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vatha kozhumbu recipe

Sundakkai Vatha Kuzhambu recipe with step by step photos | How to do Vatha Kulambu

Sundakkai Vatha Kuzhambu  served with rice

Sundakkai Vatha Kuzhambu – is a spicy tangy and a finger licking Tamilnadu style Curry made using turkey berries , shallots and few freshly ground spices . Served with hot rice with a drizzle of ghee or sesame oil on top , this vathal kozhumbu tastes so good !!

Vathal kulambu recipe is one of the popular dishes in Tamil Nadu and is very common in restaurants and households of the state. There are so many ways this dish can be made and each region has its own unique style of making it . Some make it minus Onion Garlic , some minus coconut , some add veggies like bhindi , brinjal etc and some keep it simple with just few basic ingredients .. but what doesn’t change in any of these variations is usage of tamarind and sesame oil .

Usage of Sesame oil in Vatha Kozhumbu , makes the curry so flavorful and gives it a perfect authentic taste .

And they serve this curry as a side dish with white rice, vegetable dal Kootu, and other similar dishes. One can easily relish vatha kozhumbu for 3-4 days without keeping fridge and the best part ,the taste just keeps getting better each day .

What is Sundakkai ?

Sundakkai is the Tamil name for Turkey berries , which are also known as Kudane / Kudanekayi in Kannada. There are so many dishes that one can make from these berries . The fresh ones will be pale greenish in color and are not commonly found in cities . But the sun dried versions are easily available and are good replacement.

The fresh berries are soaked in a salt-buttermilk mixture for couple of days and then dried and stored for making curries. This sun dried vathals can be stored for number of years to be used as and when required.

sundakkai or turkey berry image

Few Points to note while making Sundakkai Vatha Kuzhambu :

  • Please note .. the sun dried sundakkai ( turky berries ) have salt in it .Hence be careful while adding salt to the curry .
  • Sundakkai are little bitter in nature . So the gravy will have slight bitterness which will be balanced from tamarind and jaggery .
  • Use Sesame oil ( Gingelly ) only for this kozhumbu for authentic & best taste . However , if you are not used to the strong flavor , can used any oil , however the taste may vary .
  • Dry roast the spices nicely on medium heat until it turns aromatic and crisp. So make sure not to burn the spices which will alter the taste of this curry.
  • Don’t compromise on the tamarind , spice and jaggery quantity . This curry has to be tangy , spicy with a tinge of sweetness . So balance the taste accordingly.
  • Use shallots / small onions, for best taste.
  • Addition of coconut enhances taste .But it’s optional, however try not skipping it.
  • Instead of turkey berries , as an alternative you can also use black night shade berries ( sun dried ganake hannu / manathakkali ) / make plain with just onion tomato

Some of the other tamarind based curries that you can try are Brinjal Gothsu , Ulli theeyal , Puli Inji etc

vatha kozhumbu recipe

Sundakkai Vatha Kuzhambu / Vatha Kolambu

Smitha Kalluraya
Sundakkai Vatha Kuzhambu – is a spicy tangy and a finger licking Tamilnadu style Curry made using turkey berries , shallots and few freshly ground spices
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 35 mins
Course Side Dish
Cuisine south indian
Servings 4 People


For Frying Sundakkai

  • 2 tbsp Sesame oil / Any Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Sundakkai

Masala To Roast & Grind

  • 1 tsp Oil
  • 1 tsp Urad dal
  • 2 tsp Channa Dal / Bengal Gram
  • 2 tsp Coriander seeds / Dhania
  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds / Jeera
  • 1/4 tsp Fenugreek Seeds / Methi
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • 3-5 nos Red Chilli, Byadgi ( kashmiri )
  • 1/4 cup Coconut, optional

For the gravy ( Kozhumbu )

  • Amla Size Tamarind
  • 2 + 1 tbsp Sesame oil
  • 1 tsp Mustard
  • big pinch Hing / Asafoetida
  • 10-15 nos Small Onions / Shallots, chopped
  • 4-5 flakes Garlic
  • 2 medium size Tomato, chopped
  • few Curry leaves
  • 1/4 tsp Turmeric / Haldi
  • 1 tsp Red Chilli Powder
  • amla size Jaggery
  • Salt to taste


  • Soak tamarind in a n hot water.Extract pulp and keep aside
  • Take a small kadai / pan , add oil . Let it heat , add sundakkai. Saute on a low flame for a minute. Let they puff , change color and get crisp.
  • Once done ,take out from oil , keep aside to be used later.
  • To roast masala , Heat a teaspoon of oil in a pan and add in Urad dal , channa dal , coriander seeds , Jeera , Methi seeds , pepper and red chillies.
    Saute on a very low flame for 3-4 minutes.
  • Let the masala be aromatic and golden . Keep them aside , allow to cool.
  • To the same pan add coconut , roast for 1-2 mins. Keep aside to cool.
    If you don't want coconut , can skip.
  • Transferred the roasted ingredients along with roasted coconut to a mixer jar. Add water and grind to a smooth paste. Masala for kolambu is ready . Set aside.
  • To prepare Kozhumbu , first prepare a tempering .Take a pan / kadai . Heat 1 tbsp oil and mustard. Once they splutter , add curry leaves and hing .
  • Add in the chopped small onion and garlic. Saute for 3-4 minutes. Let onions get translucent .
  • Add in the chopped tomatoes and saute for a minute. Let the tomatoes get little soft.
  • Now add in the turmeric powder and red chilli powder . Saute the masala for a minute.
  • Add in ground masala paste ,tamarind pulp , jaggery , salt to taste and 1-2 cup water. Combine all. Bring it to a boil.
  • When the curry is boiling , add in the roasted sundakkai and simmer the gravy for 10-15 minutes on a low flame. Initially the berries will float on top , later they will absorb the gravy and sink in .
  • Lastly add 1 tbsp , raw sesame oil to the kozhambu and switch off. Mix well and let it sit for some time .. minimum 30 mins. This will help the berry 's to absorb flavors.
  • Enjoy Sundakkai vatha Kozhumbu with hot rice and ghee on top !!
    sundakkai vath kolambu
Keyword sundakkai vatha kozhumbu, vatha kozhumbu recipe, vathal kolambu

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