Thursday, December 1, 2016

Vatha Kuzhambu | Sunda Vathal Kulambu | Dried Turkey Berries Curry

Vatha Kulambu , a spicy & tangy gravy made with dried turkey berries along with roasted and grounded spices. Vatha Kulambu is one of our family favorites. In this recipe, i have used roasted and grounded paste of dried turkey berries, but i have seen people use the sunda vathal as whole and make the vathal kuzhambu. 

But this is how amma always makes vatha kulambu at our home.  Even though this curry is a bit spicy, I love eating it while growing up and after marriage, I've been also following the same recipe for years now without any change. It helps to improve digestion and cure upset stomach, so at least once in two weeks we used to make this vatha kuzhambu at home.

Related: Poondu/Garlic Kuzhambu

Usually dried mango pieces (maa vathal) are also added in this curry.  If you have it in stock, then i highly recommend to use it and reduce the amount of tamarind. But I don't have it here in the US, so skip it. 

In south tamilnadu marriage's feast, while preparing vathal kuzhambu, onion vadams are fried &  crumbled onion vadagam are added into vatha kulambu when it's about ready. It gives such a  dark brown color  and wonderful aroma to the curry, besides it also thickens the curry.  Therefore, if you have that also, you can use the way to recreate marriage feast style vatha kuzhambu. 

What's Sunda Vathal ? 

Sundal vathal is dried & salted turkey berries. It's mildly bitter. In Tamilnadu, it's widely used to make this vatha kuzhambu. It cures mild stomach ailments due to indigestion. So, in our home, we make this atleast once in two weeks.

Where to get Sunda Vathal ?  

Nowadays, you can find the sunda vathal in almost all Indian stores across the world.  Check below picture for reference 

Caution for Salt 

Depends on the brands of sundal vathal, some are salted extremely, so don't add salt in the beginning of making this curry. Give a taste test at the end and then add the salt. 
Now let's see how to make vatha kuzhambu.

    Rice with sunda vatha kuzhambu,paruppu,beans poriyal,appalam and vadagam

Vatha Kuzhambu

Preparation Time : 30 mins | Cooking Time : 25 minsServes :
Recipe Category: Curry | Recipe Cuisine: Indian
Sunda vatha kuzhambu,vatha kulambu, Vatha Kuzhambu,Sunda Vathal Kulambu,Vatha Kuzhambu Vatha Kulambu, a spicy & tangy gravy made with dried turkey berries along with roasted and grounded spices.
Pearl onion - 4
Tomato - 1(small) 
Tamarind - a small lemon size
Garlic - 2 
Salt - to taste
Sesame Oil - 1 tbsp
Curry leaves - few
Mustard - 1/2 tsp

To roast & grind
Sunda Vathal(Dried Turkey berries) - 15
Red chili powder - 1/2 tsp
Sambar Powder - 1/2 tsp
Grated Coconut - 1/3 cup tightly packed
Pearl onion - 4
Garlic - 2 pods
Oil - 1/4 tsp

Heat a kadai with 1/4 tsp of oil, add the sunda vathal and roast it till it becomes dark. Keep it aside,in the same kadai, and the peeled pearl onion and garlic.Roast it till brown spots appears on the top and remove it from the pan. In the same kadai, add the coconut and roast till the color starts to change. Remove it from the pan and switch off the heat.Add the red chili powder and sambar powder and roast it in the heated kadai and set aside.The heat from the kadai is enough to roast the powder,no need to put it on heat.Let allow all the ingredients to cool completely.
Soak the tamarind for 30 mins. For the gravy, peel the onions & garlic and cut them and tomato into small pieces. Heat the kadai with oil.
Add the mustard, let it splutter, then add the onions, garlic & curry leaves, roast till the onions becomes translucent and then add the tomato, saute till the tomato becomes soft.In the mean time, put the roasted sundal vathal,onion and garlic into mixie jar and pulse it once,then add the coconut & spice powders along with enough water and grind into smooth paste.Extract the tamarind juice from the soaked tamarind and then add the sundal vathal paste into it and enough salt,mix it well.Once the tomato becomes soft,add it into the kadai.Let it comes to boil, then keep the flame in medium and cook till the oil separates on the top.Tasty & spicy vatha kulambu is ready to serve. Serve it with rice and your favorite side dish. We had it with spinach kootu and avarakkai poriyal. For more veggies and side dish, check out here 
  • Don't use more than the mentioned quantity of sunda vathal, then the kulambu will become more bitter.
  • Roasting red chili & sambar powder gives the same taste as of roasting & grinding whole spices.
  • As grinding small amount of red chili and sambar spices is difficult, Amma suggest this method of roasting the powder, it almost gives the same flavor as of grinding whole spices.
  • This Kulambu stays well in room temperature for 2 days and 2 days more in refrigerator.
  • If you plan to store for more than 2 days, use little extra oil,so once you prepared the gravy, the oil should be floats on the top, that way you can store up to 5 days.


  1. Nice recipe, Sandhiya. Looks very spicy and tasty. Perfect for winters, I believe.