Shanti’s Vatha Kuzhambu

Vatha Kuzhambu might be one of my favorite South Indian dishes of all. This spicy tangy curry is made with a tamarind base and is tempered with spices.



Shanti’s Vatha Kuzhambu

Serves 8Print This Recipe



1 tbp. oil ( gingely oil or til preferable)

1 tsp. hing (asafetida)

1 tsp rai ( black mustard seeds)

2 sprigs curry leaves

2 cups of whole sambar onions (small shallots) – or pearl onions.

5 cups of tamarind water ( recipe given below)

1 tsp. haldi ( turmeric powder)

½ cup sambar powder ( or homemade sambar podi)


Tamarind Water:

5 cups of water

2” piece of tamarind (you can buy this in whole blocks)


• Using your hands, squeeze the tamarind and mix all the pulp with the water.

• Strain out the liquid and set aside.





• Heat oil.

• Add 1 tsp. rai.

• Add a few whole red chilies to taste.

• Add 1 tsp. hing.

• Add curry leaves and 2 cups of whole sambar onions ( small shallots) – or pearl onions.

• Add 5 cups of tamarind water.

• Add 1 tsp. haldi.

• Add ½ cup of sambar powder.

• Add a little water, chili powder to taste and simmer for ½ hour.

• Add 2 tbsp. jaggery and mix well.

• Let the mixture come to one or two boils.

• Adjust seasonings and serve hot with white rice.


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