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A South Indian vegetarian dish Kulambu or "Kuzhambu recipe"

Updated on April 21, 2016
Venkatachari M profile image

Venkat is experienced in cooking since his mother's demise in 1966 and cooks Indian cuisines better. He uses healthy, easy ways in doing so.

Kuzhambu or Pulusu
Kuzhambu or Pulusu | Source

Do you like tangy, sweet,spicy mixed kuzhambu recipe?

5 stars from 1 rating of Kulambu (or Pulusu)

What is kuzhambu recipe (or Pulusu)?

"Kulambu" is a South Indian dish mostly used as the side dish with rice. It is known as "Pulusu" in Andhra Pradesh. It is made up of pulses (yellow split pigeon peas) and vegetables. Most people get confused with kuzhambu recipe and think it to be the same or as equal to the 'sambar' dish that is being consumed with idlis.

But, no, it is not sambar. "Kulambu" is different from sambar. In sambar, we use lesser tamarind and add very finely cut pieces of vegetables and sambar powder. But Kulambu is prepared by adding a little bit more of tamarind juice and big pieces of vegetables; with no sambar powder. Instead of the sambar powder, green chillies or dry(red) chilli powder is used. Some people use pepper powder also.

Importance of kuzhambu / kulambu recipe in Southern India

  • Kulambu is used daily for eating rice food. Either Kulambu or sambar is a must side dish for eating the rice in entire south India and especially in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu. But, sambar is mostly eaten by Tamil people, whereas Telugus eat Kulambu known as Pulusu.
  • It is a must on the 3rd day of Makar Sankranti festival in January.
  • It is a traditional practice to prepare Kuzhambu recipe on all festival days and family gatherings.
  • Marriage festivities are considered incomplete without this Kulambu recipe or Pulusu.
  • It is a healthy and heavy recipe to fill your stomach.

Cook Time (including cutting of vegetables)

Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 25 min
Ready in: 40 min
Yields: One Litre of kuzhambu can be served to ten people

Ingredients for Kulambu or Pulusu recipe

Yellow pigeon peas (kandi pappu)
Yellow pigeon peas (kandi pappu) | Source
big Brinjal, Pumpkin
big Brinjal, Pumpkin | Source
Carrot and ladysfingers
Carrot and ladysfingers | Source

Ingredients for one litre kuzhambu recipe (Pulusu Recipe)

Quantity
Ingredients
specifications
100 grams
split yellow pigeon peas
to be cooked separately
250 grams
yellow pumpkin
no need to remove skin
200 grams
Big brinjals
Big round, black brinjals
200 grams
carrot or sweet potatoes
fresh and soft
100 grams
ladyfingers
fresh
200 grams
Onions
remove outer layers
50 grams
tamarind
to be soaked for juice
50 grams
jaggery
shave for easy mix
one spoonful
dry chilli powder or green chillies
use either powder or 4,5 green chillies
one heaped spoonful
salt
 
half spoonful
turmeric powder
 
small quantities
mustard seeds, cumins, methi (fenugreek) seeds
for frying to top
a small bunch
coriander leaves (optional)
for topping
The above ingredients can make one Litre of kuzhambu recipe which can be served to ten people.

Step by step instructions for Kulambu / Pulusu recipe

cut pieces of pumpkin, carrot and onions
cut pieces of pumpkin, carrot and onions | Source
pieces of ladyfingers and brinjal
pieces of ladyfingers and brinjal | Source
tamarind pulp juice after extracting waste
tamarind pulp juice after extracting waste | Source
green chillies cut vertically without removing head
green chillies cut vertically without removing head | Source
kulambu ready removed into container before topping
kulambu ready removed into container before topping | Source
fenugreek (known as methi or mentulu) for frying to top
fenugreek (known as methi or mentulu) for frying to top | Source
mustard seeds, cumin and asafoetida or hing for frying in oil with fenugreek to top on kozhambu
mustard seeds, cumin and asafoetida or hing for frying in oil with fenugreek to top on kozhambu | Source
ladle for mixing (can be used as frying pan also for topping purposes)
ladle for mixing (can be used as frying pan also for topping purposes) | Source

