One can hear this word kaara kolambu very often in Chennai, as this is one dish prepared in most of the households there. I have seen the women cooking this kara kulambu in the evenings after coming home from their job. A typical Madarasi dinner may be a generous ladle of this kara kulambu over piping hot rice with any side dish of their choice. Kara kulambu is a convenient dish in many houses, as this curry can stay fresh till next day without refrigeration. So they consider making this for dinner and reserve some for next day's lunch pack. Karakulambu needs a lot of red onion, tomato and tamarind. Sometimes I have seen the prices of onion and tomato shooting up and my friends would panic how to cook their favorite curry:) I had asked them why they may need so much onion / tomato, as my puli kulambu needs lot of coconut and had suggested them my version. But they would never consider my version and I love the way they stick to their native recipe:) Yes, this simple kara kulambu recipe is addictive and I too agree on this:)
I learned this recipe from one of my neighborhood friend J akka while in Chennai. She is a native of Chennai and her recipes include very tangy and spicy foods, which I like the most. One evening she was teaching her daughter to make this simple curry. On seeing this, I too noted down her recipe and my hubby likes it very much. I have prepared this kara kozhambu with okra (vendakkai). We can use any native vegetable like drumstick, drumstick leaves, brinjal, raw banana, or simply without any vegetables. This recipe can serve up to 4 to 5 people.
|Vendakka kara kolambu in Madras style|
Tamarind - 1 small lemon size
red onion - 2
garlic - 10 cloves
tomato (3 crushed) - 3/4 cup
home made sambar powder - 2 tbsp
red chilly powder - 1/2 tsp (optional)
turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
curry leaf - 2 sprigs
oil - 3 tbsp
mustard seeds - 1 tsp
fenugreek seed (venthayam / methi) - 1 tsp
cumin seed - 1 tsp
sea salt - 2 tsp (as per taste)
jaggery / brown sugar - 1 tbsp
okra - 15 number
Soak tamarind in warm water along with salt. Extract juice using 2 cups of water.
Put sambar powder, turmeric powder, red chilly powder, jaggery in the tamarind extract. Keep aside.
Some people won't add jaggery (brown sugar), but I like this version better.
Chop onion finely. Heat oil, add mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, cumin. As soon as mustard starts crackling, add curry leaves, very finely chopped onion and saute till onion turns soft.
Clean the okra, remove top and bottom. Wipe without any moisture. Cut it into 1 inch pieces.
Saute it along with onion till we see brown spots on okra.
Then add the crushed tomato (chop them finely and squeeze with hands) and saute till the oil shows up (without breaking the okra).
Put the peeled garlic and saute for a few seconds.
Then pour the tamarind extract prepared.
Bring it to a boil.
Cook covered in low heat till curry gets little thick (10 minutes).
Madras kara kulambu is ready!
Serve as curry over rice.