Sunday, July 12, 2015

Pakarkai-Poondu Kuzhambu - Bitter guard-garlic cooked in thick tamarind gravy (Indian Style)

I usually make "pathiya samaiyal" once in 10 days and DH is very appreciative about this.  Pathiya samiyal is a diet given during certain phases such as postpartum or illness such as fever, cold, indigestion. etc.  These dishes need not be taken only during illness but can be at anytime by anyone.  Owing to the lifestyle-induced dietary changes, I incorporate traditional dishes in diet once in 10 days. 

Moving to the recipe, this "poondu kuzhambu"/ garlic gravy is prepared and given during postpartum period.  Garlic has properties that stimulate the gastric system and help relieve gas and abdominal bloating.  The hotness would be on the milder side.  Last weekend when I was peeling the garlic cloves, DH asked me to include bitter guard.  I was very hesitant as to how the dish would come but I would say it came out well.  The bitterness is tamed with the addition of garlic, spice powder, and a piece of jaggery. 

You can omit bitter guard and just make the dish with garlic alone.  

Small pearl onions - 1 cup
Tomato - 1
Garlic pods - 1 cup
Bitter guard - 2
Jaggery - 1 small piece
Tamarind - lemon size (soaked in warm water)
Salt- As required
Oil - As required

To roast and grind
Asafoetida - Small amount (size of a peppercorn)
Channal dhal - 2 tsp
Urad dhal - 1 tsp
Pepper - 1 to 1.5 tsp
Red chillies - 5-6
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Jeera - 1/2 tsp

To Temper
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - few

1. Soak tamarind in warm water and extract the juice from the pulp.

2. Cut bitter guard into small pieces and pressure cook separately with little salt and water.  Make sure not to overcook the vegetable. 

3. Meanwhile roast the items given in the roast and grind section in little oil excluding jeera.  Add jeera while grinding to powder.    
4.  In a wok/heavy bottomed vessel, add oil and thrown in mustard seeds and when it crackles, add the curry leaves.  Later, add the small onions, garlic and tomatoes.   Add required salt.  When the onions have turned slightly brown, add cooked bitter guard and mix well.

5. Now add the freshly ground powder and mix well .  Add the extracted tamarind juice to this.

6.  Transfer to a vessel and let this boil for 10-15 minutes.  The mixture would get thickened with time.  Give special attention to not make the gravy burnt at the bottom.
 7.  Add little jaggery to the dish and let this boil for a minute.  Now the hot aromatic garlic kuzhambu is ready to serve.

8. If you are not a lover  of bitter guard, I suggest you to omit bitter guard and follow rest of the steps.  This kuzhambu tastes best with more settling time.

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