Poondu Kuzhambu (Garlic Curry)


Aaaah…..Diwali is fast approaching. Next week, I would be whipping out traditional diwali sweets and savories , going through pounds of sugar and gallons of oil. I thought I would post one simple, healthy recipe before jumping into the Diwali binge. I know I will make this curry again a few days after diwali, when I am not high on sugar and my stomach craves for a detox ūüôā

Poondu (Garlic) Kuzhambu (curry) is a very simple and a very basic recipe. No fancy ingredients, no fancy cooking techniques, takes less but delivers more. The garlic flavor is very subtle in the curry , so no need  worry about ogre breath after eating this :).

  • You will need :
  1. Garlic – 15 -20 cloves
  2. Curry leaves – few
  3. turmeric – 1 tsp
  4. vellam / jaggery/ brown sugar – 1 tbsp
  5. tamarind water – soak 1 tbsp of tamarind in water and extract the juice
  6. salt to taste
  7. Sesame oil – 1 tbsp

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  • To make the masala paste , you will need :
  1. Pearl onions – 10 (use shallots otherwise, but no large onions)
  2. Tomatoes – 1 large or 2 medium
  3. Curry leaves – few
  4. Black pepper – 1.5 tsp
  5. Dry red chillies – 2
  6. cumin – 1.5 tsp

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Grind the above ingredients to a paste. To get a smooth paste, first pulse the dry spices and add the onions and grind for 30 seconds and then add the tomatoes.

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  • In a wok, heat 1 tbsp of sesame oil and fry mustard seeds and then saute the curry leaves and the garlic.

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  • When the garlic cloves turn slightly golden, add the ground masala paste. (If you used large onions , the raw pungent smell of onions would be unpleasant, so only use pearl onions or shallots.)

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  • Dilute with half cup of water and to the curry add turmeric, brown sugar and salt.

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  • Taste the curry and see how much acid you will need and according to that add the tamarind water. Often while making tamarind based curries, we tend to go overboard with tamarind and then to compensate it we add more heat and more salt and unintentionally end up with an intense curry. It is wise to add the tamarind after adding all your seasonings, so that you will be better able to judge how much tamarind is needed.

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  • Allow the curry to boil and reduce. Cook until the garlic cloves are tender. Traditionally, 3 or 4 tbsp. of oil is used and the curry is cooked until all the oil separates and floats on top. But I always make this curry light and simple, and less oil does not lessen the taste in any ways.

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The approximate cooking time will be 15 – 20 mins. ¬†You can put rice to boil, start making this curry and while it is cooking, make a simple vegetable stir fry on the side. So a complete meal in thirty minutes…. most days , that is all the time we get to prepare a meal, right ? ūüôā

The garlic cloves that are cooked and soaked in the curry will melt in your mouth….

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Chicken and Black Beans Fajitas


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Boneless chicken stripsImage

Marinate with : Turmeric powder, Chilli powder, dark soy, 1/2 tsp of gingergarlic paste, lemon juice, yogurt and salt. Image
Let it sit for at least 30 mins, more the better. Lay the strips down on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees .Image
For the black beans :¬†minced ginger,¬†minced garlic,¬†minced green chillies,¬†lime and¬†minced herbs (I have mint here).¬†The powder I have in the middle is taco seasoning. If you do not have it, you can mix chilli powder, garlic powder, cocoa and brown sugar. If you don’t want to take that route, you can use channa masala too.Image
Saute the ginger, garlic, mint and chillies. Image
Add the black beans, seasoning, sprinkle some water and cook for a couple of mins. Do not make it dry.Image
Thinly sliced onions
red and yellow peppers
green apples(You can use any vegetable as long as they are light and crunchy, like cucumbers and zucchini)Image

Saute the onions and when they turn light brown, saute the peppers.Image
Add the green apples and add salt and pepper.Image
Warm the tortillas.Image
Now you just have to put everything together. You can serve with condiments like guacamole, sour cream or salsa. But just this is good enough, as you get the sweet and tangy from the peppers and green apples and all those spices from the chicken and beans.Image
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