Vatha Kuzhambu Recipe| Spicy Sour Gravy for rice


Vatha kuzhambu is a tamilnadu style gravy recipe made with tamarind, sambar powder and turkey berry. It is a simple 15 min recipe, you can have with rice. 

Vatha kuzhambu is a traditional tamilnadu style dish prepared in Brahmin homes. It is a kuzhambu recipe, so it doesn’t use any lentils as we use for sambars. The speciality of this recipe is its slight bitterness, which comes due to the tamarind and turkey berrys.  Sambar powder is added to give it some spiciness. 

As the turkey berrys are very bitter, we will first fry them in oil to reduce its bitter taste. 

You can get turkey berries (chundakka) in Indian stores. Even the salted dry turkey berries are fine. So, make  sure you get this. If you can get them, this is really a nothing recipe. 

I will show you how to make this recipe, in just 15 minutes. 

Lets get started!! 

Vatha kuzhambu-Preparation Steps

1. Heat sesame oil in a pan. Even ghee is fine. Add 5-6 turkey berries and fry them till they turn blackish in color. Once, they are fried, keep them aside.


2. Soak a ball of tamarind in hot water and prepare tamarind water. Keep it aside.


2.b) Below are the list of ingredients, you would require for tempering this mix. 


3. To the pan, add little more oil if required. To this add, ½ tbsp. of mustard seeds. As the mustard seeds splutter add  ¼ tbsp. of fenugreek seeds, 1 red chilly broken into half, 2 tbsp of chana dal, 4-5 curry leaves and ½  tbsp of jaggery/sugar 


4. Pour in the tamarind water to the mix and let the temperings get cooked in it. To this add the fried turkey berries. Keep a medium flame and let it boil for 5 minutes. 


5. In a bowl add 2 tbsp of sambar powder. Add water and mix the powder well.


6. Pour this sambar powder liquid into the mix. Add 2 glasses of water to the mix along with 1 tbsp of salt and ¼ tbsp. of asafetida.


7. After the mix has boiled for 5-10 minutes, check the taste of the mix. If raw taste of ingredients surface, then heat the mix for a few more minutes.


8. Add in a few more curry leaves and switch off the flame. Your vathakuzhambu recipe is ready to be served.



It is a tasty dish, you can have with white rice and okra fry. During the rainy season, my mom makes this dish, with rice and okra along with fried papad. So, it goes without saying that, this dish is one of my all time favorite dish.

Make sure, you use sesame oil for this recipe. As this gives it, the unique taste.

In case, you can't get turkey berries, then chop onions, tomatoes or okra and add it instead. 

If you would like to try my other kuzhambu recipes, you can check thenga aracha kuzhambu, pulisserry

You may like these recipes..

1. SharmisPassion: Here is a vathakuzhambu recipe prepared in a similar method, with onion and garlic pearls. Check this out, and see if you like it. 

2. PadhusKitchen: Here is an Iyer style variation of Vathakuzhambu. This recipe is very similar to what we make in our home. Except that, padhu uses tur dal, while we use channa dal. Here is the link for you to check. 

› Vetha Kuzhambu

› Vetha Kuzhambu