Saturday, April 07, 2007

Vendaikai Pulikulambu - Okra in Tangy sauce

Vendaikai Pulikulambu is very common in Kongu cuisine. Could be because of the fact that, those days, most of the people in Kongu region had their own farms and they had fresh vegetables (like okra/ lady's finger, silk squash, snake gourd, pumpkin, drumsticks, brinjals, raw plantain, tomatoes, etc, etc) coming out of their farms. The usual combination for Vendaikai Pulikulambu went like this - Rice, Vendaikai pulikulambu, Peerkangai poriyal (Silk squash on the side), rasam and curd. Where was the protein? Would the curd (yogurt) satisfy the requirement for protein? Considering the amount of curd used, well, I'd say, yes! These days, I think, addition of a boiled egg or roasted fish makes the above meal more balanced. I prefer the roasted fish over the egg though. (Indosungod, a wonderful blogger who is a thoroughbred Kongu girl and grew up surrounded by Kongu cuisine, tells me that 'Uppu Paruppu' (soft tur dal with salt/varan) is a very good combo for this pulikulambu. I guess, THAT is the protein in the meal. Thanks Indo!)

Okra - 1 lb, chopped in small rounds (I used a packed of Shana Bhindi, frozen, sliced)
Tamarind - a lemon size
Onion - 1, chopped fine
Red chillies - 2 (if it's the hot variety, 3 if you have milder red chillies)
Garlic - 4-5 pods (sliced, if big)
Fenugreek/Methi seeds - 1/4 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Cummin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Asafoetida - 1/4 tsp or lesser, say a pinch
Curry leaves - a sprig, chopped
Oil - 1 tbsp
Salt, to taste

Soak the tamarind in hot water. I put the tamarind in a microwave safe bowl and add some water to cover that and microwave for 2 mins. I let it cool and slightly mash it with my hands and extract pulp from the tamarind. A strainer can be used to filter too.

Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. When it sputters, add cummin and methi seeds and asafoetida. When they become golden (not brown), add the red chillies, onions, garlic and curry leaves and saute well. When the onions are done, add the tamarind pulp and stir once. Add the turmeric powder and salt and let it boil. After 15-20 mins, when the tamarind sauce has thickened and there's no more raw smell of the tamarind, you can add the chopped okra slices in the curry now. Stir once and let it cook. Here's a tip from my mom. If you want to retain the green color of the okra, let this cook without covering the pan with a lid. If you aren't concerned about the color, go ahead and cover it with a lid. From this time, it should take about 5-10 mins for the okra to cook. When done, Serve hot with rice and don't forget to include yogurt as the last course. Tastes great as a side, with curd rice.

Edited to add: If it's fresh okra, I saute the slices after onion, so that the okra doesn't get very sticky. Since the above used are frozen ones, it is added at the last few minutes; else it gets overcooked.

Thanks Satish for pointing out the missing red chillies.


TNL said...

I have had this before...and I loved the tangy tamarind with the okra...the gravy from this was delicious with rotis...thanks for your version Kay.


indosungod said...

Kay, Pulikulambu is a star in any Kongu meal. Looks tasty. I saute the okra a little bit before adding to the kulambu. Pulikulambu with uppu paruppu the best combo ever.

Menu Today said...

Hi Kay,
Pulikulambu with roasted papad !!!!
Thanks for the visual treat

Kay said...

Thanks Trupti, Indosungod and Menutoday.

Indosungod, now I get it.. So, uppu paruppu is the protein in the meal. :) Thanks for letting me know. I'll try it next time.

Yes MT, I totally agree... Roasted papad is a great combo, with pulikulambu..

Sheela said...

wow, kay, i am so glad i "discovered" your blog through your kind comment:)
let's talk sewing - yes, it is feather stitch at the hem of the maroon fleece tops...

Anonymous said...

Sounds delicious!! That was pretty funny about your hubby asking your permission before eating :)

Anonymous said...

Kay,i always sauté the vendakai in a tsp of oil before adding it to kozhumbhu, to get rid of the stickyness- amma's tip;) puli kozhumbhu , vadagam lamb & a good movie on tv is enough to make me happy! sometimes simple dishes are the best!

