Ah. Biryani. That mouth-watering melting pot of flavors and spices. Who doesn’t like biryani? Shockingly, me. I have never been a fan and always wondered at the euphoric reaction it elicited among everyone, including my husband. But, during this quarantine period, I decided to conquer some of my misconceptions and biases (one reason for my dislike for biryani is its name) for certain foods. And, biryani tops the list. Others are kadalai curry, vadakari, korma (i really like the aroma, just not a fan of the actual dish, go figure that), aappam (again, I love the looks, the concept, just not crazy about actually eating it). Anyway, I started with searching for a good recipe for biryani and watched a youtube episode of Revathy Shanmugam’s Kavignar Veetu Samayal and decided to give it a try. Jackpot! Not only did I actually love it and not because I was super hungry, but I even ate it as a leftover. Finally, my search for a biryani I could love is over! This will be, for sure, my go to recpe for biryani. I made the side dish she made as well, and loved it also. Have provided the link in the notes section – for those who can follow Thamizh. Now, on to the recipe.
A satisfying starter, tea time snack. Somewhat healthy! Steamed potatoes, peas, green beans, carrots mashed with onions, ginger, chilies, dipped in a batter of chick pea and rice flour, and deep fried. While you can make this with just potatoes, the addition of vegetables adds some color and a lovely dimension to the dish.
Kuzhambu means a thick mix/slurry. True to its name, this kuzhambu is a spicy thick gravy with a tamarind base, with a few vegetables, and dal. The difference between vathal kuzhambu, kara kuzhambu and this is that this has cooked dal added to it. Then why is it not sambar? Good question. We use a pre-made spice powder to season this dish, whereas for sambar, we freshly roast and grind spices to make the masala. Also, this is a bit thicker than sambar.
So, as far as tamarind based gravies go, there are mainly 3 kinds in Tamil (brahmin) cooking:
Vatha kuzhambu/kara kuzhambu: no dal, limited vegetables, more oil and almost like a pickle
Sambar: Tamarind, dal, vegetables, freshly roasted and ground masala
Kuzhambu: Thick tamarind gravy, premade masala/spice powder, dal, limited vegetables.
This is a quick, wholesome, one pot light meal. It’s great for breakfast, or a light lunch or supper. And it’s a breeze to make. Made with cracked/broken wheat, the carbs break down slowly and keep you full for longer.