Vendakka puli kuzhambu

OK, so this is yet another favorite recipe of mine. I know I keep telling the same for all the recipes but if you’ve read about me then you would know that am a big foodie. Yeah, I am one and especially if it has all the flavors in it like this one then am all in for it. I know, the south Indian states have all flavors inculcated in every dish. No wonder it is so mouth-watering.

This recipe is actually from my grandma. You know, it passed onto my mom and then to me. So, this is my style of an authentic south Indian style puli kuzhambu. This curry can be served along with hot steamed rice and pappads. You can also serve it along with kootu and potato fry as a complete TamilNadu style meal in a cold day.

Not to forget, this curry tastes even better the next day and also I love to eat it with dosas or idlis. Try this combination too and I assure you that you will become a fan of it too.

In this curry I’ve added homemade sambar powder. You can also use your favorite store bought powder. I haven’t tried making sambar powder at home because my mom usually grinds it in a large quantity and gives me some. But I would definitely try and share the recipe of homemade sambar powder soon.

Do try the recipe and let me know in the comments. Enjoy cooking and eating!

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Vendakka Puli Kuzhambu

Abhipriya Raghav
Vendakka puli kuzhambu is a south Indian, TamilNadu style curry with a tamrind base. It involves cooking fried ladies finger in tamrind curry. It is both tangy as well as spicy.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 3 people


  • 300 grams ladies-finger, chopped
  • 1 tbsp oil ,to fry ladies-finger

To temper

  • 1/2 tsp vadagam
  • 1/2 tsp toor dal
  • 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 2-3 sprigs of curry leaves
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup shallots, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium sized tomatoes, chopped ,local

For the tamrind curry

  • 1 lemon sized tamrind
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tbsp sambar powder or as per taste
  • 2 tbsp oil ,for cooking
  • salt ,as per taste
  • 1-1.5 tbsp gingelly oil



  • Soak 1 lemon sized tamrind ball in 1/4 cup water for 15 minutes
  • Discard the top and bottom of the ladies finger and cut it into 1 inch long pieces.
  • Add 1 tbsp oil in a kadai and fry the ladies finger in medium heat for about 10 minutes, stirring in between. When the color of the ladies finger changes, switch off the flame and transfer the contents to a plate
  • Chop shallots, tomatoes and peel the skin of the garlic and assemble all the other ingredients.
  • Once the tamrind has soaked well, squeeze the tamrind to extract the tamrind water alone. To this tamrind water add the turmeric powder, sambar powder, salt as per taste and also the fried ladies finger.
  • Mix all these together until no lumps are formed

Making the curry

  • To a kadai add 2 tbsp oil and when the oil is hot, temper it with vadagam, fenugreek seeds and toor dal and saute until the dal changes color.
  • Next add the chopped onions, garlic and the curry leaves and saute till the onion becomes translucent.
  • Next add the chopped tomatoes and a pinch of salt (for the tomatoes to cook) and saute until tomatoes turn soft.
  • To this add the already prepared tamrind water along with the ladies finger and the spices.
  • Mix the contents in the kadai and check for salt and water. If the curry is too tangy then add some more water to it.
  • Cover the kadai and cook for 10 minutes on a medium flame.
  • After sometime the curry would reduce in amount, simmer it and cook for 5 more minutes. The curry should not be very thick nor too thin.
  • Once the curry is ready, switch off the flame and add 1-1.5 tbsp of gingelly oil and stir the curry.
  • Transfer the curry to a bowl and serve hot along with steamed white rice and pappads.


  • If you do not have shallots, then use 1 medium sized onion instead.
  • Use local tomatoes as they add more flavor to the curry. If you do not find local tomatoes, the add hybrid tomatoes.
  • Adding garlic is completely optional.
  • Add sambar powder as per your level of spiciness.
  • If you do not have vadagam, then replace it with mustard seeds or you can avoid them completely.
Keyword curry, ladies finger, puli kuzhambu, south Indian, TamilNadu, tamrind, vendakka