Easy tips for preparation of Kuzhambu recipe

  1. In the first place, you take 50 grams tamarind in a small wide container and soak it with 200 ml water.
  2. Then, take the dal (pigeon peas) into a cooker, wash them and add water to cook and place the cooker on the flame and allow it to cook till it emits four whistles.
  3. In the meantime, you can keep the vegetables ready. Take the vegetables as listed above or others of your choice and cut them into big pieces as shown in the images. You can make them big pieces or medium pieces. Some prefer large (one inch) pieces to enjoy the special taste of those pieces when cooked in the Kulambu. You can add sweet potatoes or ordinary potatoes in place of carrot. After cutting vegetables and onions, take green chillies and slice them vertically from the bottom end without separating the pieces at the top end or head end.
  4. After the dal (pulses) gets cooked, remove the cooker from flame and allow to cool for opening the lid.
  5. When vegetables are cut and the jaggery is also shaved into thin layers or cut into tiny pieces, you may prepare the tamarind pulp juice by removing the waste from the pulp.
  6. Now, remove the lid of the cooker, mix the dal with a ladle and add the vegetable pieces and tamarind juice into it and mix well pouring more water so that the mix is in a medium-thick liquid form. Then add shaved jaggery, salt, turmeric powder and the green chillies into it. Place the lid of the cooker and again place it on heat for 5 to 7 minutes so that it makes two whistles. Then remove it from the flame and cool for some time.
  7. Now place a small frying pan or ladle on low flame and pour one spoonful of oil into it and allow to heat. Then add the seeds of mustard, fenugreek and cumins and a little bit of asafoetida powder, fry till fenugreek gets a little dark and add it into the Kulambu recipe as a topper. You can top again it with the coriander leaves finely cut for a good look and smell.
  8. Before topping, you are expected to remove the Kulambu from the cooker into a separate bowl or container having a lid. Now, your Pulusu or Kulambu recipe is ready for serve.

Kulambu | Pulusu recipe

kuzhambu recipe ready for serving
kuzhambu recipe ready for serving | Source

Extra tips to make Kuzhambu or Pulusu recipe tasty and delicious

  • Cook the (dal) pulses to become paste-like for easy mixing with cooked vegetables to give a good taste to the entire preparation.
  • You may add a bit of other pulses like chickpeas, green peas or black peas also for mixed taste while cooking the yellow pigeon peas.
  • You may reduce tamarind and jaggery quantities or increase as per your taste.
  • Some people add drumstick pieces but it will be uneasy or embarrassing in eating; as you may have to spit the hard core of it. Better you leave them unserved.
  • If you are adding sweet potatoes, no need to add pumpkin also as both are sweet veggies. Or you may take reduced quantities to add both.
  • You can add your choice of vegetables and quantities. But remember to make the preparation a thick soup instead of preparing diluted one for good taste.
  • And, yes. Adding green chillies is best instead of adding chilli powder or pepper and other powders. Green chillies give you best taste and are healthy also.
  • While topping it, it will be better if you can make powder of the fenugreek by separately frying it dry and mix the powder in the prepared Kuzhambu or Pulusu recipe and then top it with other ingredients fried in oil.
  • Topping with fresh coriander leaves enhances the flavour and beauty of the recipe though I have been unable to add them. Even then my recipe was very good in taste.

One more variety of Pulusu (Kulambu)

Kuzambu with sweet potatoes
Kuzambu with sweet potatoes | Source

Comments

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    • Venkatachari M profile image
      Author

      Venkatachari M 3 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Hi, its great that you like pumpkin taste and liked my kozhambu dish. I am sure now you can prepare it and enjoy with your family and friends. Have a nice day.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 3 years ago

      Thank you for sharing your recipe. I imagine the peas give it a lot of protein and I love the pumpkin taste that is added.

    • Venkatachari M profile image
      Author

      Venkatachari M 3 years ago from Hyderabad, India

      Hi, welcome billybuc. It is our duty to make people mix and mingle with each other and value human relations and other cultures.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Again, thank you for this and for bridging the gap between cultures.