Vatha Kuzhambu | Easy Vathal Kuzhambu


Vatha Kuzhambu is an authentic tamarind based kuzhambu/ gravy of South Indian cuisine served with rice. It is made in all South Indian homes and Indian restaurants. There are many variations in vatha kuzhambu: sundakkai, manathakali, with or without onion, garlic etc. This version is a simple combination of all the above along with flavorful seasoning and can be made in 20 minutes. Come, let’s see how to make this perfect recipe at home with easy method and step by step pictures.


Category: Vegan

Cuisine: South Indian

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 15 minutes

Serves: 4


  1. Sundakkai vathal/ Dried bitterberry- 2 tbsp
  2. Manathakali vathal/ Dried sun berry- 1 tbsp
  3. Red chilli- 3
  4. Onion- 1
  5. Garlic- 8 pods
  6. Salt- as required
  7. Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
  8. Vatha Kuzhambu powder (or) Sambhar powder- 1.5 tbsp
  9. Water- 1/2 cup
  10. Jaggery- 1 tsp

For Extracting Tamarind juice

  1. Tamarind- 1 gooseberry sized ball (or) Tamarind paste- 1.5 tbsp
  2. Water- 1 cup

To temper:

  1. Sesame oil- 2 tbsp
  2. Mustard seeds- 1 tsp
  3. Urad dal- 1 tsp
  4. Chana dal- 1 tsp
  5. Fenugreek seeds- 1/4 tsp
  6. Cumin seeds- 1/2 tsp
  7. Curry leaves- 1 sprig
  8. Asafoetida- 1/4 tsp


1. Preparation: chop onion and garlic finely and set aside.

You can find dried sundakkai vathal, manathakkali vathal and vatha kuzhambu powder in any Indian grocery store.


2. To extract tamarind : Soak tamarind in hot water for 20 minutes and squeeze using your hands and extract the juice. Filter and set aside. Alternatively, you can add tamarind and water to a bowl and microwave for 30 seconds and extract the juice.

3. Heat sesame oil in a pan and add mustard seeds and allow to crackle. Then add the other items under to temper and saute till the dal turns golden.

3. Add the sundakkai vathal, manathakkali vathal and red chillies and fry in medium flame until aromatic.

4.  Add garlic and saute for a minute. Add onion and saute till golden.

6. Add salt, turmeric powder and vatha kuzhambu powder and mix well.

7. Add tamarind juice and 1/2 cup water and bring to a boil.

8. Allow to cook in medium flame until it thickens. (Tip: If it takes a long time to thicken, mix 1 tsp rice flour/ corn flour 1 tsp water and add to the boiling kuzhambu and stir well to thicken immediately)

9. Add jaggery and switch off. Serve hot with rice topped with a tsp of sesame oil/ ghee and any curry/ poriyal or papad of your choice. Delicious and easy vatha kuzhambu is ready to eat.


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