Shah cooks said...

we make a similar curry with vendaka bbut add coconut milk in the end. ur version looks so good!

Kay said...

Yay sheela, you found me! :)

Gini, Yeah, it's funny.

Paati, That's a good tip. I usually do that when I cook Vendaikai in India. Here, the frozen slices are added at the very end, since they cook superfast. I'll add your tip and tip from Indosungod to the post.

Shaheen, really? I should try it sometime. Do you have the recipe on your blog?

Anonymous said...

it's raining okras. my blog, priya's and now here too:). tangy okra looks yum!!

Sig said...

Hi Kay, I love Pulikulambu... And with Vendaikai its even better, looks great... thanks for the recipe. BTW, you have a lovely blog with interesting recipes! Will be back for more.

Roopa said...

i just love pulikolumbu, i do add some coconut paste too!

Kay said...

Reena, Really? Let me go look at your blog and Shaheen's. I'm always looking for new okra recipes to try.

Thanks Sig, I always think of 'Signorina' when I read your 'Sig'. :) You have a lovely blog out there.

Roopa, I do make a different version of Pulikulambu with coconut paste plus some more spices. Will blog about it sometime.

Tharini said...

Hi Kay...I came here thru your intro post on DMC. I missed writing you a comment then, but was really caught with what you said abt avoid synthetics in grooming and cleaning products. I hope that whenever you get a chance, you will do a post on DMC re: how you made those products and hoe feective and heathier they are in comparison to the commercial ones.

I have only recently, become motivated in this and would love to hear your inputs and put them to use.

Kay said...

sure Tharini.. will write about it soon. am on a self imposed rationed computer time.

bee said...

kay, pardon my ignorance. which part of tamil nadu would 'kongu' cuisine' come from?

Kay said...

Bee, that would be Coimbatore, Erode, Salem, Tirupur, Raasipuram, Namakkal, Karur and vicinity.

I am doing a bit of 'research' on it myself and after my India trip, which we are planning at the end of this year, I might be able to write on it, even more.

Unknown said...

I like your blog very much.
If you are interested in link exchange than please leave a comment on
Happy Blogging :)

Sharmi said...

hey Kay, I love this curry. I have posted this recipe as sweet n sour okra curry. but you gave it a lovely traditional name.

Revathi said...


I made the thakaali kuruma for idli/dosai today. I cannot thank you enof for that recipe.. I had it almost after 7 years..just the same as my amma makes. Immediately after having b'fast I called my mom and told her how great it was.. The credit goes to you..

Revathi said...

Hi Kay

Check out my blog. I have pasted ur tomato kuruma recipe. LEt me know if you have any problems with that..

Kay said...

Thanks Vanishree, Sharmi and Revathi!

Revathi, I'm glad you tried it and liked it. :)

Chinni said...

I like your blog very much.I like Okra so much.

indosungod said...

Kay Whatsup? Too busy? Have not seen you around for a few days.

Kay said...

Thanks chinni!

IGS!!! Thanks for checking one me! :) I've been a bit busy with the li'l one.

Satish Janarthanan said...

Sans chillies?

First things first. This blog is an excellent resource and I've been coming here often to pick up new recipes. Good job - keep it up !

I noticed your recipe for pulikulambu didn't include chillies or chilli powder? Did I miss anything? But since am really a starter at cooking ('kathukutti') and partly because I was really hungry, I decided to follow yours word to word. Everything came out perfect, except it left me wishing I had a bit more spice to it. Should we add a bit of chilli powder?

Thanks and keep blogging !

Kay said...

Satish, good catch. I use red chillies (usually 2 if it's hot and 3 if the red chillies are very mild) and add it along with the onions. You can add green chillies too, but red chillies do a better job. But not the chilli powder. It doesn't work as well.

Thanks! Will update the recipe.

Rumela said...

My father is a huge fan of
Vendaikai Pulikulambu and I always try to make one for him whenever we see my parents. He has yet to be fully blown away by any of the recipes i've tried. Simplicity is key, and yours looks perfect! Can't wait to try it.thank you for shearing your post.