Mor Kuzhambu / Poosanikkai Mor Kuzhambu
Ash gourd in a Coconut and yogurt based gravy – South Indian Veg Main Course
Mumbai monsoons are at their full glory since last couple of days and it seems the Rain Gods have finally shown some respite to the perspiring and humid Mumbaikars. I on the other hand have been busy doing up the house, taking classes and blogging too.
I had posted the recipe of Kadhi Pakora last month and did mention briefly about the South Indian version of the Kadhi i.e. the Mor Kuzhambu. It was while editing the Kadhi Pakora post, that I also realized, I had not blogged one of my favourite recipes. I am so glad this post is up today as this is a childhood favourite with my eternal favourite combination – coconut and yogurt gravy.
For a South Indian like me, coconut based curries and gravies are pure nostalgia. Palakkad Iyers like myself favour the coconut and yogurt based curries along with a thoran or poriyal that goes with some short grain steamed rice and generous helpings of papads or poppadams, my personal favourite is the Arisi Appalam. We also call this dish Mor Kootan and usually add a variety of vegetables like Senai Kilangu / Yam / Elephants Foot, Okra or Bhindi and better yet, Arbi or Colacassia or Sir Kizhangu pieces in the gravy.
Mor Kootan or Kuzhambu, as I mentioned above, is something I have been fond of since childhood and have emptied bowls and bowls of this gravy, enjoying the Arbi pieces which my Ma always added a bit extra for me as they were my favourite. This is her recipe and is indeed special.
When it comes to Mor Kuzhambu, my husband prefers Poosanikkai and / or Okra or Bhindi or Lady Finger whereas I prefer the Seppankizhangu or Arbi or Taro Root Vegetable. I end up making a Seppankizhangu Roast and make the Kuzhambu with his choice of vegetables and both of us are happy. The secret to a happy marriage is not sacrificing anything for each other. Do what you love and do it together!
Some other Sabzis or Poriyals and Pachadis that would combine beautifully with Mor Kootan and make a complete meal from the blog which you can try.
Since Arbi wasn’t available, I had to make do with another favourite i.e. the Karamani Poriyal or the Yard Long Beans Poriyal which I spiced it up by grinding green chillies and coconut together. It matched beautifully with the medium spicy yogurt gravy along with home made vadu manga pickle (tender mango pickle) and was a great hit for lunch. I tend to make extra Mor Kuzhambu as we enjoy eating the leftovers with Adai or Dosa or with upma too.
And to let you know a little secret about me. I have been a big fan of Mumbai Pavs dunked in this Mor Kuzhambu since childhood. My Ma always thought I was crazy eating pav with the gravy but I loved it and In fact still do. Now with my own bakes I don’t even have to worry about the preservatives etc which Ma was always worried about with regards to store bought breads and pavs. And I have also managed to turn Narayan into a fan of the Pav Kuzhambu combination. Don’t agree with me? Combination sounds weird? Why don’t you make a batch and let me know! I bet you will come back saying it sounds delicious! I guarantee – you will!
In the meanwhile, check out the recipe and let me know how you liked this!
Recipe for Mor Kuzhambu / Poosanikkai Mor Kuzhambu
Prep Time – 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 to 30 minutes
Serves 3 to 4
- ½ kg Ash Gourd washed, peeled, deseeded and cubed
- Half a coconut (grated) or roughly chopped
- 3 to 4 nos. green chillies
- 1 tblsp of raw rice soaked
- ½ tsp turmeric powder
- ½ cup of thick yogurt
- 2 cups water to cook the ash gourd + as required to grind and adjust the gravy consistency
- Salt as per taste
For the tempering
- 1 tsp mustard seeds
- 2 whole red chillies broken
- 2 tsps of coconut oil
- Curry leaves
- Soak the raw rice with few 4 tblsp of water for atleast 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat a kadhai / thick bottom steel vessel with 2 cups of water and add the roughly chopped / cubed pieces of ash gourd along with turmeric powder and allow it to cook until the ash gourd pieces are cooked.
- Ensure the ash gourd is just cooked right else it will turn mushy. Prick it with a fork and it should be firm and shouldn’t squash.
- Now prepare the yogurt mixture by whisking the yoghurt with some water and keep aside. The mixture should be of lassi consistency.
- In a mixer grinder jar, add the grated / chopped coconut, soaked raw rice, green chillies and grind it into a thick paste.
- Once the Ash gourd is cooked, add the coconut gravy paste and mix well.
- Add salt followed by the yogurt.
- The mixture will thicken due to the coconut and raw rice and ensure the flame is low at this point.
- Bring it to one boil and switch off the flame, prepare for tempering.
- Heat some oil, add the mustard seeds and once they crackle, add the whole red chillies and curry leaves.
- Pour the tempering over the hot gravy and serve with some steamed rice, poriyal or veg of your choice.
- Raw Rice is added for thickening the gravy and in case you don’t wish to add, you may skip the same. In that case, add more coconut.
- Some add coriander seeds and cumin seeds in the gravy mixture but since this is my Amma’s recipe, I have made no corrections to her creation and make it as above.
- You can add yam, arbi, bhindi as alternative to ash gourd. However, arbi can be pressure cooked for one whistle to hasten the process of cooking and so can yam. Bhindi, on the other hand, needs to be sautéed in oil for some time before cooking it with the turmeric and salt water.
- Ash Gourd tends to leave some moisture so do ensure you don’t make this gravy very watery and keep it thick. (Hence the raw rice)
- If you forget to soak the rice, skip it and instead use rice flour 2 tsps for the above recipe but don’t add raw rice directly as it spoils the whole texture of the dish.
- The yogurt that we prefer using at home is not tangy but some do prefer adding a bit of tangy yogurt which also tastes good.