Tirunelveli Pulikuzhambu

028Tirunelveli always reminds me of so many special memories. I learnt this super dish from my mom’s bestie (and her daughter is my bestie!). We go to Tirunelveli just to visit them and of course to enjoy her food. She always makes this dish whenever we visit them as it is my favorite. (I must say that this is one among many she prepares for the lunch). My mom’s friend is an avid cook. It was very kind of her to share this recipe. I also love her Sothi for which I will post the recipe very soon. Thanks to aunty and my friend, who took the time to ask her mom and e-mail me the recipe.
Tirunelveli pulikuzhambuPulikuzhambu is a tamarind based gravy popular in my home state of Tamilnadu, India. And Tirunelveli pulikuzhambu is one of the best. The key to this recipe is the roasting of spices to the right temper which is then ground to a paste and that forms the base for this gravy. Tirunelveli pulikuzhambu goes very well with rice, idli and dosa.
tirunelveli pulikuzhambuLooks yummy rite? Pulikuzhambu is my most favorite vegetarian gravy and this Tirunelveli variety is at the top of the pecking order. That is mainly because of the taste and the traditional method in which it is prepared. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Tirunelveli Pulikuzhambu
Recipe type: Lunch
Cuisine: Indian
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
Easy puli kuzhambu made in tirunelveli style for the spicy food lovers and mom to be's.
  • Garlic cloves – 15 nos
  • Shallots – 4 (if small – 6, cut into slits)
  • Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • Urad dal – 1 tsp
  • Tamarind – big gooseberry size
  • Gingelly oil – 2 tbs
  • Salt as required
To roast
  • Cumin seeds – 1 tbs
  • Whole black pepper – 12 nos
  • Red chillies – 3
  • Coriander seeds – 1 tbs
  • Split bengal gram/ kadalai paruppu - 1 tbs
  • Raw rice – 1 tsp
  • Fenugreek seeds – ½ tbs (7 to 8 nos)
  1. Soak tamarind in a cup of water for 15 minutes and extract the juice.
  2. Heat a tsp of gingelly oil, add and roast the ingredients given above for a couple of minutes until the aroma spreads (simmer it to avoid burning). Allow it to cool and grind along with a shallot and keep it ready.
  3. Heat gingelly oil in a sauce pan and add mustard seeds and urad dal. When it starts to pop, add shallots and garlic cloves. Sauté until onion turn translucent.
  4. Now add in the ground masala and immediately the tamarind juice with enough salt. Mix well and allow it to boil. Switch off the flame when oil separates.
Add whole garlic cloves to this gravy *WITHOUT* chopping. This gives an added taste. Chopped garlic not so much.


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