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Vellai curry (Sambar without dal) - Tirunelveli Vellai Curry

Vellai curry(Sambar without dal)

Vellai curry is another popular kuzhambu from Tirunelveli. Very few ingredients, fast and really tasty. 
This Vellai curry is served along with kadaintha keerai ( keerai masiyal) or paruppu(dal) with plain rice. This kuzhambu is similar to karakuzhambu. You can add any seasonal vegetables or cooked lentils such as chickpeas and mochai. This kuzhambu takes about 20 minutes, uses ingredients that I always have on hand and tastes so good. You can adjust the heat by adjusting the amount of chilly powder and sambar powder. I always use homemade chilly powder which is not spicy. If you are using store bought chilly powder then,  reduce the quantity. I used the same technique of adding asafoetdia in the final stage, which really brightens up the flavours.  If you try this kuzhambu I promise it will become one of your regulars. Let's see how to prepare this Vellai curry with step by step photos. Check out my other kuzhambu varities also.

Vellai curry(Sambar without dal)  Vellai curry is another popular kuzhambu from Tirunelveli. Very few ingredients, fast and really tasty.  This Vellai curry is served along with kadaintha keerai ( keerai masiyal) or paruppu(dal) with plain rice. This kuzhambu is similar to karakuzhambu. You can add any seasonal vegetables or cooked lentils such as chickpeas and mochai. This kuzhambu takes about 20 minutes, uses ingredients that I always have on hand and tastes so good. You can adjust the heat by adjusting the amount of chilly powder and sambar powder. I always use homemade chilly powder which is not spicy. If you are using store bought chilly powder then,  reduce the quantity. I used the same technique of adding asafoetdia in the final stage, which really brightens up the flavours.  If you try this kuzhambu I promise it will become one of your regulars. Let's see how to prepare this Vellai curry with step by step photos.

Here is a short video for Vellai Kuzhambu


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Vellai curry is a popular kuzhambu from Tirunelveli. Very few ingredients, fast and really tasty. 

Prep time : 10 minutes
Cook time : 20 minutes
Serves : 4
Category : Kuzhambu

Ingredients
  • 10 small onions
  • 3 ladies finger
  • 1 brinjal or 1 drumstick
  • few mango pieces or 1 tomato
  • 1/4 tsp fenugreek
  • 1 tbsp tamarind
  • small piece asafoetdia
  • 1/2 tbsp sambar powder
  • 1/2 tbsp red chilly powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • few coriander leaves
  • salt
  • 1 tbsp oil
For coconut paste
  • 1/2 cup  grated coconut
  • 4 small onions
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 tsp cumins
For tempering
  • 1/2 tsp mustard
  • 1/2 tsp urid dal
  • few curry leaves
Cooking Directions 
  • Soak tamarind in warm water for 15 minutes and extract the juice with 2 cups of water.
  • Cut ladies finger in lengthwise and brinjal in cubes.
  • Grind the coconut, small onions, garlic and jeera nicely with 1/4 cup water.
  • Take a kuzhambu vessel and add the tamarind extract, turmeric powder, salt, sambar powder, chilly powder and brinjal. Mix them nicely with your hands.
  • Now keep them on low flame for 15 minutes. Close it with a plate with a little gap in it.
  • When the vegetables are well cooked, add the chopped mangoes and asafoetdia. Allow it to boil for 5 minutes.
  • Now add the ground paste, some water and curry leaves. Boil till the raw smell disappears and switch off the flame and add the chopped coriander leaves. 
  • Heat oil in a frying pan and add mustard, urid dal and curry leaves. When the urid dal turns golden brown add it to the hot kuzhambu and mix well.


Vellai curry with step by step photos


Soak tamarind in warm water for 15 minutes and extract the juice with 2 cups of water. Cut ladies finger in lengthwise and brinjal in cubes. Peel the onions.






Grind the coconut, small onions, garlic and jeera nicely with 1/4 cup water. 






Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a frying pan and add fenugreek, small onions and ladies finger. 





When the onions turn golden brown add it to the kuzhambu vessel. Take a kuzhambu vessel and add the tamarind extract, turmeric powder, salt, sambar powder, chilly powder and brinjals. Mix them nicely with your hands without any lumps.


Now keep them on low flame for 15 minutes. Close it with a plate with a little gap in it. When the vegetables are well cooked add the chopped mangoes or 1 tomato and asafoetdia. Allow it to boil for 5 minutes.


Now add the ground paste, some water and curry leaves. Add some more water if the kuzhmabu appears thick.


Boil till the raw smell disappears and switch off the flame and add the chopped coriander leaves. Heat oil in a frying pan and add mustard, urid dal and curry leaves. When the urid dal turns golden brown add it to the hot kuzhambu and mix well.


Quick and tasty Vellai curry is ready to serve. We add good amount of fresh grated coconut paste for this kuzhambu and hence it is is called as vellai curry or vellai kuzhambu (i think so). In Tirunelveli, we frequently prepare this kuzhambu for lunch. My Grandma prepares this kuzhambu in a jiffy with keerai masiyal or paruppu.


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  1. This is a Simple and Hearty Meal beautifully explained...

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