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Poondu kuzhambu

Poondu kuzhambu | Garlic gravy for rice

Poondu kuzhambu is the delicious gravy from the South Indian kitchen, has amazing medicinal values of garlic and paired up with hot cooked rice.
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Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine South Indian
Servings 8
Calories 180 kcal


  • Ingredients:
  • To saute & grind:
  • 1 tbsp gingelly oil
  • ½ tsp peppercorns
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 10 garlic pods
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 1 tbsp coconut
  • For gravy:
  • 2 tbsp gingelly oil
  • ½ tsp mustard
  • ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 5 shallots or ½ onion (optional)
  • 15 garlic pods
  • Curry leaves
  • 1 pinch asafoetida
  • 1 to mato
  • 2 cups tamarind water (1 lemon size tamarind)
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp kulambu chilli or sambar powder
  • Salt (as per taste)


  • Preparation:
  • Soak a lemon sized tamarind in warm water for 15 minutes.
  • Extract two cups of tamarind water and set aside.
  • Peel shallots (or big onion if you don't have shallot) and chop.
  • Peel garlic pods and keep ready. Some use garlic without peeling and you can do that way too if you wish. But I prefer peeling off the skin.
  • Garlic gravy special masala:
  • Heat a tsp of gingelly oil in a flat pan, fry peppercorns and cumin seeds.
  • When they start popping, add half of the garlic pods. Saute for few minutes until garlic rises a good aroma.
  • Need not to cook till they lose all the water content. Just a few minutes sauteing would be fine as we are going to cook again while making the gravy.
  • Also, add few curry leaves and coconut pieces. Saute two minutes and switch off.
  • Let this cooldown and grind into a fine paste using less water. Keep aside.
  • How to make the Garlic gravy:
  • Add some gingelly oil to the same pan, season with mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds.
  • Put chopped onions and saute.
  • Add the rest of the garlic and saute well for five minutes in medium heat.
  • By this time a nice aroma will come and also add curry leaves.
  • Now add tomato and cook them soft.
  • Also, add turmeric powder and chilli powder.
  • Add the required salt for the gravy.
  • Now add the tamarind water and mix well.
  • Cook tamarind water for completely until it reduces into 3/4th quantity. You can keep covered for a few minutes.
  • When tamarind water is fully boiling and completely cooked, add the ground masala paste. Mix well.
  • Cook the kulambu for five more minutes by covering with a lid.
  • Switch off and serve with hot steamy rice and papad or simple potato fry.
  • In the end, you can add a tsp of jaggery if you wish to enhance the taste. I didn't add as it is optional and just didn't prefer that time.



1) First of all the addition of the fenugreek seeds and coconut is not optional but for balancing the acidity created by tamarind. For all kind of tamarind based gravies it is better to use methi seeds while sauteing and coconut paste in the gravy for balanced health.
2) Furthermore, the usage of jaggery is purely optional and it definitely enhances the taste of the poondu kuzhambu.
3) Finally, I like the touch and smell of greens and so added curry leaves lavishly.


Calories: 180kcal
Keyword Garlic gravy for rice, Kara poondu kuzhambu, Kulambu vagaigal, Poondu kulambu, Poondu kuzhambu, South Indian gravies
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