Before the advent of readily available sambar masala powders in the shops, in the old days people had to make simple “ paruppu kuzhambu ” with tur dhal (red gram) and locally available vegetables without adding much spices etc. This is a specialty still liked by many folks in the interior south of Tamil Nadu.  Though it lacks the strong flavor and pungent taste of sambar, it has it’s unique taste and smell.

Servings: 3
Cooking Time: 1 hour


1.      Tur Dhal (red gram ) : 0.5 Cup ( 100 grams )
2.      Shallots (Small onion) : 10
3.      G. chili : 5 no
4.      Tomato : 1 small one
5.      Vegetable of your choice – preferably drumstick and 2 brinjals (Egg plant)
6.      Curry leaves and Coriander leaves – 2 sprigs each
7.      Cloves of garlic: 2 no
8.      Mustard : 0.5 Teaspoon
9.      Cumin Seeds : 1 Teaspoon
10.     Turmeric Powder: 0.5 Teaspoon
11.     Asafoetida : 1 pinch
12.     Salt: 1 Teaspoon
13.     Oil – Gingelly: 1 Tablespoon
14.     Coconut Gratings: 1 Tablespoon
15.     Water : 3 Cups

Paruppu Kulambu
Paruppu Kuzhambu


Wash the tur dhal and soak it in one and a half cup water for an hour. Clean and chop the shallots, tomato, vegetables and slit the g. chili. Grind lightly the coconut gratings along with half of the cumin seeds and 2 g. chili and keep aside. In a cooker boil the tur dhal along with the turmeric powder, garlic, asafoetida, 5 Shallots, 3 g.chili, tomato and the diced vegetables for 10 minutes till the dhal and vegetables are well cooked.  In a skillet add the oil and heat it over moderate flame and put the mustard seeds, the remaining cumin seeds, shallots, and finally curry leaves and fry for a couple of minutes.  Then add the cooked dhal with vegetables and add the salt and the remaining water with the ground coconut paste and let it boil for 5 minutes. Stir it well and before taking off the stove add the coriander leaves.

Tips:  This kuzhambu is suitable for rice mostly and people prefer the thinner version of this curry.  The coconut gratings can be added to the curry either ground slightly or as they are.


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Nethili Fish Curry or Nethili Meen Kuzhambu is a traditional fish curry that is native to the south eastern districts for Tamilnadu. It is cooked in native clay pots generally. “Nethili” known as Anchovies fish in English is a tiny fish regularly available in Indian Coasts and it is consumed both as a curry as well as a fry.  All small fish like Anchovies, sardines etc., are good for health as they increase the good cholesterol of our body.
Nethili 1
Fish Curry
1.      Nethili Fish (Anchovies) : ½ kg (500 grams)
2.      Shallots : 50 grams
3.      Onion : 1 ( 50 grams )
4.      Garlic : 4 cloves
5.      Tomato : 1 ( 50 grams)
6.      Tamarind : 1 small ball
7.      Raw Mango : 1 small one
8.      Turmeric Powder: ½ teaspoon
9.      Chili Powder: 2 teaspoon
10.   Coriander powder: 1 teaspoon
11.   Mustard: ½ teaspoon
12.   Fenugreek : 1 teaspoon
13.   Oil : 1 ½ tablespoon
14.   Curry leaves: 2 sprigs
15.   Salt : 1 teaspoon
Clean the fish first by peeling off the head along with the intestine wastes and wash well with water and keep aside. Remove the skin of onion and shallots and chop into small pieces. Cut the tomato and the raw mango to small sizes. Use some water to squeeze the tamarind pulp. Using a mud pot enhances the taste of the fish curry being cooked in it.  Heat the oil in the mud vessel over moderate flame and add the mustard. It splutters and then sauté the onions and garlic till they turn translucent. Then you can put the chopped tomato, mango and curry leaves and fry for a couple of minutes. Then add the T.powder, chili powder, Coriander powder, salt, tamarind juice with one cup of water to the pot. Let it simmer for 5 minutes. Finally add the fish and allow it to simmer over low flame for 10 to 12 minutes till the curry thickens to your liking.
Nethili Fish Curry
Nethili Fish
Tips:  This fish curry remains fresh for a couple of days in the same mud pot and it even
tastes better after a day or two.
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All dishes of mutton (either lamb or goat meat) are consumed as favorites in Tamil Nadu and mutton curry is a good accompaniment for both rice based meals as well as Tiffin items like chapatti, Idli etc.  This dish is prepared using locally grown vegetables like drumstick, Tomato etc and spices like cardamom, cinnamon are avoided.  The preparation is quite common in the southern part of Tamil Nadu.
Cooking Time: 45 minutes
Servings:  4
1.      Mutton  :  500 grams
2.      Shallots : 50 grams (approximate)
3.      Onion :  1   ( approximately 75 grams)
4.      Tomato : 1 (approximately 75 grams )
5.      Ginger : 2 inch piece
6.      Curry and Coriander leaves:  2  Sprigs each
7.      Coconut Paste :   0.75 Cup ( 150 ml )
8.      Drumstick : 1
9.      Potato : 1 ( 50 grams approximate)
10.   Aniseed : 0.5 Teaspoon
11.   Turmeric Powder :  0.5 Teaspoon
12.   Chili Powder : 1.5 Teaspoon
13.   Coriander Powder :  1 Teaspoon
14.   Oil : 1 Tablespoon
15.   Salt : 1.25 Teaspoon
16.   Water : 200 ml
Cut and clean the mutton pieces with water. Chop the onions, tomato finely. Remove the skin of ginger and mash it well. Remove the skin of potato and cube it. Cut the drumstick to pieces. Make fine paste of the coconut gratings in a blender and keep the paste aside. Heat a cooker with oil and add the aniseed along with the chopped onions and sauté. Then add the tomato, mashed ginger and curry leaves.  Fry for a couple of minutes and then put the  mutton pieces along with the cut potato, drumstick pieces and salt. Add the turmeric, chili and coriander powder with 100 ml water and pressure cook the meat well for 10 to 15 minutes or so till the meat is soft .  Then the remaining water along with the coconut paste and coriander leaves can be added to the curry and let it simmer for 5 minutes till you get the required consistency.
1. Instead of drumstick, you can cook brinjal (egg plant) with the curry.
2. Add .5 Teaspoon extra chili powder to get the mutton curry more spicy. (Optional)
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Bottle gourd is a popular vegetable of the cucurbit family and this vegetable comes in different shapes and available throughout the tropical regions of the world. In Hindi it is known as “lauki” and it is rich in many minerals, vitamins and fiber.  This dish is consumed as a side dish along with any rice based meal or with chapatti, Idly etc.

