Chinna Vengaya Kuzhambu (Shallots in tamarind sauce)


Chinna Vengaya Kuzhambu or in kannada we call this as Chikk eerulli sambar , very fragrant , very flavorful and do you know when this tastes best ? 4 days after its preparation ;D . I made this kuzhambu a day before leaving to Bangalore for our annual family get-together , and when I came back home after 4 days of celebrations and heavy eating , my tongue was yearning for something homely and simple. I was glad to find this safely stored in my fridge . All I did was cook the plain rice and fried some Vadaams to accompany this. It was yummm…mmmm..mmmm!!! 😀


  • Cuisine: south indian
  • Yield: 9 helping
  • Course or type: main course
  • Preparation Time: 10
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Cooking Time: 15


1 handful Shallots
4 tbsps sesame oil
to taste salt
200 ml tamarind extract
200 ml water
1 tsp mustard seeds
pinch asafoetida
1 tsp fenugreek / methi seeds / vendhayam
1 tsp fennel / saunf / sombu
6 curry leaves
For roasting and grinding
2 tbsps sesame oil
1 tbsp black peppercorns / kaala mirch / millagu
1 tsp fenugreek / methi seeds / vendhayam
3 cloves garlic
2 finely chopped medium size onion
2 finely chopped medium size tomatoes
1 handful coconut scrapings
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1 tbsp kuzhmabu podi (See notes)


  1. First steep the tamarind in lukewarm water for 10 minutes and take its extract . You can either blend this in a blender or you squeeze out its juice with your hand . You need to approximately get around 200 ml of this.
  2. Take a wok / kadaai , keep it on medium heat. Add 2 tbsps of oil . First crackle the peppercorns , then add methi seeds , garlic , finely chopped onions and tomatoes. Saute this until tomatoes turn tender and mushy. Now add turmeric , red chilly powder and kuzhambu podi saute this.
  3. Turn off the heat and transfer the roasted contents to a blender jar , along with this add the coconut scrapings. Allow this to cool down for 5 minutes.
  4. After this cools down , without adding any water grind this to a fine paste.
  5. Now take a cooking pot or a steel vessel , keep this on medium heat , add 4 tbsps of sesame oil , when its heated up (takes about less than a minute) , temper the mustard seeds,asafoetida , methi seeds, fennel and curry leaves , then add the shallots and saute this until the shallots turn translucent ( will approximately take about a minute or two).
  6. When the shallots turn translucent , your kitchen will be filled with wonderful aroma , at this stage add the tamarind extract. Add it slowly because you are adding liquid on to a hot oil , hence it will start sizzling. Add the extract from the corner of the vessel , it will sizzle but it will not splutter on you. Add the required amount of salt for this dish.
  7. Allow it to boil for 4-5 minutes or until the raw smell leaves .
  8. Now add the prepared paste to this concoction and stir. Add about 200 ml of water . Let it boil for another 2 minutes.
  9. Take it off the heat serve it hot with plain rice.


Click here for Kuzhambu Podi recipe.


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