Chettinad Kalyana Vatral Kulambu

This Chettinad Kulambu will always hold a special place in my heart. I learned this recipe from an Aachi (Aunt) while visiting my MIL’s place. She happened to be her neigbour whose husband has come there on transfer. I was pregnant with Arun and she took such good care of me and cooked up some delectable unni appams and other chettinad specialities and used to serve with so much love. I shall always remember her kindness and love though she went back to Karaikudi some years back. She has become such a dear friend.

I very dutifully jotted down all the recipes from her and tried out many of them over the years. I have made this Vatral Kulambu umpteen number of times and my whole family enjoys this very much. You can also find this type of vatral kulambu served in Wedding lunches during the recent years. Here is the recipe.

Chettinad Kalyana Vatral Kulambu
You’ll Need:

  • Manathakkali Vatral – 2 to 3 tbsp
  • Tamarind – small lemon size
  • Shallots / sambar onions – 1 handful
  • Tomato – 2
  • Asafetida – 2 pinch
  • Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
  • Fenugreek seeds – ¼ tsp
  • Chana dal – 1 tsp
  • Dry whole red chilli - 4
  • Chillli powder – 2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
  • Curry leaves – 1 sprig
  • Gingelly Oil – ¼ cup
  • Salt – to taste
To Grind to a paste:

  • Onion – 1 (medium size)
  • Coriander seeds – 1 tbsp
  • Urad dal – 1 tsp
  • Dry red chillies – 6
  • Fresh grated coconut – ¼ cup
  • Poppy seeds / khus-khus – 2 tsp
Heat 2- 3 tsp of oil in a kadai and fry the above mentioned ingredients one by one and grind it to a fine paste using little water.

Soak tamarind in hot water and extract its pulp. Heat oil in a pan add asafetida, mustard seeds, once it splutters add fenugreek seeds, whole red chillies and channa dal.

After it gets roasted add the sambar onions, curry leaves, manathakkali vatral and chopped tomatoes. Sauté for 2 minutes. Add the ground paste and and sauté over a low flame till the tomatoes become mushy and oil starts to ooze out. This may take 10 to 15 minutes.

Now add the chilli powder, turmeric powder, salt and tamarind pulp. Let it come to a boil and thicken a little bit before taking off the stove. Serve this kulambu with hot rice with little ghee accompanied by vadams or appalam for side dish.

You can check out my Vatral Kulmabu done by the traditional method here.

I used gingelly oil for this recipe. If you are not comfortable with its flavor you can use any cooking oil. You can also replace onions with shallots though I do not find such a big difference.

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