easy to digest – Tirunelveli Mor Kuzhambu
Mor Kuzhambu is a simple yoghurt curry. Mor means buttermilk and kuzhambu means gravy or curry in tamil language. In the north of India, the gravy made with yoghurt is called ‘Kadi’. Mor Kuzhambu looks like the north Indian ‘Kadi’, but the flavour of mor kuzhambu is enhanced by the ground coconut mixture and it is thinner in consistency. It is a really light gravy and very less or nil in pungent spices, which makes it easily digestible.
Vegetables like okra, long squash (lauki) or ash guard (white pumpkin or petha) are generally used in making this kuzhambu. Vadai (vada or deep-fried lentil balls) made fresh with soaked and ground kadalai paruppu/channa dal/bengal gram can also be used instead of vegetables to make mor kuzhambu.
When I was young, Mor Kuzhambu used to be our Sunday Lunch Special. Mostly, amma used to make ‘vadai potta mor kuzhambu’ or buttermilk curry with deep-fried lentil balls soaked in it. Sometimes, with vegetables.
A few years ago, I had the splendid privilege of having aachi – my paternal grandmother and thatha – my grandfather come and stay with us for a while. When I wanted to cook something special for thatha, aachi suggested mor kuzhambu – one of his favourites and very easily digestible at any age.
Now, destiny had knocked my kitchen door to make me realise what I had missed so long.
I asked her to guide me. The step by step process of making mor kuzhambu… the exotic aroma of grinding coconut with many more ingredients… the blended colour of buttermilk/beaten yoghurt with turmeric and the ground ingredients… the flavour of the vegetable cooked in this kuzhambu/gravy…. all made me relish the art of making mor kuzhambu and love tasting it too!
This is traditional tirunelveli style mor kuzhambu… thoothukudi mor kuzhambu might be different.
(Note: Amma’s mor kuzhambu is equally tasty… she always makes this mor kuzhambu she learnt from her mother-in-law – the same grand old lady of the household! I recollected this exact recipe from amma)
Mor Kuzhambu tastes best with ash gourd – vellai poosanikkai in tamil and petha in hindi.
vellai poosani/ash gourd
A few nutritional aspects of ash gourd –
Ash-gourd is loaded with nutrients. It’s an excellent source of vitamin B1 (thiamine), a good source of vitamin B3 (niacin), and vitamin C. It is also rich in many minerals like calcium. Its high potassium content makes this a good vegetable for maintaining a healthy blood pressure.
Ash-gourd is alkaline in nature and hence has a cooling and neutralizing effect on stomach acids and as such used effectively for treating digestive ailments like hyperacidity, dyspepsia, and ulcers. Ash-gourd juice is a popular home remedy for peptic ulcers. Ash-gourd juice is also used to treat diabetes.
Ash-gourd is also useful in treating respiratory disorders like asthma, blood-related diseases, and urinary diseases like kidney stones.
Mor Kuzhambu/Buttermilk Curry
Ingredients (serves approximately 4)
- cubed vellai poosani/ash guard – 2 cups
- water – 1/4 cup to cook the vegetable
- butter milk – beat 3 cups curds with 1/2 cup water together
- turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp + 1/2 tsp
- salt – to taste
- coriander leaves – for garnish
- asafoetida powder – 1/4 tsp
Grind to Paste
- freshly grated coconut (do not use desiccated or dried coconut) – 1/2 cup
- pottukadalai/roasted channa dal (chutney dal) – 2 tbsp
- minced ginger – 1 tsp
- cumin Seeds – 1 tbsp
- Green Chillies – 3 no.s (according to spice level of chillies)
grind to paste
mix with buttermilk
- cooking oil – 2 tsp
- mustard seeds – 1 tsp
- red chillies – 1 broken into two halves
- curry leaves – a few
add yoghurt mixture into cooked vegetable
beautiful yellow colour
Method of Preparation
- Peel the skin, remove seeds and cube vellai poosani/ash gourd
- Heat oil in an iruppu chatti/ kadai and add mustard seeds
- When mustard seeds splutter, add red chilly and curry leaves
- Then add the cubed vegetable and 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
- Pour in 1/4 cup water and a pinch of salt; Cover and cook the vegetable in medium heat till done
- Beat the curds and water to make buttermilk
- In a wide bowl, add the ground paste, 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, asafoetida and salt to buttermilk and mix well
- Pour this buttermilk mixture to the cooked vegetable in the iruppu chatti/kadai
- Stir gently in low heat till everything blends well
- While getting cooked, the raw yoghurt gravy transforms into a beautiful light yellow colour kuzhambu
- Keep stirring till the kuzhambu comes to boil
- Kuzhambu is done
- Do not increase heat or boil the gravy too much as the buttermilk will lose its consistency or curdle
- Add very little water if kuzhambu is too thick
- Garnish with chopped coriander leaves
- Serve hot with rice.
mor kuzhambu done
- Never add desiccated or frozen coconut – freshly grated coconut tastes best
- Yoghurt should be beaten well – this avoids quick curdling while cooked
- Always cook in sim or medium heat to avoid curdling
- Kuzhambu should be stirred gently
- Other vegetables like vendaikkai/okra, suraikkai/bottle gourd, vellarikkai/cucumber or poosanikkai/pumpkin taste good in mor kuzhambu.