Cooking Time: 30 minutes


Servings: 3

1.      Bottle gourd : 500 grams (approximate) (Tender one)
2.      Green gram dhal : 60 grams ( 1/3 cup)
3.      Onion:  1 no
4.      G. Chili : 2
5.      Tomato : 1
6.      Cumin Seed : 1 teaspoon
7.      Garlic : 7 cloves
8.      Salt: 1 Teaspoon
9.      Turmeric powder: 0.5 Teaspoon
10.     Curry leaves: 2 Sprigs
11.     Oil : 2 tablespoon
12.     Water : 250 ml

METHOD:  Remove the skin of the tender bottle gourd and dice it along with the soft seeds which are edible.   Chop the onion, tomato, garlic, and g.chili finely and keep aside.  Wash the g.gram dhal in water and cook it in a pan with 250 ml (1 ¼ cup) water and t.powder for 5 mts till the dhal is half done. Add the bottle gourd pieces and half of the chopped ingredients (onion, g.chili, tomato and garlic) and cook   well for another 10 mts.  Heat oil in a skillet and add the cumin seeds, curry leaves and then the remaining chopped onion, tomato green chili and garlic.  Fry the ingredients well and add the cooked vegetable with dhal and allow it to simmer for a few minutes.

Tips:  Half a cup of thick coconut milk can be added to the dish (optional)

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More Kulambu – Buttermilk Curry

More kulambu is a simple curry, easy to make and it is prepared without most of the spices which we normally use in south Indian cooking. This curry is mixed with plain cooked rice and eaten along with other side dishes like potato fry or “pappadam”.

More Kulambu
More Kulambu

Cooking Time:  45 minutes

Servings:   2


  • Butter Milk (sour) : 1 cup or 200 ml
  • Tur Dhal : 1 Teaspoon
  • Raw Rice :  1 Teaspoon
  • Cumin seeds : 0.5 Teaspoon
  • Coconut Gratings : 1 Tablespoon
  • G. Chilli : 2
  • Turmeric  Powder : 0.25 Teaspoon
  • Salt : 0.5 Teaspoon
  • Coconut  Oil : 1 Teaspoon
  • Mustard  Seed : 0.25 Teaspoon
  • Dry Red Chilli : 1
  • Asafoetida:  a pinch
  • Curry leaves : 1 Sprig
  • Ash gourd : 150 grams


Beat the butter milk well and keep. Soak Tur dhal and rice for half an hour and grind to a thick paste with Cumin seeds, g. Chilli and Coconut in a blender and mix with the beaten butter milk. Dice the Ash gourd. Add sufficient water to the ash gourd and cook it well along with salt and turmeric powder for 7 or 8 minutes.  When the ash gourd is cooked and the water is absorbed, add the buttermilk etc to it.  Let it simmer for 5 minutes   over low flame.  Remove the vessel from the stove without allowing the curry to boil over. Heat oil in a skillet and add mustard seeds.  When they splutter, add the asafoetida, red chilli and curry leaves. Season the  curry with this and serve hot.

Moore Kulambu (2)

Tips:  Usual favorite vegetables suitable for this curry are Ash gourd, Lady’s finger, yam and eggplant.

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