In our parts here, Aadi is bigger than Deepavali. Bonafide Tamil, this month is THE month to visit TamilNadu if you want to experience everything you saw in Ramarajan movies – “Thee medhikaradhu”, “Alagu kutharadhu”, “Saami aaduradhu”, “Koozhu” and “karuvaatu kuzhambu”. Yeah, and all of these happen in cities too.
Aadi velli, Aadi sevvai, Aadi perukku, Aadi ammavasai, Aadi thalupadi, Aadi is one non-stop month of frenzied activity.
I am no perfect daughter-in-law. I don’t remember these dates. I don’t remember when I have to oil/wash my hair and when I shouldn’t. I don’t understand why sambar is compulsory on most of these days. I can’t make small talk. I make do.
I remember the koozhu, karuvattu kuzhambu and fried eggs though. The vegetarian version of the karuvattu kuzhambu is this mochai kottai mixed vegetable kuzhambu. It is lovely with rice and appalam or fried eggs. It is a hearty kuzhambu chock full of native vegetables (avarakkai, drumstick, seppan kezhangu etc) that is traditionally served as a side dish with koozhu. Try it soon.
Prep time: 15 mins
Cooking time: 25 mins
Dried mochai/Lima beans – 1 cup soaked overnight
Drumstick – 1 chopped into 2 inch pieces
Seppankezhangu/Colocasia/Arbi – 200 gm peeled and sliced into discs
Avarakkai/Broad beans – 100 gm chopped into 1 inch pieces
Onion – 1 large chopped fine
Tomato – 1 large chopped fine
Tamarind extract – 1 large lemon sized ball (~2 cups of tamarind extract)
Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
Red chilli powder – 5 tbsp
Salt to taste
Fenugreek seeds – ¼ tsp
Asafoetida powder – ¼ tsp
Curry leaves – 1 stem
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Gingelly oil – 4 tbsp
1. Rinse the soaked mochai a couple of times and transfer to a pressure cooker. Fill with fresh water to about double the volume of beans. Pressure cook for 20 minutes or till the mochai are tender. Set aside.
2. Heat up a thick bottomed pot. When hot add the oil. Add fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds and curry leaves. When mustard seeds splutter add asafoetida and stir. Add the chopped onions and fry until they turn translucent.
3. Add the chopped tomato and fry until they turn soft and mushy. Add the chopped drumstick, seppankezhangu and avarakkai. Mix everything up and fry for a couple of minutes.
4. Stir the turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt into the tamarind extract and break up any lumps. Pour the tamarind mixture into the pot with the vegetables. Stir well and bring to a boil. Cover and cook on low heat for about 10 minutes or till the vegetables are almost cooked through.
5. Drain the liquid from the pressure cooked mochai and tip the mochai into the pot. Increase heat to medium-high and cook for another 5-10 minutes or until the vegetables are tender and the kuzhambu has thickened slightly. Switch off (This kuzhambu will thicken even more as it cools down). Serve hot with steamed rice, ghee and appalam.