Moor Kozhambu (Palghat style) is excellent tangy yoghurt based gravy made with sour curd spiced with chilies, dry red chillies, sweetened with coconut and flavoured with curry leaves, hing, jeera. This dish has a combination of sour, spicy, tangy and sweet flavours and taste extremely great with steamed rice.
Moor Kozhambu is a popular south Indian dish made with yoghurt cooked with one or more variety of vegetables like white pumpkin, mango, cucumber, lady’s finger or okra, chow chow or chayote or drumstick. White pumpkin is popularly added in this dish. It is cooked with fresh herbs and aromatic Indian spices which imparts great flavours into the dish.
Moor literally means buttermilk in Tamil and kozhambu means curry, hence named moor kozhambu seasoned with cumin seeds, coriander seeds, turmeric powder, mustard seeds, curry leaves and dry red chilies. In India, this dish is known by various names as per the regional language such as Mor kulambu or Moor kozhambu in Tamil or Kachiya moru in Malayalam or Majjiga charu or pulusu in Telugu or Majjige huli or saaru in Kannada.
This dish is slightly similar to the kadhi (prepared in north India) but cooked with a little variation. Moor Kozhambu in Palakkad or Palghat lingua means Kootan which is gravy based dish and can be mixed with rice. Other common dishes are molagootal, sambar, rasam, thovaiyal etc. This Moor Kozhambu is also known as Mangai Kootan in Palakkad region which lies in the border between Tamil Nadu and Kerala States.
Mangai Kootan is everyone’s favourite especially prepared during the summer season when raw green mangoes are actually available. Moor Kootan or Pulliseri can be mixed with rice and eaten along with some vegetable curry. It also acts as a great side dish for sevai. The sour curd along with the freshness of sweet coconut and other spices enhances the taste of this dish.
This dish is especially made during the summer days to beat the scorching heat as it’s cooling, refreshing and cooked with subtle and delicate flavours. Moor Kozhambu prepared in Palghat or Palakkad style is a blend of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. Coconut is used liberally in most of the dishes as it is available in abundance in Kerala. Coconut is a vital ingredient in the Keralite cuisine.
Palghat or Palakkad is a home to many thriving Tamilian community and have evolved a distinct cultural tradition of their own which represents a mixture of the best Tamil and Keralite traditions. Palakkad Tamils have also evolved their own style of cookery. Palakkad cuisine is a very local tradition, and most of the home recipes remain secluded within the family and are passed on from generation to generation.
Their staple food is rice. Rasam, Sambhar, Koottucurry, Injippuli, and varieties of pickles and “vatthals” are popular here. Madhura dosa, Ada, Vatthal Kozhambu, Kozhukkatta, Sukhiyan etc form the special delicacies of this place. Other special recipes served on special occasions such as religious functions or weddings are Olan, Kalan, Erisseri, Palada pradhaman and Molaguvellam which is nothing but mulligatawny.
Traditionally the food cooked in Palakkad and other communities like Palakkad chettiars are influenced by the traditional Tamilian way of cooking. There are a variety of kozhambus that is commonly prepared in this cuisine which includes Pavakkai kozhambu (bittergourd curry), vendakai okra kozhambu (okra curry), moor kali, vatha kulambu, white pumpkin mor kulambu etc.
For preparing this simple and easy yet delicious recipe, firstly cut the vegetables into cubes. If you are using mango or cucumber peel the skin. Take a big vessel, add the vegetables, add turmeric, salt and pour some water and bring it to boil. Cook the vegetables until they become soft. Blend coconut, jeera, green chilies and rice to make smooth paste.
Once the vegetables are cooked, add the blended paste to it and allow it to cook in low flame. Remove it from flame after 8-10 mins. Leave it to cool. Meantime churn the sour curd and keep it aside. Once it is cooled add the curd to the kozhambu and again allow it to boil in low flame for just 2-3 mins. Remove from flame. Heat a pan, pour little oil, add mustard, red chilies(dry), curry leaves, urad dhal, asafotedia and fry it.
Do not burn them; just fry them until golden brown. Add it to the moor kozhambu and serve hot. Serve Moor Kozhambu with steamed rice and paruppu usli as it gives an amazing combo of flavors that gives a katta meetha taste because of mango. This dish also tastes good with Dhal Beans / Cabbage Curry. It is also refreshing and a coolant which is best for the hot summer afternoon lunches.
Tips: If the mangoes are not sour, then make sure that the yogurt is sour. Do not boil, after adding the whisked curds else, the curds will split. (You can turn off the heat and add it too). If you want to reduce the quantity of coconut, add a tsp of raw rice while grinding the paste. Moor Kozhambu is extremely a luscious dish to taste, healthy, nutritious and refreshing. Do try this recipe and enjoy its taste.
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