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Vengaya Vathal Kuzhambu
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5 from 54 votes

Vengaya Vathal Kuzhambu

A spicy stew made with onions and tamarind is a delicacy in South Indian cuisine. Vatha kuzhambu is best when served with steaming hot rice with a dollop of ghee on top.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time40 minutes
Total Time50 minutes
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: South Indian
Diet: Vegan
Servings: 6 people
Calories: 120kcal


  • 3 inch Tamarind as big as a large lemon
  • 1 cup Onion finely chopped
  • 4 tablespoon Gingelly oil can use any other oil as well
  • 1 teaspoon Mustard seeds
  • 2 teaspoon Tuvaram Paruppu / toor dal
  • 4 Red chilies
  • 1 teaspoon Fenugreek seeds / vendhayam
  • 3 tablespoon Sambhar powder
  • 1 teaspoon Rice flour optional
  • few Curry leaves
  • to taste salt
  • 1 teaspoon Jaggery


  • Soak the tamarind in 2 cups of hot water for about 15 minutes. Squeeze the pulp well and extract the juice. Add 2 more cups of water to the squeezed pulp and extract that water as well.
  • In a heavy bottom pan, heat the oil. I use gingelly oil for the flavor, but feel free to use oil of your choice.
  • Add the mustard seeds and let it crackle. Then add the toor dal, red chilies and vendhayam (fenugreek seeeds) and fry for about 15 seconds.
  • Add the chopped onions and saute it for about 2 to 3 minutes until they start to become aromatic.
  • Now add the sambhar powder and give it a quick mix. Add the extracted tamarind water along with salt needed and curry leaves. Mix well and let it come to a boil.
  • Simmer the kuzhambu and let it cook for about 15 to 20 minutes.
  • Add the jaggery to the simmering kuzhambu at this stage.
  • Check the consistency of the kuzhambu.  Depending on the quality of the tamarind, the kuzhambu could reach the desired thickness on its own, but sometimes we might need to add a little bit of rice flour emulsion to get it there.
  • If the kuzhambu is not to your desired consistency, then add a little rice flour which is mixed with about 4 tablespoon of water to the boiling kuzhambu and mix well. The kuzhambu will thicken and at this stage turn off the flame.
  • Cover the pan with a lid to retain the flavor of the kuzhambu. Serve with hot rice and ghee!


Expert tips and FAQ's

  • Use good quality tamarind for the best result. Fresh tamarind works better than tamarind paste.
  • The more the kuzhambu simmers, the better it tastes. 
  • Drumsticks, vegetable preserves, radish or any such vegetable can be used instead of onions. 
  • Small onions or pearl onions gives the kuzhambu the best flavor. 
  • The kuzhambu is best when served with hot rice and dollop of ghee. 


Calories: 120kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Sodium: 6mg | Potassium: 144mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 286IU | Vitamin C: 45mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 1mg