October 10, 2013

Vendakkai Puli Kuzhambu | How to make Puli Kuzhambu | South Indian Gravy

Vendakkai Puli Kuzhambu

Climate is starting to change and it rains now and then. It is that time of the year we have to take all our jackets out of the closets. This city is very cold than I expected so we need all the extra gears. We love to make our specialty South Indian tangy gravies for this kind of climate. Simple gravies with some spicy vegetable is a awesome combination. I made this for lunch only for us and enjoyed it so much. When I had it with dosa in the night, Shweets wanted to try it and surprisingly she loved it. Normally she does not show interest in these type of tangy gravies. It was finger licking good with rice and even Idly/Dosa.

Puli Kuzhambu is a tamarind based gravy. What is the difference between Kara Kuzhambu and Puli Kuzhambu? This is a common question from newbie's. In Kara Kuzhambu we add tomatoes and considerable amount of coconut. In Puli Kuzhambu both of these are generally avoided. I added little amount of coconut paste to bring down the tangy flavor in the gravy. Using pearl onions is the highlight of this gravy. You can always substitute pearl onions with normal onions but to me it is just comprising on the taste. Okra or Brinjal and best options for this gravy.Do try this authentic gravy and let me know how it turned out.

Preparation Time - 10 minutes

Cooking Time - 15 - 20 minutes

Serves : 4 people


Red Pearl Onions - 10 - 15 no
Garlic flakes - 6 - 8 no
Okra/Ladies Finger/Vendakkai - 6 - 8 no
Tamarind - Lemon size
Dry red Chilly - 1 - 2 no
Chilly Powder - 1 tsp
Coriander Powder - 1 1/2 tsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/4 tsp
Coconut Pieces - 1 medium size piece
Fenugreek - 1/4 tsp
Mustard - 1 tsp
Asafoetida/Hing - 1 pinch
Curry Leaves - 2 Sprigs
Sesame Oil - 2 tsp
Salt to taste

  • Peel and cut the onion and garlic into fine pieces.
  • Wash and pat dry the okra/vendakkai and cut into medium size pieces.
  • Soak the tamarind for 15 minutes or microwave for 1 min and extract thick tamarind juice.
  • Grind the coconut into a smooth paste.
  • Heat sesame oil in a kadai and add the mustard, fenugreek seeds and asafoetida.
  • Next add the chopped garlic, 1 sprig curry leaves, followed by the onions.
  • When the onion turns translucent add the dry red chilly and the okra/vendakkai.
  • Saute the okra/vendakkai until the oil is well coated onto the okra/vendakkai pieces.
  • Reduce the flame to low, add the chilly powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder and saute. Do not burn the powders.
  • Next add the tamarind juice, salt and mix everything well.
  • Close the kadai with a lid and cook in medium flame for about 10 minutes checking in between.
  • When the raw smell of the tamarind is gone add the coconut paste and mix well.
  • Reduce to the flame to low and cook for additional 5 minutes or so.
  • Once the oil separates, garnish with curry leaves and serve with hot rice.
  • If you do not have pearl onions you can replace it with 1 red onion but pearl onions gives the original taste.
  • Do not burn or allow the contents to be browned it spoils the taste of the gravy.
  • Adding coconut paste is a optional step if you wish you can omit it and gravy would be tangy.
  • You can also use brinjal for this gravy.



one of my favorite dishes, looks so delicious!

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