Hello from the other side!!! 🎼 Hello from the outside!!!🎵🎶

Can’t greet any other way, thanks to my girls! For this is all I have being hearing, played on the loop, ever since the album released! Oh yeah, Adele has slayed it!

It is Fall season. Halloween and Thanksgiving are round the corner. Social media and the seasonal vegetable pumpkin posts, rampant on the net, make sure I stay well informed! Keeping up with the spirits, I toooooh, am sharing a Pumpkin recipe, the way we love our pumpkin the most!

Menthi Kuzhambu is a traditional tamarind based stew cooked with fenugreek seeds. Fresh vegetables are cooked in tamarind juice or to the cooked and reduced tamarind juice, vatral | dry, salted vegetables like Manaithakkali , Sundaikkai are added in the end. This pumpkin endeavour has an indelible taste – piquant, tangy, tarty, spicy and gets better with age, like fine wine. Menthi khuzhambu – mention of this food muse, is enough to make us drool but for some it may be an acquired taste. It is served hot with steamed rice, paruppu | pressure cooked red gram lentils and dry vegetable curry. Happy eating!

DROOOOOOOOOOOOOL! Pumpkin Menthi kuzhambu

Prep time : 15 mins; Cooking time : 30 mins; Serves : 4 – 6

Ingredients :

  • A big lime size lump of Tamarind (preferably old – older the tartier stew)
  • 250 gms yellow pumpkin
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp bengal gram lentils | channa dal
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds | methi seeds
  •  2 – 3 whole red chilies
  • 1 –  1 1/2 tsp Sambar powder
  • 1/ 2 tsp jaggery
  • 1 tsp rice flour
  • a stem of curry leaves
  • 2 – 3 tbsps of sesame oil
  • powdered rock salt to taste

My Modus Operandi :

  1. Soak the tamarind in a cup of warm water for 15 mins. Squeeze out all the juice and strain out the pulp with a strainer. Set aside the clear tamarind juice, so obtained.
  2. Peel and chop the pumpkins into 1 inch rectangular or square pieces.
  3. Heat oil in a wok | bandli. Season with mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, bengal gram lentils, whole red chilies broken into halves and curry leaves. Add the pumpkins, sambar powder and scald till reddish brown about 1 – 2 mins. Now add the extracted tamarind juice and 5 cups of water. Boil on slow flame, till it reduces to about   4 – 41/2 cups of tamarind juice. Mix rice flour with about a tbsp of water till no lumps are formed and add it to the kuzhambu | broth for thickening. Add jaggery and salt. Check seasoning and the pumpkins, which need to be soft and cooked. Let it come to a boil and then switch of the heat.
  4. Serve hot with steamed rice, paruppu | pressure cooked red gram lentils and curry.

Variations :

  1. Vegetables like ladies finger, brinjal, capsicum, onions and shallots work wonderfully in this kuzhambu. Onions must be peeled and the vegetables chopped length wise. They must be scalded well, till lightly brown and then the sambar podi followed by the tamarind juice must be added.
  2. Sweet potatoes, drumstick, yam,carrot and potatoes also taste excellent in Menthi kuzhambu | tamarind stew.
  3. Instead of fresh vegetables, salted and dried Vatrals like Manaithakkali, Sundakkai, Kuzhambu Curryvadams (crispies) are also added to this kuzhambu but at the end, to maintain their crispiness, after the tamarind juice is cooked and reduced. Since the Vatrals are already salted, the Menthi kuzhambu | tamarind stew will need less salt.


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