Tamarind Gravy/ Kara Kuzhambhu

Tamarind is described as sweet and sour in taste, has high level of Tartaric acid , Vitamin B, Sugar, Calcium which is a strange thing for a fruit. Just imagine how tasty will it be when the right amount of tamarind pulp used in the gravy along with equal amount of spice and salt! Now, that’s what I call it as mind blowing feast to your taste buds. Tamarind gravy is a common recipe in all homes of southern part of India. It is cooked at least twice a week in lunch menus of South Indian houses.

My great grandma had her own version of Tamarind recipe. She used to add a small piece of Jaggery which is a concentrated product of sugarcane juice along with tamarind, spice and salt made her gravy so yummy. I was so lucky that I had tasted it many times when I was a kid.

This versatile recipe can be cooked with different vegetables namely Potatoes, Brinjals ( Egg plant), Okra ( Ladies finger), Country Beans ( Avarakkai ), Plantain ( Vaazhakkai), even with soaked and cooked bean.



  • Prep time – 10 mins
  • Cooking time – 20 mins
  • Serves – 2
  • Cuisine –  Indian


  • Tamarind – In the size of a lemon ( soft fruit pulp without seeds)

Note : If you are using tamarind paste, add one spoonful first and then decide  whether to add more or not.

  • Red chilli powder/ Chili pepper powder – 1 and half tablespoon
  • Coriander powder – 1 and half tablespoon
  • Ground turmeric – a pinch
  • Salt to taste
  • Onion – 1 medium ( diced)
  • Tomato – 1 small or 1/2 medium ( diced)
  • Garlic cloves – 5 to 7 peeled ( crushed if the size is bigger )
  • Eggplant – 3 medium size ( Cut it into 2 pieces and slit the pieces )

For seasoning :

  • Dried seasoning spices / Vadagam – 1 teaspoon

Note : You can also use just mustard and split black gram for seasoning if you do not have Dried seasoning spices which is a compulsory ingredient of traditional South Indian homes. It is the mixture of Mustard, Split black gram, Cumin, Fennel, Pearl Onions, Garlic, Fenugreek seeds, Salt, Turmeric powder.


  • Mustard seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Split black gram – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Curry leaves – 1 sprig
  • Oil – 3 tablespoons

Method :

  • In a hot deep cooking pot (Kadai) add oil, then add the seasoning ingredients (First Mustard seeds then black gram) except Curry leaves.
  • When the mustard seeds splatter and black gram changes to light brown, add the garlic cloves, onion and tomatoes. Saute well and add Eggplants.
  • Once all the mixture are well sauteed, add the tamarind extract and bring it to a boil.

Note : Concentrated Tamarind juice can be diluted in water and adjust the sourness accordingly.

  • Now add Red chilli powder, ground turmeric and coriander powder to this along with enough amount of salt. So, when you taste the gravy at this stage, you will get all the taste evenly. If not please adjust it and cover the cooking pot with lid after simmering the heat.
  • Let it be boiled till the raw smell of the tamarind vanishes and bring it to a thick consistency where the oil separates and add curry leaves and that’s it.

Serve with rice, idli and dosa, especially with egg dosa. I love to eat this gravy along with Papads ( Fryum ), steamed vegetable stir fries ( poriyal) which I will share with in next session. Thank you!


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