Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Vendakai Morkuzhambu (Buttermilk stew with okra)

This is the kind of morkuzhambu that my mom usually makes.  It is also the kind that is served as part of the feast in Tamil weddings and in restaurants when you order South Indian Thalis (meal plates with assorted delicacies from a particular region).  She did not make it as regularly as sambar or rasam.  We would have it on special occasions, as part of a big meal.  She typically made it with paruppu usili or seppankizhangu curry.


Since I learned to make red morkuzhabu from my mother-in-law, I have been leaning towards that and have ignored this more traditional kind.  Last weekend, my husband was mentioning that it has been a while since we had this morkuzhambu.  In fact, he said, he was going to make it one of these days.  I didn't think that was going to happen any time soon.  He is a good cook and does cook occasionally – like on Mother’s day, and maybe my birthday, and a couple of times in between.

To be fair, I really shouldn’t blame him.  I consider the kitchen my "petai" or domain.  I don’t like sharing my kitchen space and also hate people messing up my arrangement of spices and utensils.  My friends, mom, mother-in-law, and my husband have all experienced this reluctance (that is putting it mildly) on my part to share my kitchen.

Anyway, since I had the day off, and it was the day my Indian store got fresh vegetables (I made this with fresh okra or vendakai), I decided to make the morkuzhambu myself.  I also made rasam, keerai, and paruppu usili.  My husband was a happy man at dinner :)

Here is what you need:

  • 3 tsp. toor dal
  • 1 ½ tsp. channa dal
  • 2 tsp. jeera
  • 2 tsp. dhania
  • 5 green chilies
  • 1” piece ginger
  • ¼ cup grated coconut
  • 2 cups sour yogurt
  • salt to taste
  • ¼ tsp. turmeric
  • 1 tsp. oil
  • 6 okras
For tempering:
  • 1 tsp. oil
  • ½ tsp. mustard seeds
  • 2 red chilies
  • ¼ tsp. hing
  • few curry leaves


 Here is how I made it:

  1. Soak the toor dal and channa dal in water for about an hour.
  2. Drain the water from the dals and grind them along with jeera, dhania, green chilies, ginger, and coconut, into a smooth paste.
  3. Mix this with beaten yogurt, salt, and turmeric powder in a pot.
  4. Place this on low heat, stirring constantly to prevent curdling.  When it shows signs of coming to a boil, turn off the heat.
  5. Cut off the top and tail of the okras and slice them.
  6. Heat 1 tsp. oil in a saucepan.  When the oil is hot, add the okra and cook on high heat, till the okra turns golden brown. 
  7. Reduce heat and cover and cook for 5 minutes so that the okra is cooked through.
  8. Add this to the kuzhambu. 
  9. Heat the rest of the oil and add the mustard seeds, red chilies, and hing.
  10. When the mustard seeds sputter, add the curry leaves.
  11. Turn off the heat and pour this over the kuzhmabu.

Serve hot with rice and paruppu usili or seppankizhangu curry


  1. Like those slices of ladies finger floating in it.
    Looks something like the "More curry" that we make in Kerala.

    1. Thanks Haddock! I will have to look up Mor Curry - sounds interesting.


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