Sodhi kuzhambu, aka Mappillai Sodhi kuzhambu, is one of Tirunelveli's best speciality dishes. Sodhi kuzhambu is a vegetable stew made with creamy coconut milk and a variety of vegetables. The gravy is best paired with hot rice, idiyappam or string hoppers, and appam. This mildly flavoured, aromatic vegetable stew tops the Friday lunch menu in every vegetarian restaurant in Tirunelveli.
Interestingly, the gravy is also called Mappillai Sodhi for a reason. Mappillai means bridegroom. The bride's family prepares Sodhi to treat their son-in-law on his first visit to the bride's place after the wedding. The gravy also enjoys a coveted spot in many wedding and festival menus, especially in Tirunelveli's Saiva Pillaimar community. Even die-hard non-vegetarians love Sodhi for its delectable taste and flavour.
You will need the following ingredients to make Sodhi Kuzhambu:
Grind the grated coconut in a mixie and extract the thick milk without adding water. After that, grind the coconut residue with water and extract the residual milk. Then add water for the third time to the coconut residue and repeat the procedure to extract the remaining milk. Keep all three glasses of milk separately.
Now, roast the split mung bean lentils until lightly browned, powder it in a mixie and keep it aside.
Wash and chop the vegetables mentioned above lengthwise and add them to the In third coconut milk (coconut milk obtained by grinding the coconut residue with the water a third time). Add the lightly fried shallots and garlic cloves and bring the coconut milk broth to a boil.
When the vegetables are half-cooked, add the second milk. Now grind the chilly and cumin and add to the coconut broth. Add the required amount of salt and again bring to a boil.
Then add cooked and mashed split mung bean lentils to the Kulambu. Dissolve the chickpea flour in water without lumps and add it to the stew and bring to boil. Temper the mustard seeds, lentils, curry leaves, and pour them into the stew and allow it to cook for a few minutes before turning off the heat. Your Sodhi kuzhambu is almost ready.
Finally, add the first glass of coconut milk, pour the juice of half a lemon and cover the stew for five minutes. Serve it with hot rice for lunch or idiyappam for dinner.