Vathal Kuzhambu/Puli Kuzhambu

Vathal Kuzhambu is one of my most favorite dishes of all time. I would say that it’s the first recipe I have mastered. I got this recipe from my friend whose mom is an expert in making Vathal Kuzhambu. Over the years, I have made a few changes to the original recipe. This recipe is quite close to my heart as it had brought many appreciations for me and never failed to impress a guest. If I had to make vegetarian food for a guest, this item would inevitably be on the list!

Moving on to the recipe.. tamarind, small onions and garlic are the key ingredients. Though big onions work, small onions bring in great flavor and taste to the dish. Sesame/Gingely oil is a must for this recipe. Overall, a very easy delicacy with minimal ingredients that leaves your taste buds dancing for a while and fills the whole house with an aroma that your nostrils cannot ignore!


Servings : 4Prep time : 40 mins
Sesame oil/Nallennai2 tbsp
Mustard/Kadugu1 tsp
Red Chilli/Kaindha milagai1
Asofetida/Perungayam1 tsp
Split Urad dal/Ulutham paruppu1 tsp
Fenugreek seeds/Vendhayam1 tsp
Small/Pearl Onions/Chinna Vengayam10
Manathakkali/Sundakkai vathal10-15 nos
Garlic/Poondu10 cloves
Tamarind/Puli1 lemon size
Sambar powder1.5 tbsp
Kosher/Sea salt/Kal Uppu1 tsp
Jaggery/Vellam1/2 tsp
Water3 cups


  • Start by peeling the small onions and garlic cloves. Soak the tamarind in 1 cup of warm water to extract the juice.
  • Half the shallots and crush the garlic in a mortar and pestle.
  • Heat a heavy bottomed pan, preferably a iron/cast-iron kadai, and add Sesame oil followed by mustard, split urad dal, red chilli, fenugreek seeds, asofetida and manathakkali/sundakkai vathals.
  • Now add the shallots and crushed garlic and fry until they turn slighly brown.
  • Bring the flame to medium flame and add sambar powder. Fry it for a minute or two until the raw smell disappears.
  • Add the extracted tamarind juice from the pulp along with the salt and remaining water.
  • Boil it for 5 mins and let it simmer in medium flame for about 15-20 minutes.
  • The mixture will thicken and you can see the oil separating on top. Now add the jaggery and switch it off.

Serve hot with rice and appalam!!

Notes :
-The kuzhambu/gravy will thicken further when it cools down. So make sure you switch it off at the right consistency.
-Simmering the gravy in low flame for a longer time, enhances its flavor and taste.

-It can kept refrigerated for up to a week

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *