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Onion Vathal Kuzhambu

Photo credits: Asha Sreedharan

This recipe was contributed by P.V. Narayanamoorthy.


  • 1 medium-sized onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp mustard (rai) seeds
  • 1 tsp fenugreek (methi) seeds
  • 1 tsp split pigeon pea (tuvar dal) or split Bengal gram (chana dal)
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • cups extract from a lime sized tamarind ball
  • 3 tsp sambar powder 
  • Unrefined salt to taste
  • ¼ tsp asafoetida (hing)
  • ½ tsp date paste 
  • 1 tsp brown rice flour


Roast mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, curry leaves and whichever dal you are using.
When the mustard sputters and the dal turns golden brown, add sliced onions. Sauté until onions turn translucent. Add the tamarind extract. Add sambar powder, salt and asafoetida, bring to a boil and then simmer for 20 minutes, or until the gravy begins to thicken. Add date paste.

Mix brown rice flour in 1 tsp water to make a thick paste. Add this to the curry and stir continuously until the gravy becomes thick. Turn off the heat and transfer to a serving bowl. Serve hot with red/ brown/ black rice or millet or rotis. Enjoy

Serving Suggestions

Roast South Indian rice papads and serve with this dish. It will give it a crunch. As the dish is already spicy, avoid the spicy North Indian papads


Use tomatoes/ brinjals/ shallots/ ladies’ finger instead of onions.

This dish would be called Pavakkai Puli Kuzhambu if you make it with bitter gourd and tamarind.

Venthiya Kuzhambu if you make it with fenugreek seeds (methi dana).

Serves 4-5


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