Vatha kuzhambu ( Tamarind Stew)

Vatha Kuzhambu is a traditional south indian sambhar variety. This is actually a stew made with tamarind mixed with spices (Sambhar powder). This is one of my very favorite recipes. My husband asks for this dish at least once in a week.

Veggies like pearl onions, garlic, ladies finger or dried fruits

like Manathakkali Vathal (Dried black nightshade) or sudakkai vathal (Dried Turkey Berry) can be used for this recipe. But I am using sudakkai vathal for this recipe.


  • Sesame Oil - 3 tbsp (Generously)
  • Mustard Seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Fenugreek seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Curry leaves - few strands
  • Veegie / Vathal of your choice
  • Sambhar powder - 2 tbsp
  • Tamarind pulp - thick pulp 1/2 cup
  • Salt to taste 
  • hing
  • Jaggery - 1/2 tbsp
  • Besan / Gram flour - 1/2 tbsp (Optional)


In a heavy bottom pan, add oil and heat it. Once smoking add mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds and wait for it to splutter.

To the tadka add veggie or vathal , in my case sundakkai vathal and fry until its cooked. 

To the same add sambhar powder and saute for less than a minute. Do not let it fry. Once you add sambhar powder in hot oil it will form lather and bubbles. Add tamarind pulp, hing and salt and mix well and let it cook until the raw smell is gone. Finally add jaggery and give it a stir. Add water and dilute if needed. It will take about 15 - 20 mins to be cooked.

Yummy Vatha Kuzhambu is ready !!! Serve hot with rice, shallow fried potato and papad. 


  1. Make sure tamarind pulp is thick, you can dilute later.
  2. Incase if you made your vatha kuzhambu too thin add a tsp of rice&fenugreek powder (click on the link to know how to make the powder which i made for race kuzhambu) or a tbsp of Gram flour and cook again for few minutes.
  3. Adding Jaggery to the sambhar truly enhances the flovor. But if you don't want you can exclude it from the recipe.
  4. I did not have curry leaves so i just kept a mint leave :P

Enjoy and Happy Cooking !!