Kathirikai kaarakuzhambu

Kaarakuzhambu is a thick spicy curry that is eaten with steamed rice. Coming from a village background, I have grown up seeing peasants and laborers consuming this almost everyday for supper. This is a preferred curry for mass cooking as it is simple, economical and quite filling. Even today, while I stand in the balcony or terrace, I see in the construction sites here and there someone cooking with small stoves making rice in pots and karakuzhambu in sattis, the aroma appetites me in no time. More than the taste of the dish itself, it is the love and gratitude I’ve seen these people eating it with after the whole day’s exhaustion, they celebrate the mere satisfaction of hunger for food; sometimes they stay far away from their families for work yet become family with people around. I really envy their attitude of living in the present.

Ingredients:

1. Brinjal – 5
2. Onion – 1
3. Tomato – 1
4. Garlic – 1/2 pod
5. Gingelly oil – 2 tbsp
6. Vengaya vadagam – 1/4 ball or 1 heap tbsp 
7. Curry powder – 2 tbsp
8. Tamarind – gooseberry size or 2 tbsp store bought pulp
9. Salt to taste
Method:

Step 1: Wash and chop brinjal, tomato, onion and peel the garlic cloves.
Step 2: If using tamarind, soak the tamarind in water and squeeze out pulp and keep aside.
Step 2: In a kadai heat the gingelly oil and add vengaya vadagam to it. 
Step 3: Once the spices splutters and browns well, add onion, garlic to saute until soft; then add tomato and finally the brinjal. Saute for 2 minutes.
Step 4: Add curry powder, salt and water and let it boil for 10 minutes in low flame.
Step 5: Add the tamarind pulp and stir to boil for 5 more minutes.

Step 6: Serve with hot steamed rice along with papad.

TIPS:
* Vengaya vadagam is a mixture of spices along with onion that are soaked in castor oil and then sun dried; it is said to have lot of medicinal properties in addition to the strong flavour it renders to the curry. 
* If vengaya vadagam is not available, you can splutter the spices like mustard, cumin seeds, fenugreek, asafoetida, red chilies, curry leaves and urad dal seperately before adding the vegetables.
* Kaarakuzhambu can be prepared with other vegetables like potato, ladies finger, radish, colocasia or drumstick also.

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