Mor Kulambu or Kuzhambu is a Tamil style yogurt based stew. This is an everyday staple across many homes in Tamil Nadu. Neighboring states Karnataka and Kerala and Andhra regions have their own versions too. Known as Majjige Huli, Majjiga Pulusu or Mor Kootan in other regions, this mildly spiced gravy makes an excellent meal with rice and potato curry.
If you are new to South Indian cooking, then this recipe is for you. Being very beginner friendly, this Kuzhambu can be made with different veggies and flavors.
We can break down this recipe into three components. The first one is the spice paste. The next is the veggies. And the last one involves the yogurt.
For the spice paste-
A combination of Toor dal, chopped ginger, grated coconut, green chilis, cumin seeds and asafetida goes into the spice paste. This helps in thickening the Kuzhambu and also imparts a beautiful flavor.
For the Yogurt base-
You need sour yogurt for the best tasting Mor Kuzhambu. In our house, we use the yogurt that was set 2 to 3 days prior to making this. If your yogurt is not sour enough, you can add 1/2 cup tamarind water or 1 tbsp Tamarind paste. I learned this nifty hack from my husband’s grandma.
Generally, gourd varieties like winter melon, chayote squash or zucchini are added to this gravy. Other veggies that work well include spinach, drumstick, taro roots and okra.
As with any Indian recipe, this too can be made in so many different ways. Here is a list of variations that you can easily try.
- Replace the Toor dal with Chana dal in the spice paste. Or use a combination of Toor dal and Chana Dal.
- Use 5 dry red chilies and 3/4 tsp whole black peppercorns in the spice paste instead of green chilies. The pepper adds a delightful pungency and this version is great during winters too.
- While soaking the Toor dal, add 1 tsp coriander seeds too. Adding coriander seeds to the spice paste takes this Kuzhambu to a totally different level.
- To bring a fresh and zing factor, add 3/4 cup finely chopped cilantro leaves to the spice paste while grinding.
- After the Kuzhambu is done, add fried Vathal like Sundakai Vathal or Kothavarangai Vathal to this. The crunchy fried vathal is a welcome addition.
Shelf life, storage and make-ahead
Refrigerate leftovers in a clean air-tight container that is covered. This kuzhambu keeps well in the fridge for 3 days. You can also make this one day in advance if you are meal prepping for the week ahead.
I have never tried freezing Mor Kuzhambu. In case you have, please share how to go about it in the comments. I would love to learn.
This gravy should not be boiled on high heat. When you boil this on high heat or cook it for a longer time than mentioned here, the yogurt will curdle and the Kuzhambu will become watery.
To prevent this from happening, always simmer the gravy on low flame for just 3 to 4 minutes. When the mixture is just about to begin to boil, immediately remove from heat.
In case the yogurt curdles accidentally, you can adjust the consistency and texture by adding a rice flour slurry to the Kuzhambu. To do this, combine 2 tbsp rice flour and 3 tbsp water and mix into a smooth slurry. Add this to the kuzhambu, stir well and allow to simmer for 2 minutes on low heat.
Using sour yogurt is important to make the best mor kuzhambu
The tang from the yogurt is what makes this gravy unique and special. Please do not use freshly set yogurt for this recipe. If your yogurt is not tangy enough, add 1 tbsp tamarind paste or 1/2 cup tamarind extract while cooking the veggies.
Different ways to process different veggies
In this recipe, I have used fenugreek leaves aka Methi or Vendhaya Keerai. Since this is bitter in taste, I have first cooked it in tamarind extract and then proceeded with the recipe.
Vegetables used for Mor Kulambu
You can make this Kuzhambu using other veggies too. If you are using gourds like bottle gourd (sorakkai), chayote squash (Chow chow), zucchini, drumstick, cucumber or winter melon, boil them in water till they are tender. Then drain them in a colander.
If you are using taro root ( Arbi/ Seppankizhangu), then wash it thoroughly. Pressure cook for 3 to 4 whistles. Allow pressure to release naturally. When done, peel, slice and use in the Kuzhambu as directed below.
Heat a pan with coconut oil. Add mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds and curry leaves. Add the cooked veggies. Mix well. Add ground paste. Simmer for 2 minutes. Tip in the yogurt, add salt and ground turmeric and stir to combine. Simmer on low heat till the yogurt just heats up. When done, remove from heat immediately.
The only exception to this is Vendakkai Mor Kulambu.
How to make Vendakkai Mor Kulambu?
Since Vendakkai (Okra/ Lady’s finger) is slimy, the process is slightly different. Wash the okra in a colander thoroughly and let the water drain completely. Now pat dry each okra using a kitchen towel.
When done, slice them into 2 inch long pieces. Heat a pan with coconut. Heat a pan with coconut oil. Add mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds and curry leaves. Add okra pieces and fry them till they begin to turn golden around the edges. Do this on low flame.
