Monday, August 7, 2006

Paal curry Kuzhambu

Food evokes fond memories like no other. I would say there is nothing else in the world that has this innate ability to trigger happy memories time and again. I am sure everyone has a few special dishes that is linked to happiness, fun and laughter.

Paal curry Kuzhambu is one such dish for me. It brings at the same time longing and fond memories, memories of carefree childhood, fun and the sun. Every summer the normal routine was to have a hearty breakfast, heavy lunch and a fantastic dinner and the time in between would be spent on visits to the river, mango grove, swimming in the well and of course fishing in the canal. Hearty breakfasts that I remember were alwasys the ones that had Paal Curry Kuzhambu on the menu.

Dosai does not taste like dosai unless it is eaten with Paal curry Kuzhambu. Digressing a little, when I think about it I have only memories of eating the dish never having watched it being cooked. Why do you think this is so,

Americans have it right atleast in this situation, where most homes have the kitchen as the central room around which the rest of the house is designed. This is very smart considering that most of the activities happen in the kitchen and especially helpful if there are young kids, you can have an eye on them while also getting dinner ready. Compare this with kitchens in India, where it is the last room in the house or in many cases it is situated such that you would never have to see it. It almost seems like it is not cool to have your kitchen visible to the outside world.
There might have been several reasons why this was so? If only the kitchens were more accessible maybe I would have spend time more time there learning from the masters.

Now back to topic and without further adieu here is the recipe for Paal curry Kuzhambu an attempt to creating my slice of childhood happiness.

Paal Curry Kuzhambu


1. 2 1/2 cups of Coconut milk (you could use readymade coconut milk but nothing beats the taste of fresh extracted coconut milk, consistency should be like that of 1% milk)
2. 1 potato boiled and cut into tiny pieces
3. 1/2 onion chopped fine
4. 2 green chillies cut into rounds
5. seasoning - mustard, curry leaves chopped
6. a fistful of chopped corriander leaves
7. 1 tsp oil

1. 1 1/2 tsp corriander seeds
2. kasakasa 1 tsp (poppy seeds)
3. 1 or 2 green chillies

the above should be made into a paste, it is tough making a paste out of poppy seeds and corriander seeds, so powder them first, it is easy to powder poppy seeds if a few grains of salt is added (thank you athai for the tip) and then blend them with the green chilly.

1. In a heavy bottomed pan, heat oil, add the mustard seeds when they start to pop add the curry leaves, cut green chillies and onions and saute till the onions are translucent.
2. add the potatoes and mix well.
3. Add the ground mixture with a little bit of water and salt and cook till the raw smell goes.
4. Reduce the flame, add the coconut milk keep stirring as you are adding the milk and boil till the coconut milk gets hot. Test for salt, switch off and remove from the stove.

Very Important, Do not stop stirring or raise the stove temperature to above a high low because the coconut milk will break and curdle.


Serve hot with dosais, it tastes best when the dosai is soaked. I assure you, you will not stop eating unless you summon all your willpower and bring it to a halt. End with a big nap.


  1. Thats one heavy breakfast!
    Btw the reason kitchens are designed the way they are in India is because food holds a lot of importance for us. Its not a place where people can walk in straight from outside (hygiene), it is usually located near the puja room (to offer prasad) and away from the bathrooms (vastushastra) its just a merry go round in comparison :-D

  2. Hi ISN,
    paal curry kozhambu looks nice.
    Ya ,What Ashwini says that is true
    about kitchens and it may be having advantages and disadvantages due to our culture.Coming to Apartments nowadays due to lack of space kitchen is cramped and designed for the people's comfort.
    Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  3. Thank you for this recipe Indo !

    I agree with Ashwini and Vineela. Kitchen, Food & Puja Room hold a lot of importance. In my grandfathers house, we had the bathroom at the backyard and women in the house are supposed to wake up early in the morning, take a shower and only then allowed inside the kitchen.

    BTW thank you for the paruppu sadham recipe too. Iam from Kongunadu (Coimbatore)and we make it the same way, no difference at all.

    COuld you please share some gounder recipes if possible.

  4. Pushpa give it a try you will defintely like it.
    Ashwini, Vineela and Priya thanks
    for commenting on the kitchen. It is infact interesting to hear different opinions.

  5. this sounds something like Malabar Ishtu...potato cooked in coconut milk gravy but we dont add khuskhus and coriander...I make it so frequent at next time I can create a variety with u'r recipe...thanx for sharing..

  6. ISG
    Thats a great recipe.. looks delicious.
    I agree with Ashwini, Vineela and Priya on topic of kitchen location.
    Back home our kitchen is the last room too and no one is allowed inside unless they clean their feet and hands also kitchen always had lot more ventilation to get the odors out.

  7. I do agree....on food and fond memories it triggers.BTW, your Recipe sounds interesting !

  8. This looks like something we have with appam... blame it on the indian kitchen design for not helping your mom while your were frolicking in the pond..hehehehehe

  9. inji I was laughing so hard after I read your comment, think you hit the nail on the head :--))

  10. SOunds very similar to a kerala Veg stew. That's such a hearty curry and a warm writeup
    Thank you

  11. indu,
    this is definitely our pototo ishtoo minus the poppy seeds. We have it with appam, but now i am curious abt it with dosa.
    As for the kitchen thot, the kitchen here fills the need of the courtyard back home.. And this too is a recent (10 yr) change as the older houses have smaller kitchens. so ur kiddos will learn cooking from ur open kitchen.:)

  12. Wonderful dish Indo. I made it today and a small twist in it is I had only half the amount of poppy seeds required. So i added a few cashews instead. But the dish came out really well. I loved it with rice and mango pickle. It resembled to the "sodhi" I used to make but this is more creamy and the subtle smell of the coriander added more flavor. Thanks a lot for the excellent recipe!

  13. Nirmala thanks for letting me know and I am really happy you enjoyed. This is one of favorite recipes, which we enjoyed a lot as kids at my grandparent's house. I have never tried it with rice though, we eat it with dosais all the time.


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