Thalagam Kuzhambu, Mixed Veg in Sesame Gravy, Festival Recipe from Tirunelveli (Tamilnadu)
Food is an integral part of Indian festivals. Here is a festival recipe from Tirunelveli District in the state of Tamilnadu. Thalagam Kuzhambu is a Naivedyam or offering to God in Tirunelveli District on the festival of Thiruvathira. Thalagam Kuzhambu is a medley of different varieties of Root Vegetables, Gourds, and some green vegetables in a spicy coconut and sesame gravy. This spicy curry is an accompaniment to “Kali” which is a sweet porridge.
Thiruvathira or Thiruvathirai or Arudhra Darisanam is a Hindu festival celebrated in the Indian states of Tamilnadu and Kerala. This festival takes place on the full moon night in the month of Margashirsha (December-January) and this is also the longest night in a year. Thiruvathira is the nakshatra or “star” of Lord Shiva as per the Malayalam calendar. The belief is that on this day, the Goddess Parvathi finally met Lord Shiva after her long penance.
Comparison between Thalagam and Curries prepared in other Regions
Even though the recipe for Kali or sweet Rice porridge is more or less the same in every region yet the accompanying curry varies from region to region.
In Tanjore District of Tamilnadu, the accompanying curry with Kali is Ezhu Thaan Curry (ezhu meaning seven in Tamil). This curry uses seven types of root and gourd vegetables.
In Kerala, the curry uses Kavathu (a root vegetable) as the key ingredient. It has very mild spices and does not use tamarind.
I have presented the Thalagam Kuzhambu recipe which is unique to the Tirunelveli district of Tamilnadu. But the main difference between Ezhu Thaan curry and Thalagam is that Ezhu Thaan curry uses Tur Dal whereas Thalagam does not. There is also a difference in the number of vegetables. Whereas for Thalakam, there is no end to the number of vegetables that you can use. But Ezhu Thaan uses only seven vegetables.
The recipe credit for this recipe goes to Late Smt. Jayalakshmi, my MIL who hailed from Tirunelveli.
Festivals when Thalagam Kuzhambu is offered
In Tirunelveli district, Thalagam Kuzhambu is the naivedyam with Manjal Pongal during Aadi Chevvai (Tuesdays during Tamil Month Aadi) as well. And sometimes people also have this Thalagam with kalanda sadam during 18th Perukku or the next day after Pongal (Kanu).
India is a land of festivals and there is a festival to celebrate every day in one or the other region. You may please check some more festival recipes of mine.
Thalagam Kuzhambu, Mixed veg in Spicy Gravy, Festival Recipe from Tirunelveli (Tamilnadu)
Ingredients for the paste
- 2 tbsp Sesame Seeds
- 1 tsp Coconut Oil
- 1 tbsp Urad
- 1 tbsp Chana Dal
- 1 tsp Fenugreek Seeds
- 5 Nos Kashmiri Chilli
- 2 Nos Dry Red Chilli
- 1 cup Grated Coconut
- 1 Sprig Curry Leaves
Vegetables for Curry (you can use any combination of Root vegetables, gourd vegetables and green vegetables). Use a total of 1 kg of mixed vegetables.
- 100 gms Sweet Potato cut into big dices or long slices (Approx one cup)
- 100 gms Yucca or Yam or Taro or any similar root vegetable. cut into big dices or long slices (Approx one cup)
- 100 gms Plantain cut into big dices or long slices (Approx one cup)
- 100 gms Carrot cut into big dices or long slices (Approx one cup)
- 100 gms Chawli/Barbatti or French Beans Cut into an inch piece. (Approx one cup)
- 100 gms Flat Green Beans Cut into an inch piece. (Approx one cup)
- 150 gms Ash Gourd cut into big dices or long slices (Approx one cup)
- 200 gms Pumpkin cut into big dices or long slices (Approx one cup)
- 100 gms Snake Gourd or any other green vegetable of choice like Eggplant, Ridge Gourd. cut into big dices or long slices (Approx one cup)
- 50 gms Fresh Green Peas
- 2 cups Water
- 1 tsp Turmeric powder
- 3 tsp Salt
- 3 tbsp Thick Tamarind Pulp. Take 20 gms Tamarind or one Lime size ball of tamarind. Soak it in water for sometime and extract pulp.
- 1 tbsp Jaggery
Ingredients for Tempering
- 1 tbsp Coconut Oil
- ¼ tsp Asafoetida
- 1 tsp Black mustard Seeds
- ¼ cup Grated fresh coconut
- 1 sprig Curry Leaves
- Heat a Pan. Dry roast Sesame seeds till they turn light brown and start to crackle.
- Take it out in a bowl.
- Add a tsp of coconut oil to the same pan.
- Add Urad Dal.
- Add Chana Dal.
- Add Fenugreek Seeds.
- Add Kashmiri Chillies
- Add normal Chillies.
- Roast everything together till Dal turns pink.
- Take out and add this to the same bowl with Sesame Seeds.
- In the remaining oil, add freshly grated coconut.
- Add a few curry leaves.
- Roast till coconut turns brown.
- Add roasted coconut also along with Sesame and roasted dals.
- Add some water and grind everything to a coarse paste.
- Take a large Pan. Add sweet potatoes to it.
- Add Yuca, Yam , Taro or any similar root vegetable.
- Add Plantain.
- Add Carrots.
- Add 2 cups of Water.
- Add turmeric powder.
- Stir everything. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
- After 5 minutes, add Cowpea Beans or French Beans.
- Add Snake Gourd or any other gourd.
- Add Flat Beans or Lima Beans.
- Add Ash Gourd.
- Add Pumpkin.
- Add fresh green peas.
- Add Salt.
- Mix and cook all vegetables again for 10 minutes.
- Cook till the vegetables become fork tender.
- Add tamarind pulp to the cooked vegetables.
- Add about 1/4 cup water (washed off water of tamarind).
- Cook for 2 minutes till the raw smell of tamarind goes off.
- Add prepared Paste.
- Add a cup of water. You can use washed off water from the blender.
- Add 1 tsp of Salt.
- Add Jaggery.
- Stir everything together and bring gravy to a boil.
- Turn off flame once boil comes in the gravy.
- Heat coconut oil for tempering.
- Add asafoetida.
- Add mustard seeds.
- Add a sprig of curry leaves.
- Add grated coconut once mustard starts to crackle.
- Roast till coconut turns brown.
- Turn off flame and add tempering to prepared curry.
- This curry is served with sweet Kali during the Thiruvathira festival.
- But you can have this curry with steamed rice and ghee on a regular day as well.
8 servings per container
- Amount Per ServingCalories376
- % Daily Value *
- Total Fat
- Saturated Fat 13.7g 69%
- Cholesterol 5.32mg 2%
- Sodium 1531.22mg 64%
- Potassium 436.69mg 13%
- Total Carbohydrate
- Dietary Fiber 10.27g 42%
- Sugars 5.2g
- Protein 15.94g 32%
* The % Daily Value tells you how much a nutrient in a serving of food contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.