Soul Comforting Food – Kombu Curry

No, this is not healthy, comfort food, but food that reminds you of childhood, of all the good memories associated with it, food that you make when it is a rainy day or when you are sick. And sometimes you stumble upon it by mistake and has a name that is unique to you and people in your circle and ends up being your favorite and signature dish 🙂  Yup, my soul food is கொம்பு கறி!

When i had mentioned about this dish, on my post about my athai and posted pics on FB, I got comments asking if it is ஆட்டு  கொம்பு (Goat’s horn) or மாட்டு கொம்பு (cow’s horn).   Curry is a dry sauté  of veggies and literally translated, Kombu-கொம்பு means Horn and it also means stick but will you believe me if i said that it is a simple potato curry, yup good old Tam-Brahm உருளைகிழங்கு கறி aka potato curry 🙂

As it happens, my அத்தை (athai=aunt) asked me to cut potatoes into small cubes and sauteed and cooked in oil and spices. Since yours truly was truly lazzzzzzzzzy :p I skipped a coupla steps and just cut it in the form of small, thin strips (kinda like french fries) and named them கொம்பு(kombu) as they looked like small sticks to me (Yeah, yeah, i hear ya, kombu is big, these are more like fries but I was around 11 so go figure).

Here is the recipe :

Serves 3-4, ready in 20 mins or so


  • 4-5 medium potatoes
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • Pinch of Hing/asafoetida (I usually take a bigger pinch as I think it ups the taste)
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp urad dal
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped curry leaves for garnish
  • 2-3 tbsp of curry powder (or chilli powder), depending on spice levels. I prefer curry powder and when I run out of curry powder, I use Sambhar powder.

Note: To make Curry Powder at home, just dry roast red chillies (1/2 cup), coriander seeds (3-4 tbsp), channa dal (i add some urad dal as well) – 2 tbsp each and grind it coarsely. I use this mix for potatoes, plantain, okra and any other vegetable that requires dry sautéing/stir-frying or is prepared like a roast.


Note: I usually don’t peel potatoes but in this case I did cos they were really muddy and dry

  1. Cut potatoes into small strips.

    Potatoes cut in the form of sticks
    Potatoes cut in the form of sticks
  2. Heat 1.5 tbsp oil in a wok/kadai.
  3. Add mustard seeds, urad dal and asafoetida. Once the seeds splutter, add the curry leaves.
  4. Throw in the potato strips, add turmeric powder and salt.
  5. Cook the potatoes on a low flame w/o adding any water. This maintains the crunchiness while ensuring the potatoes are cooked through (usually 7-10 minutes).
  6. Once the potatoes are cooked (A nice smell wafts thro’ your kitchen).
  7. Add curry powder and 1.5 tbsp oil and cook them on high flame for 2 minutes until all the potatoes get coated with spices and then on low flame for another 6-8 minutes, turning occasionally.
  8. Delicious கொம்பு கறி (Kombu curry) is ready.
  9. Tastes amazing with tomato thokku (தக்காளி தொக்கு).
The infamous Kombu-Curry - கொம்பு கறி
The infamous Kombu-Curry – கொம்பு கறி

Bon Appetit!

“Food is not about impressing people. It’s about making them feel comfortable.” ~ Ina Garten, ‘The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook’



  1. Hey I remember my comfort food was Chumka hua bhaath…meaning tempered rice. During grahanam days or days when Dad was out of station we would have this . just onions,crushed garlic,green chillies,salt and red chilli powder sauteed in a tbsp of oil. mix this with used rice and mix well till rice is heated through…extremely delicious and goes well with potato chips.great for wintry evenings and nights ….

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