Thursday, August 6, 2009

Malabar Spinach Kuzhambu (Spicy Mung Bean & Basella Stew)

This is a highly nutritious and utterly delicious dal. You might want to make a double batch because it tastes even better the next day. This kuzhambu is a bit spicy; it is as it should be. Typically, tamarind flavored kuzhambus are hot with spices (the word in Tamil for this is "kara-saram" meaning spicy-hot and worthy) to wake up sleepy or numb taste buds. 

If the split mung beans with skins are not available, this kuzhambu can be made with split skinless mung (yellow), whole mung, a combination of the two mungs, or other dals.

If Malabar spinach is not available, regular spinach or other greens such as Amaranth, Swiss chard,  Kale, etc may be used instead. Another wonderful leafy green is Taro leaves especially if you have some growing at home. Both the leaves and stems may be used instead of other greens to make this kuzhambu.

Sambar powder, tamarind paste, mung dal with skins, and other ingredients are readily available in Indian markets. If you like, prepare your own homemade Sambar Powder - I do.

4 - 6 servings

Malabar Spinach Kuzhambu over Rice

1 cup split Mung dal with skins
1 tsp Salt, divided
1 bunch Basella alba (Malabar/Ceylon spinach), about 4 cups chopped
2 tsp Tamarind paste (instant concentrated)
1/2 tsp Turmeric
1/4 cup Chopped Fresh Cilantro (Optional)

1 Tbsp Oil
1/2 tsp Brown Mustard Seeds
1/2 tsp Fenugreek seeds (methi)
2 Dry Red Chilies, broken into two
1 stalk Curry leaves, finely sliced (chiffonade)
1 or 2 pinches Asafetida
1 hot Green Chili, minced
1 small red Onion, coarsely chopped
1 clove Garlic, minced


Sort the dal for debris and pebbles; wash well. Cook in water to cover with the 1/2 tsp salt and a pinch of turmeric until very soft but retains some texture. Set aside until needed.

Wash the Basella/greens well and drain. Chop coarsely - use the stems also.

Prepare thalippu in a large pan (2 or 3 quart or liter capacity): Heat the oil with the seeds and red chilies; when they start to pop, add asafetida, then the green chilies, curry leaves, onions, garlic, turmeric, and the remaining salt. Cook until the onions turn lightly golden and soften.

Stir in the sambar powder and mix well.

Add 2 cups of water to the onion mixture and stir in the tamarind paste; bring to a good rolling boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.

Stir in the greens and then the cooked dal. Add more boiling water if the kuzhambu is too thick.

Bring to a boil stirring often and well. Remove from heat and let rest covered for 5 minutes.

Stir in chopped cilantro if desired.

Serve hot over rice, other grains, or with chapatis. Papadams, veggie dishes, raita, etc make nice accompaniments. Enjoy!!

NOTE: The kuzhambu will thicken more upon cooling; add water to thin to desired consistency when you reheat.


Anonymous said...

I just made this for lunch. It was amazing! I used sprouted mung beans.

Geetha said...

Hi Anon, I am glad you liked this recipe; it is one of my favorites. I am glad that sprouted mung worked out well too. Thank you for your feedback. Happy cooking to you! - Geetha

Unknown said...

Hi Geetha,
I had made this and it was really delicious. But nothing was left for the next day. So I am making it again today and must try to save a little to get to taste it again tomorrow.

Geetha said...

Hi Hema, I am glad that you liked this recipe. Were you able to save some for another day :)? I would love to hear your opinion.

Happy Cooking!! - Geetha

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Geetha said...

Hello Thomas, Thank you for taking time to add your feedback; so glad you enjoy the blog. I appreciate your kindly complimentary comments :)! Peace and Joy!
- Geetha