When done, add the ground paste. Simmer for 2 minutes. Tip in the yogurt, add salt and ground turmeric and stir to combine. Simmer on low heat till the yogurt just heats up. When done, remove from heat immediately.
If you do not fry the okra properly, they will taste slimy when the Kuzhambu is done. So take care to fry them well.
This recipe is vegetarian friendly. It is also free from soy and nuts. You can make this vegan by using cashew yogurt or coconut yogurt in place of regular dairy yogurt. If you are using vegan yogurt, add 1 tbsp tamarind paste to the veggies while they cook.
Side Dish for Mor Kulambu
This is mildly spiced gravy. So, we usually serve this with a slightly spicy vegetable curry on the side. The best lunch combination is undoubtedly this kuzhambu, some hot rice and Paruppu Usili.
How to make Mor Kulambu?
Sort and pick the fenugreek leaves. Wash and chop them finely. Make buttermilk by add 1.5 cups water to 3 cups sour yogurt and whisking it till it is smooth. Set aside.
Steps 1 and 2
Wash the Toor dal well and soak it in 1/4 cup warm water for 20 to 30 minutes. When the Dal has soaked, drain it in a colander. To a blender, add the fresh grated coconut, cumin seeds, ginger, asafetida, green chilis, soaked Toor dal and 1/4 cup sour buttermilk.
Steps 3 and 4
Grind the ingredients in the blender to a smooth paste. Set aside.
Steps 5 and 6
Add chopped fenugreek leaves, 1 cup diluted tamarind extract along with salt. Allow this to cook till the leaves are soft.
Steps 7 and 8
When the fenugreek leaves are done cooking, add the ground paste to the pan. Stir to combine.
Steps 9 and 10
Add turmeric powder and simmer the mixture on low heat till it thickens. This will take roughly 4 to 6 minutes.
Steps 11 and 12
Reduce the flame to the lowest. Add the remaining sour buttermilk. Stir well.
Steps 13 and 14
Simmer the Kuzhambu on low heat until it is just about to begin to boil. This takes 3 to 4 mins. Remove the Kuzhambu from heat as soon as it is done.
When done, heat a small pan with coconut oil. Add 1 tsp mustard seeds and 1 tsp fenugreek seeds to the pan. Wait for them to splutter. When done, add a sprig of curry leaves. Immediately transfer this tempering to the Kuzhambu.
Our Kuzhambu is now ready to be served.
More Kuzhambu Recipes
Mor Kulambu or Mor Kuzhambu
- 1 Frying Pan
- 1 Blender
- 1 Bowl
- 1 Colander
- 1 ladle
- 1 set of measuring spoons and cups
For the buttermilk
- 3 cups sour yogurt
- 1.5 cups water
For the spice paste
- 1.5 tbsp Toor dal
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1/2 cup fresh grated coconut
- 5 green chilis
- 1 inch ginger root peeled and chopped
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1/8 tsp asafetida
For the Kuzhambu
- 250 grams fenugreek leaves washed and chopped
- 1 cup tamarind water
- 1 tsp Kosher salt or to taste
- 3/4 tsp Turmeric powder
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp mustard seeds Kadugu or rai
- 1 tsp fenugreek seeds Methi or Vendhayam
- 10 curry leaves
- Sort and pick the fenugreek leaves.
- Wash and chop them finely.
- Make buttermilk by add 1.5 cups water to 3 cups sour yogurt and whisking it till it is smooth.
- Set aside.
- Wash the Toor dal well and soak it in 1/4 cup warm water for 20 to 30 minutes.
- When the Dal has soaked, drain it in a colander.
- To a blender, add the fresh grated coconut, cumin seeds, ginger, asafetida, green chilis, soaked Toor dal and 1/4 cup sour buttermilk.
- Grind the ingredients in the blender to a smooth paste. Set aside.
- Add chopped fenugreek leaves, 1 cup diluted tamarind extract along with salt.
- Allow this to cook till the leaves are soft.
- When the fenugreek leaves are done cooking, add the ground paste to the pan. Stir to combine.
- Add turmeric powder and simmer the mixture on low heat till it thickens. This will take roughly 4 to 6 minutes.
- Reduce the flame to the lowest.
- Add the remaining sour buttermilk. Stir well.
- Simmer the Kuzhambu on low heat until it is just about to begin to boil. This takes 3 to 4 mins.
- Remove the Kuzhambu from heat as soon as it is done.
- When done, heat a small pan with coconut oil.
- Add 1 tsp mustard seeds and 1 tsp fenugreek seeds to the pan.
- Wait for them to splutter.
- When done, add a sprig of curry leaves.
- Immediately transfer this tempering to the Kuzhambu.
For Instant Pot & Air Fryer Recipes
Instant Pot timings may vary based on your geographic location. Air fryer settings and timings may vary based on the capacity and the model of the Air fryer.
Nutrition values are provided here as a courtesy and are only a rough guide. Please consult a health care provider if you have any concerns.
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