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Sundakkai Vatha Kuzhambu – Tamil Hotel Style Recipe

Recipe for sundakkai vatha kuzhambu. Spicy Tamil style vathal kuzhambu / kara kuzhambu recipe made without coconut. A popular side dish for lunch in Tamilnadu.

  • Total Time: 55 mins
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x



For frying Sundakkai

  • 3 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1/4 cup sundakkai vathal

For the masala paste

  • 1 teaspoon peanut oil
  • 4 dried red chillies
  • 56 fenugreek seeds
  • 67 cloves garlic
  • 2 teaspoon chana dal
  • 1 teaspoon urad dal
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper corn
  • 2 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 2 sprigs curry leaves

Other ingredients

  • Gooseberry size tamarind
  • 3 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1/4 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 2 sprigs curry leaves
  • 10 small onions, chopped
  • 10 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 teaspoon red chilli powder (use less if you want a less spicy curry)
  • 2 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon jaggery
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (see notes)
  • 2 teaspoon Indian sesame oil
  • a big pinch of asafoetida


  1. Take a pan and add in three tablespoon of oil. Add in the sundakkai and saute on a low flame for a minute. The berries will puff up and start to change colour. Remove from heat and set aside to a bowl along with the oil left.
  2. Heat a teaspoon of oil in a pan and add in all the ingredients for the masala paste. Saute on a very low flame for 3-4 minutes. Grind the roasted ingredients along with half a cup of water to a smooth paste. Set aside.
  3. Soak a gooseberry size tamarind (about two inch strip) in a cup of water for 20 minutes. Squeeze and extract the pulp. Discard the seeds and the pith. Set aside.
  4. Heat peanut oil in a pan (Be generous with oil) and add in the mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, fennel seeds and curry leaves. Let the mustard seeds crackle. Add in the chopped small onion (Indian shallots) and garlic. Saute for 3-4 minutes.
  5. Add in the chopped tomatoes and saute for a minute.
  6. Now add in the turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder and jaggery.
  7. Saute the masalas for a minute. Add in the tamarind pulp.
  8. Add in the salt and the ground masala paste.
  9. Wash the mixie with half a cup of water and add back to the pan. Add in a cup of water too. Let it come to a boil.
  10. Add in the sundakkai along with oil and allow it to simmer for 20 minutes on a low flame.
  11. Check for seasoning and add more salt if necessary. Switch off the flame and add in two teaspoon of Indian sesame oil (gingely oil) and a big pinch of asafoetida powder. Mix well and set aside for half an hour so the berries soak up the juices and nicely flavour the curry.


Note on salt
Dried sundakkai is already salted. When added to the curry, the salt from sundakkai will also be released in the curry. So go easy on the salt and if need be, seasoning can be adjusted later.

  • Author: Kannamma - Suguna Vinodh
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 45 mins
  • Category: Curry
  • Cuisine: Tamilnadu
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