Pooshnikayi Varuthu Aracha Kozhambu in kal chatti closeup
Varuthu Arucha Kozhambu

Ash Gourd and Dal cooked in freshly dry roasted spices & Coconut Gravy

Servings: 4
Author: Radhika Penagonda
  • 2 cups Ash gourd (cut 2 inch long, 1/2 inch wide) skin chopped off
  • 1/2 cup Toor Dal
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • small lemon sized tamarind
  • salt to taste
To dry roast & grind:
  • 2 tbsp coriander seeds dhania
  • 2 tbsp split bengal gram chana dal
  • 12 whole dried red chillies
  • 5-6 curry leaves
  • 1/2 inch piece of cinnamon chakke
  • dash of hing/asafoetida
  • 2/3 cup grated coconut
For tempering:
  • 3 tsp peanut oil
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • pinch of hing/asafoetida
  • 2 whole red chillies
  • 5-6 curry leaves
  • 2 tbsp peanuts
  1. Wash Tuvar dal well until water runs clear. Pressure cook with turmeric for 4-5 whistles or until well cooked.  Meanwhile in a medium pot, cook diced ash gourd in a little more than enough water to cover until cooked but not mushy. Add salt, cover and keep aside.
  2. When cooker has cooled, whisk through the cooked dal to mash well. Wash and soak seeded tamarind in warm water for 10-15 mins.
  3. In the mean while, in a kadai/skillet over medium-high heat, dry roast everything under "To dry roast & grind" except hing and grated coconut until fragrant and the chana dal turns golden brown and curry leaves are crisp. Switch off, add hing and grated coconut and sauté until coconut is not longer raw.
  4. Squish soaked tamarind to pulp. In a blender, grind the dry roasted ingredients along with tamarind pulp and some water to a smooth paste.
  5. Pour this paste onto the cooked ash gourd along with cooked dal. Adjust the salt, add more water to adjust the consistency and bring to a nice bubbling boil over medium heat, stirring intermittently. Simmer for about 10-15 mins.
For the tempering
  1. Heat oil in a small kadai or saucepan over high heat. When the oil is hot enough, add mustard seeds and reduce heat to medium. When they splutter, add whole red chillies, curry leaves and lastly hing and sauté until red chillies turn brown and curry leaves are crumbly crisp. Turn the tempering over on the simmering Kozhambu, cover immediately and keep aside.

  2. Serve hot with a spoon of ghee drizzled over hot rice and a side of Appalam. It is finger licking good!

If you need to increase or decrease the quantity of the dry roast ingredients, rule of thumb is - dhania and chana dal go in equal proportions.