Friday, February 3, 2017

Idi Puli Kuzhambu | Puli Kuzhambu with freshly ground spice

Idi puli Kuzhambu(இடி புளிக்குழம்பு ), a spicy & tangy curry made with freshly ground spice powder. Idi means "pound" and puli kuzhambu means "tangy curry" in tamil, so it roughly means tangy gravy with freshly crushed spices. 

Idi Puli Kulambu and Idi Sambar are the most famous dish among certain families/communities in Tirunelveli District,Tamilnadu and it's really hard to find this recipe outside of that region.

In my childhood days, I had seen my aachi(grandma) use the big mortar & pestle(about 2 feet) to ground the masala for this curry. Though she had ammi(another kitchen tool to grind masala) in the kitchen, she never used that for this kulambu.

She always prefer the ural and  i still remember her words "ural-a idikurathu mathiri varathu"  that means "the texture we got from pounding the spices in mortar & pestle is quite unique and we cannot achieve it from any other kitchen tools''. 

But today i have used mixie to ground spice and still it tastes so good and the fresh aroma of the spices brings the lingering thoughts of my childhood💭.

Related: How to make murugakkai Kara kulambu


Idi Puli Kuzhambu

Preparation Time : 30 mins | Cooking Time : 25 minsServes :
Recipe Category: Curry | Recipe Cuisine: Indian
Idi Puli Kuzhambu, Nellai Puli Kuzhambu, