Jun 8, 2011

Vathakulambu(Spicy Tamarind Gravy)

This is my mums favorite dish.She loves this any time of the day,actually when  I make this dish,what she usually do is,she keep this in the fridge and have it for atleast a few days..As you can see the colour of the dish came from kashmiri dry red chillies which has less spice but more colour.Traditionally a ingredient called chundakkai is used...If you can’t find it you could simply leave it. This vegetable can be found fresh in certain super markets..When I made this dish I forgot to add pepper,so please don’t be like me...I served this with capsicum dal and steamed rice...I hope you all will give it a try and let me know what you think...

Onion-1 chopped
Garlic-10 cloves
Tamarind juice / Puli Karaisal-1 cup
Mustard seeds / Kaduku-1 tsp
Cumin Seeds / Jeera -1 tsp
Curry leaves-a handful
Oil- 4 tblspn
Chundakkai / Dried Turkey Berry-2 tblspn (optional)
Salt to taste

For Masala paste:

Coriander seeds / Malli-2 tblspn
Dry red chillies-10(I used kashmiri chilli)
Urad dal / Ulundam paruppu-1 tblspn
Channa dal / Kadalai Paruppu-1 tblspn
Rice-1 tblspn
Cumin / Jeerakam-2 tsp
Pepper / Nalla Milagu-1 tsp
Fenugreek seeds / Vendayam-1 tsp
Garlic-6 cloves


In a kadai add 1 tsp of oil and let it heat up.Then fry all the ingrediants given for masala paste till golden.Remove and set it aside to cool.Make a smooth paste out of it by adding some water.

Heat oil in a kadai,crackle some curry leaves and garlic in oil.Add in onions and fry for 1 min.

Add in the masala paste and cook for 3 min.

Pour in the tamarind juice and mix well.Pour some water and season with salt.

Let this come to a boil..Simmer for 10-15 min.

Make seasoning by crackling some cumin,mustard and chundaikai(if using) in hot oil.Pour this over the gravy and let it simmer for 10 min.

Serve hot with Steamed rice and papad.


Grab your ingrediants
These are the exotic spices you need for masala
Roast your spices

Put it in a blender

make into a fine paste

Saute garlic,curry leaves in oil

add in onions and cook till translucent

add the ground paste

Cook till oil separates

Add tamarind juice



Make seasonings

Pour it over the gravy




  1. OMG...mouth watering kuzhambu..very interesting kuzhambu recipe...bookmarked...you made me hungry now...drooling over here....

  2. u r tempting me really...i love the colour ...must be so tangy and looking so thick....love it

  3. Lip smacking and mouthwatering gravy. Excellent colour.

    Hamaree Rasoi

  4. i loveeee vathakulambhu, never made it....i'm drooling over here...ur curry looks very tempting..i would certainly not mind if u pass the bowl to me :)...Thank u so much for the recipe. going to do this for lunch tmrw...

  5. hey aarthi are u from nagercoil?

  6. Yummy n spicy gravy!!Thats lovely description of the gravy..I would like to have it with steamed rice..

  7. wow!!!
    its tangy mouth watery recipe...

    Happy Blogging!!!!
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  8. this sure looks a flavourful dish..spicy n tangy..

  9. Wow... the color is so inviting.. want some white rice now.. heavenly combo...

    Event: Healing Foods - Banana

  10. Omg, tonguetickling kuzhambu, seriously the click itself speaks a lot,marvellous!!

  11. This looks incredible, and thanks so much for visiting my blog.

  12. This looks amazing, I love the color. I can imagine how good it tastes.

  13. This looks really yummy! I can see why your mum loves it:)

  14. Delicious vathakozhambu. Should be great with rice and appalam :)

  15. This looks so good! Ohh I love that rich red color..awesome recipe!!!

  16. @chitra..yes i am from nagercoil..Where are you from??

  17. It looks HOt Hot Hot! Wonderfully cooked! Gorgeous color and nouth watering!

  18. My mouth is watering so much, my keyboard is in danger of getting drenched!! hehe....Wow! this vathakozhambu would be yummy with steaming hot rice, and we should follow this with thick curd on rice and pickle... YUMMMMM I love our cuisine!! Don't you? It's the best in the world!!

    Thanks for another fab recipe, Aarthi!

  19. Aarthi I just love the way you've presented the preparation and your dish looks amazing!!I wish I were able to find all the spices to make it!!!Have a great day!!

