Vegetarian Concoctions

January 22, 2007

Pudina (Mint leaves) Vatral kuzhambu

Filed under: Indian, Main meals, Mint leaves, Tamilnadu — Hema @ 3:17 pm

Vatral kuzhambu or more commonly called vetha kuzhambu is a sambhar-like preparation made without the use of any cooked dal. It is a spicy concoction made with lots of tamarind, typically one vegetable and of course some spices. Though traditionally, dried vegetables (vatral) like sundakkai and manathakalikkai were used to make this kuzhambu (hence its name), baby onions, egg plant, potatoes, carrot, radish or any other fresh vegetable or even  a combination of vegetables can be used. Venkaya (baby onion) vethakozhambu happens to be my and almost everyone else’s favourite. Pudina (mint leaves) and vendiyam (methi/fenugreek leaves) come a close second for me.


Here’s what you need:

Mint leaves – A big bunch

Tamarind – 1/2 cup thick extract

Turmeric – 1/2 tsp

Sambhar pwd – 3 tbsp

For tempering:

Sesame oil – 2 tbsp

Mustard seeds – 1 tsp

Hing – 1/3 tsp

Red chillies – 2-3 nos

Tur dal – 3 tsp

Chana dal – 2 tsp

Methi/ fenugreek seeds – 2 tsp

Curry leaves – about 10

Salt to taste.

Always use sesame oil for vethakuzhambu. It just tastes a whole lot better. Heat up the oil. Add Mustard seeds and let them splutter. Add the dals, red chillies, methi and the hing. [The block hing (the one sold as a block-not the powdered one) tastes better. Powder it coarsely before adding it to the oil.] Once the dals turn brown, add the curry leaves and the sambhar pwd. Saute for just about 5 seconds and add the mint leaves. Saute for a minute or so till the mint leaves turn dark green and reduce in volume. Add the turmeric,tamarind extract and salt. Tamarind concentrate does not taste as good in this recipe. Add some water and let this boil up for about 15-20 minutes. Add more water later if needed. If the kuzhambu gets very watery, just dissolve some rice pwd in water and add the paste. Boil until it thickens up to the required consistency.

Vethakuzhambu easily keeps for about 15 days in the refrigerator. In fact it tastes even better as it gets older. So, make sure you have made enough to last at least a couple days! Mix it with rice and a drizzle of sesame oil or eat it with curd rice – but eat with your hand and not the spoon, for, the hand smells divine long after the meal is digested.




  1. Looks divine,what a dish for a winter day!:)

    Comment by Asha — January 22, 2007 @ 5:19 pm

  2. Nanum vathkulambu seia 2 weeksaha plan pannurean.Your pic increased my cravings.
    thanks for the recipe.

    Comment by Rashmi — January 22, 2007 @ 8:14 pm

  3. Looks tempting.. thanks so much for sharing

    Comment by Sushma — January 23, 2007 @ 12:45 am

  4. Looks warm and spicy Hema
    What does Kuzambhu mean, does it mean Dal ?

    Comment by sandeepa — January 23, 2007 @ 1:18 pm

  5. Eat with your hand… 🙂 🙂 I am sure it tastes divine !!

    Good one.


    Comment by Mythili — January 23, 2007 @ 2:35 pm

  6. I just love any kind of vathakuzhambu..this looks mouthwatering..Thnaks for sharing

    Comment by maheswari — January 23, 2007 @ 2:58 pm

  7. Happy new year! I have abunch of pudina just for this recipe. thanks.Is preethi mixie good?

    Comment by shaheen — January 23, 2007 @ 6:37 pm

  8. Beautiful picture Hema! I am sure the dish is as yummy as it looks. Nice presentation too.
    Thanks, Nidhi.

    Comment by Nidhi — January 23, 2007 @ 10:16 pm

  9. @Asha,
    Yes, perfect for the weather


    @Sushma, Mythili, Maheshwari, Nidhi

    It is similar to sambhar without the cooked dal

    I have had it for about a month now and I really like it.

    Comment by Hema — January 24, 2007 @ 10:30 am

  10. Hema you can send it to me on or before 26th…Thanks..

    Comment by maheswari — January 24, 2007 @ 12:36 pm

  11. My husband’s fav dish.

    Comment by shivapriya — January 25, 2007 @ 3:46 pm

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