South Indian cuisine is a diverse cuisine spanning many states in southern India. Southern Indian cuisine is influenced by the region, (coastal, inland), states, local produce and spices. Depending on the region it can be heavily vegetable focused with varieties of local vegetables not easily available elsewhere. Most of the South Indian dishes are quite different from the the usual Northern Indian cream based or meaty offerings which are usually favored in Indian restaurants (outside India). This kara kuzambu is also one of the elusive dishes that you may not find in a restaurant.
Some of the specific ingredients in Southern Indian dishes can only be found in Indian stores or online. But the trip to the store is worth the result. I make this kara kuzhambu curry with any beans to serve up with Dosas and chutneys. This flavorful curry is sour, well spiced and great introduction to Southern Indian flavor profiles.
Kara kuzambu is usually made with beans that are locally available in India. Fresh beans work best, but cooked beans or chickpeas work great as well. The cooking time in the last step might change depending on the beans used. Cook till the beans are tender to preference and have picked up the flavors from the curry. This dish tastes better the next day. Serve with rice, idli cakes or dosa crepes, with a side of coconut-based chutney.
More South Indian fare from the blog
- Green Bean, Carrot Poriyal – Green beans coconut carrot stir fry.
- Easy Instant Dosa Crepes with Coconut chutney and Masala potatoes. GF option
- The traditional 2 day Dosa crepes. Gluten-free
- Chickpeas in peppery curry leaf coconut sauce.
- Bisi Bele Bath Pressure Cooker Split Pea Brown Rice Soup
- Okra Kuzambu – Okra in tamarind coconut sauce.
- 2 teaspoons safflower or any neutral oil
- 1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
- 1 teaspoon urad dal split black gram, or use petite yellow lentils
- 10 curry leaves coarsely chopped
- Pinch asafetida omit to make gluten-free
- 1/2 cup chopped red onion or pearl onions
- 4 cloves garlic chopped
- 2 medium tomatoes chopped (1 1/2 cups)
- 1 teaspoon sambhar powder or use 2 teaspoons ground coriander *
- 1 teaspoon tamarind paste concentrate
- 3/4 teaspoon cayenne or to taste
- 1 1/2 cups edamame fresh or thawed if frozen, or other fresh or cooked beans like fava beans, butter beans, or lima beans
- 3/4 cup coconut milk canned or culinary
- 1 cup or more water
- 3/4 teaspoon salt or to taste
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the mustard, fennel, and fenugreek seeds, and the urad dal. Cook until the seeds start to sizzle and the urad dal changes color, about 30 seconds. Stir in the curry leaves and asafetida. Add the onion and garlic and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes.
Add the tomato, sambhar powder, tamarind, and cayenne, and mix well. Cook until the tomatoes are saucy, 6 to 7 minutes.
Add the edamame, coconut milk, water, and salt. Cover and cook until the edamame are tender, about 25 minutes. Taster and adjust salt, heat (cayenne), tang (add lemon juice if needed). For thinner curry, add more water and bring to a boil. Serve hot with Dosa crepes, idli rice cakes or over rice.
Pressure Cooker/ Instant Pot: Follow steps 1 to 3 on saute mode. Add the edamame, coconut milk, water, and salt and cook for 6 to 8 minutes at high pressure. Natural release. Taste and adjust salt, tang and heat.
* Sambhar powder is a South Indian spice blend of coriander seeds, mustard seeds, fenugreek, red chilies, urad dal and toor dal. It is easily available in Indian stores or online. Or find the recipe in my cookbook.