  20. yummy,tangy and colorfull gravy...

  21. thumbs up to the yummy delight !

  22. I love the flavor of tamarind! This looks delicious!

  23. OMg,no words to express.Utterly mouth watering,the dish will taste more as you have prepared in an earthware.

  24. What a flavorful gravy this is! I love its deep, rich color!

  25. this looks wonderful deliciously done

  26. i tried this gravy today it was so tasty..super duper hit!!!! thanks a lot for the recipe.... :)

  27. You got to be kidding' .....I am in love with the color and can't seem to get enough of it and the garlic and curry leaves...I wish I could have this with some steamed rice NOW...drools ....mmmm...mmmmm

  28. hi arthi

    your recipes are really nice.i tried this kulambu but a complete flop.the taste was ok but the kulambu itself while cooking it started to stick on the bottom of the vessel and also it was a bit sticky is it coz of methi seeds.can u help me coz i love this recipe.


  29. @Anonymous
    I don't think that it is because of the methi seeds..Vathakulambu needs to be simmered for a long time to get those flavours. So you should not use thin vessels like steel or something like that..I would advice you to keep the flame always on low and use the earthern ware pots or use a non stick post that will work fine.Hope you will try it again and tell me how it turned out.

  30. Looks yummy and mouthwatering. Will try it today. Your step by step pictorial approach for recipes are excellent and the effort must be appreciated.

  31. I had the same problem as vid - the mixture started to stick very quickly. I had to keep stirring and adding water all the time, so it wouldn't burn. I'll use a thick-bottomed pot next time.

    Other than that, it seems like a good gravy.

  32. Hii I loved this recipe. Can you suggest what I can substitute for sundakkai, cos they are not avlble here?

  33. @Shravanthi Just skip it, there is no substitute for that

  34. @Shravanthi Just skip it, there is no substitute for that

  35. Hi Arthi,
    I tried this recipe today and it came out really gud. Thanks for the recipe.☺

  36. Mind Blowing. Have never seen a clean description like this before for this curry. Keep up the good work. By the way, are you anywhere near to Chetti Theru in Nagercoil?

  37. @Evanceyes i am from chetty street..u live there.

  38. Bookmarked this yummy curry... ll prepare it tomorrow

  39. My mouth is watering just looking at the pictures :). Your recipes are just fabulous. Have tried quite a few of them which I wouldn't otherwise have attempted. Keep rocking Aarthi!

  40. Hi aarthi I'm Lavanya from US . This looks so yummy I follow lot of ur recepies . The only recepies I try after my moms ! Urs turns really well all the time . It's just been few months now I started cooking in life that's after I m married now . I make mistake in making Kara kozhambu coz I don't know how to use tamarind concentrate paste I use tamicon strong concentrate u can tell me how many spoons to dissolve in how much ml of water for this recepie. As I'm craving to have this after seeing your pics. And tell me if I wanna add brinjal n mochai in this which stage I must add ? And that too dried mochai . Pls guide me ? And my poori doesn't comes well my mom says I shouldn't cook it in gingelly oil.

  41. @Anonymousthat tamarind depends on your taste..Start using 1 tsp and u can add it directly to curries too..Tatse it if u need more you can add.

    And brinjal add it along with onion and garlic. Mochai, cook it first and then add it.

    Nothing should be fried in gingelly oil..Use vegetable oil or any other refined oil

  42. @AarthiAarthi thanks for ur reply I cooked it today . It turned well but wasn't ur color as I added normal red chillies .

  43. @Anonymoussince i used kashmiri chillies it gave red colour

  44. Fiery red perhaps due to Kashmiri chillies!! and hot yet outrageously yum and tempting. Bookmarked recipe

    How is the heat level of this gravy perhaps addition of a pinch of jaggery will balnce the heat

  45. aARTI


  46. @Anu Reddyno need to wash, just add it in, reduce salt in this cury

  47. As per ingredient 4 tsp of oil is used, but oil floating over the dish is more than 4 tsp. Added oil at the end?

  48. Hi arthi ur recipes are too good I'll start cooking oly after a look at ur page m a great fan of ur recipes and baby food too most of t food variety for my kid I copy follow urs oly .. This one f recipes which I longed too cook I love t color where will I get kashmiri chillies arthi and tamarind paste how much tamarind should I take one gooseberry r ?? Since m a begineer plz guide me


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