While the dish takes its name from buttermilk, it is mostly made with whipped curd that is a tad sour. Typically, one vegetable is used to make this dish. My favourite version is the keerai thandu (Spinach stalk) More Kuzhambu that uses tender and crunchy spinach stalks. These stalks are highly seasonal, typically making their first appearance in Chennai's vegetable markets around end July. More Kuzhambu tastes equally delicious with vegetables like okra, chow chow (chayote) and taro root / cola cassia (seppankazhangu in Tamil or Arbi in Hindi). A classic combination in Tamil Brahmin cuisine with the More Kuzhambu is the usilli - a poriyal (stir-fried vegetable) that combines vegetables like French beans or banana flower with steamed tur dal. It's remarkably simple, perfect if you don't have time to fix an elaborate sambar and works particularly well with a few vegetables. This is my mother's time-tested recipe with okra.
Vendakkai More Kuzhambu recipe (Okra Buttermilk gravy)Ingredients:Sour curd (Thick sour curd beaten) - 1/2 cup
Freshly grated coconut - 1/4 cup
Okra - 200 gms
1 tablespoon Cumin
turmeric - 1/4 teaspoon
1/2 tablespoon Urad dal
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek
1/4 teaspoon Coconut oil
Green chillies - 4 to 6
Curry leaves - a few sprigs
Salt - to taste
Mustard - 1/4 teaspoonMethod:1. Fry okra with a little turmeric and curry leaves.2. Add some water.3.Fry urad dal,fenugreek separately in coconut oil.4.Add the green chillies.5.Blend this mixture with the cumin seeds to a fine paste and add some water and the salt as you do.6.Add this mixture to the okra and let it simmer for 3-4 minutes.7.Add the beaten curd - add some water to this curd until it reaches a thick lassi consistency.8.'Temper' this with the curry leaves and the mustard seeds.If you like the Punjabi style Pakoda Kadhi, you could try the paruppu urundai (Lentil balls) more kuzhambu where you can substitute the vegetable with lentil balls:1. Soak 1/4 cup of tur dal with 1 teaspoon of raw rice2. Blend this into a coarse paste along with 3 ground red chillies and a pinch of asafoetida.3. Make this paste into balls and pressure cook.
About the Author:Ashwin Rajagopalan is a cross cultural training expert and lifestyle writer. When he's not writing about food, he thinks about gadgets, trends and travel experiences. He enjoys communicating across cultures and borders in his weekday work avatar as a content and editorial consultant for a global major and one of India's only cross cultural trainers.Disclaimer:The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. NDTV is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this article. All information is provided on an as-is basis. The information, facts or opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.