Vathal Kuzhambu

This tangy gravy is made with onion, garlic, tamarind and vathal is served with rice.

Vathal Kuzhambu

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Recipe by S Kamala Course: KuzhambuCuisine: Indian, TamilDifficulty: Easy


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This tangy gravy is made with onion, garlic, tamarind and vathal is served with rice.


  • Tamarind – lemon size

  • Vathal (Manathakkali Vathal or Sundaikai vathal) – 1 tablespoon

  • Sambar onion (shallot) – 10 to 15 Nos

  • Garlic flakes – 10 – 15 Nos

  • Tomato – 1 No

  • Sambar powder – 1 tablespoon (heaped)

  • Turmeric powder – ¼ teaspoon

  • Salt – 1 teaspoon or as per taste

  • Gingelly oil – 4 to 5 tablespoons

  • Mustard – ½ teaspoon

  • Fenugreek seeds – ½ teaspoon

  • Asafoetida Powder- 1/4 teaspoon

  • Red Chilli – 1

  • Curry leaves – few

  • Jaggery – a small piece (optional)


  • Soak tamarind in water and squeeze out the juice completely by adding water little by little. The tamarind juice should be at least 2 cups.
  • Cut the tomato into medium size pieces and grind it to a puree.
  • In a kadai add two tablespoons oil and when it is hot add mustard.
  • When it pops up add fenugreek and asafoetida. Keep the flame to very low. (Otherwise fenugreek will become black and taste very bitter). Fry the fenugreek till it become light golden brown.
  • Add garlic flakes and vathal. Fry for a while.
  • Add curry leaves and fry.
  • Now add tamarind juice along with turmeric and sambar powder. Stir well. Close with lid and allow to boil on medium flame until the oil floats on top and the kuzhambu become thick.
  • Tips:
  • If you want darker kuzhambu, before adding tamarind juice, add sambar powder to the hot seasoning and fry little and then add tamarind juice.
  • You can also add little Karuvadam (Karuvadam Urundai which is mixture of mustard, fenugreek, garlic and oil and you will get it in stores also).


  1. How the gravy will be thick without adding tomatoes or coconut? I made your milagu kuzhambu recipe and it turned out to be very watery. Give some tips to make it thick.

    • Hi Priscilla,

      For Milagu Kuzhambu or vathal kuzhambu, you have to make thick tamarind juice. When you add seasoning and other ingredients and allow to boil the tamarind water, it will automatically become thick. Still if you feel the kuzhambu is watery, just mix a teaspoon of rice flour with little water and add it to the kuzhambu. Then the kuzhambu become thick.

    • maya Iyer

      this is a watery dish. if you want to make it strong, you may cook udad dal and add.

  2. How to prepare sambar powder

  3. finaly u will add 1/2 teaspoon of black sesame powder (Karuppu Yallu) the taste will come more

  4. Hello Kamala, Awesome recipes as always. I am a regular visitor to ur website. With this recipe here when do we add the vatha kuzhambu powder? Tx and please do add more gravies and south Indian style biriyani

  5. Sambar powder is added to this kuzhambu. No vatha kuzhambu powder.

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