No Need of Onions!!! · Sambar / Rasam / Kuzhambu Varieties.

Vathal Kuzhambu…

Spicy yummy Vathal Kuzhambu
Spicy yummy Vathal Kuzhambu

What can I say about the Vathal Kuzhambu? Simply put its everybody`s favorite…I can`t even trace back the times when I  fell hook line and sinker for this amazingly delicious simple dish.  Every home has its own way of doing it and its definitely comfort food for them. Vathal Kuzhambu simply put is the delicious gravy got by simmering “Vathals” in tamarind water which is spiced with other ingredients like sambar powder, turmeric, hing etc. It`s also a very resourceful preparation as it derives it tastes from the  vegetable/vathal which its cooked in. There are a gazillion varieties of vathals but the ones that are most commonly used are “Sundakkai”, ” Manathangalikkai”, “thamara kazhangu”, arisi koozhu vathal” and some times even “thayir molagai”.

I remember going to my favorite Annalakshmi restaurant in Chennai on mount road for their “Preethi Bhojan”. I am told that the people who cook the various dishes in Annalakshmi are people who are from normal walks of life, like professionals, doctors, teachers etc, who willingly offer their services to the Ashram. At one occasion, where I had been to Annalakshmi for lunch, the day`s specialty was “Arisi Appalam Vathal Kuzhambu”. It was so delicious, as the kuzhambu had derived its taste from the fried appalam. Many people also prepare it with vegetables like Brinjal, Onions, Ladies finger and even drumsticks.

The Grand Sweets and Snacks has this amazing “Vathakozhambu Thokku” which is a boon to people who are hard pressed for time. All one needs to do is, scoop a spoonful, add some water, heat for a couple minutes on the microwave, and there you have steaming hot “Vatha Kuzhambu” for two!!!


Tamarind             – Lemon sized to extract 1 1/2 cups of juice.

Vathal                   – Any variety a small handful.

Turmeric              – A pinch.

Coconut Milk      – 2 spoons (Optional)

Sambar Powder-  1 spoon heaped.

Salt                           – 3/4 spoon


Curry Leaves.


Mustard, Bengal Gram,Raw Peanuts, Curry Leaves, gingely oil.


  • Keep the vathals,tamarind water  and the seasoning ingredients ready.
  • Use a heavy bottomed vessel and pour in it 4 spoons of gingely oil.
  • When hot, add 2 spoons of bengal gram, and raw peanuts and saute it for 3-4 seconds.
  • Add the vathal and allow to slowly roast in the oil.  Immediately add the mustard, curry leaves and hing in split seconds.
  • Care should be taken so the mustard or any of the seasoning ingredients dont brown in the oil as this may alter the taste.
  • Pour in the tamarind water on to the vessel.
  • Add more torn curry leaves, sambar powder, turmeric, salt and give it a good stir.
  • Allow the gravy to simmer and reduce till it becomes a little thicker on medium flame.
  • If you have guests visiting, you could add 2 spoons of coconut milk at this point for a richer taste . This is purely optional.
  • If you want it to thicken a little more add 4 spoons of water to one spoon of rice flour and briskly mix it to dissolve any clumps.
  • Add this rice flour mix to the vatha kuzhambu and stir in to see instant thickening of the gravy.
  • Serve Hot with Alu Fry or Beans Paruppu Usili.

8 thoughts on “Vathal Kuzhambu…

  1. Oh yeah- this is classic! I’ve had this one before – quite common at home. But, the one I’ve not had is the one with the arisi appalam or the arisi vethal.

    I remember and still love the food at Annalakshmi – the original one in coimbatore is still great. i love that they serve in silver thalis and like you say all meals are cooked and served by professionals and other people who come only for service. And oh yes on the grand sweets thokku – actually their thakkali thokku is my favorite – I just spoon it up and eat it! I want some now!

Your opinions are the windows to your heartfelt views...Keep them coming...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s