzhambu) - 1 cup
- Shallots (sambar onions) - 10
- Sambar powder - 1 tsp
- Salt - to taste (if needed)
- Oil - 1 tsp
- Poriyals (with or without coconut)
- Anything with Curd or Buttermilk (like Mor Kulambu, Aviyal etc.,)
- Anything with milk or coconut milk in it (like paal curry or paal kootu)
- Anything with jaggery or sugar in it (like Sweet Pachadi, Payasam, Pradhaman etc.,)
- Heat a pan with oil. Add finely chopped shallots and saute over low flame for few seconds.
- Do not cook till it goes soft, it should be crunchy. Add sambar powder and mix well.
- Immediately add the left overs and mix well.
- Check salt and add if necessary. If the kulambu is exceptionally thick, add little warm water and mix well to the consistency you prefer.
- Let it heat through. Take off pan from stove and garnish with coriander leaves.
- Serve this Ericha Kuzhambu hot with soft idlis and medhu dosa or set dosa.