Friday 12 July 2013

Vatha Kuzhambu (Sundakkai Vatha Kuzhambu)

Vatha kuzhambu is a very traditional and authentic dish made in Tamil Nadu. Here I have used Sundakkai vathal or Turkey berry (dried)/Bhankatiya [Hindi] to make this healthy and mind blowing gravy. I learnt this vatha kuzhambu from my mom after I got married and ever since have been making the same without any changes. Check out other delicious South Indian -TamilNadu special Kuzhambu varieties here.

Before going in to making of this vatha kuzhambu I surely want to share the importance and the benefits of sundakkai. Sundakkai is called as Turkey berry; it has extraordinary medicinal values which can cure many diseases. Turkey berry is a green colored fruit with bitter taste, it can be used fresh or in dried form as vathal. Turkey berries (sundakkai) have the ability to kill the germs, helps in controlling diabetes, gastric problems and when consumed on daily basis helps in strengthening the bones and nerves.

Now coming back to the recipe here’s how to make Sundakkai Vatha Kuzhambu with step by step photos…

Sundakkai (Turkey Berry)
¼ cup
One lemon sized ball
1 finely chopped
10-12 cloves
Green chillies
2 or 3
Red chilli powder
2 tsp
Coriander powder
4 tsp
Turmeric powder
½ tsp
Jaggery (Vellam) [optional]
One very small piece
As needed

For Tempering

Gingelly oil/Nallaennai
3 tbsp
Mustard seeds/Kadugu
½ tsp
Cumin seeds/Jeeragam
½ tsp
Fenugreek seeds/Vendhayam
½ tsp
Curry leaves
Asafoetida powder
¼ tsp
You can replace mustard seeds, cumin seeds with Thallippu Vengayam Vadagam for more added flavour and taste

Preparation Time: 10 minutes                             Recipe Category: Lunch/MainCourse
Cooking Time: 20-25 minutes                              Recipe Cuisine: Tamil Nadu, India
Author: Priya Anandakumar 


Soak the tamarind in about 2 cup of warm water for about 10 – 15 min. Extract the juice by squeezing the tamarind and filter it in to another bowl and keep it aside.

In a pan add about 1 tsp of oil and roast the sundakkai (turkey berry) and keep it for later.

Heat oil in a kadai, splutter the mustard seeds, after that add cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, curry leaves, asafoetida and saute for 10-15 sec.

Add onions, garlic, green chillies and saute until golden brown.

Add the tamarind extract, red chilli powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, salt and let it boil really well for about 10-12 min or until the gravy starts to get thick.

Now add the fried sundakkai vathal or manathakkali vathal, jaggery to the gravy and let it boil until oil starts to float. Now switch off the stove. [Adding jaggery is totally optional, I do not add it most of the time].

Delicious, spicy and tangy sundakkai vatha kuzhambu is ready to be served. Serve it hot with rice and pappadam or appalam. It is also a perfect side dish for idlis, dosas etc.


I have used the regular onions since I did not get the pearl onions here. But it is better to use pearl onions to make the Vatha kuzhambu.

It is better to use gingelly oil [nallaennai] but if you don’t get it then replace it with sunflower oil.

If you have vadagam you can use it for tempering, it gives extraordinary taste to the kuzhambu.

Thank you all for visiting my blog, please come back again for more traditional and authentic recipes of Tamil Nadu.

Other South Indian Kuzhambu varieties that might be of your interest...

Kaaramani Kaara Kuzhambu/Blackeyed beans gravy

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  1. this is a delicious curry...we also cook this in Sri Lanka,but in different way.will use this method next time...

  2. My mouth is watering here...

  3. Vatha kuzhambu looks tempting. Thanks for stopping by and for the wishes Priya.

  4. I just love and love this curry. But finding the sundakkai over here is not easy. Sometimes I pinch some from my mum. Can't take my eyes from the curry.

  5. The curry thickness makes me soooo hungry! Love it ya ;)
    Thanks for stopping by my space. You have delicious space here too!

  6. Wow this is an all time comforting food and yours look soooo perfect Priya :)

  7. delicious looking kozhumbu variety :) yummy :)

  8. Looks so yummy.
    I want to prepare this for my BM but couldn't find them anywhere. I went to a South Indian store here and asked or it but he doesn't understand the name . May be you could tell me it's common or Hindi name.

    1. Thank you Sapana, I also did not know the hindi name, googled it. but i posted in fb and priya akka gave me the answer its Bhankatiya in hindi... I hope you will find it now...

  9. ஆஹா, வற்றல் குஅம்பு என்றாலே அதன் டேஸ்ட் தனிதான். அதிலும் சுண்டைக்காய் போட்ட வற்றல் குழ்ம்பு என்றால் கேட்கவே வேண்டாம். சூப்பராகவே இருக்கும்.

    சுண்டைக்காய் வற்றல் குழம்பு போலவே டேஸ்டான பதிவுக்குப் பாராட்டுக்கள். பகிர்வுக்கு நன்றிகள்.

  10. I love your sundakkai vatha kuzhambu.. Very tempting.. I am longing for this kuzhambu.. Sundakkai is one of the item I search everytime I go to Indian grocery.. No luck till now..

  11. Ahh.. The vey mention of vathakuzhambu makes me drool.. Looks soo inviting Priya.. Slurp !! I just need a bowl of rice now :)

  12. vatha kulambhu looks so tangy and to eat it with hot plain rice and a drop of gingelly oil.

  13. oh that oil floating on top simply drool me to just pour that on warm rice and complete in no time

  14. Super tempting. Addition of green chillies is new to me. We too make similarly :)

  15. Yummy curry

  16. Thank you very much all of you for your sweet comments, I treasure your comments a lot...

  17. Finger licking Kuzhambu.. Thanks for Sharing.

  18. Hi,
    Can this curry be made with fresh sundakai. Tried ur white kurma yesterday was a grt hit in my house.



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Priya Anandakumar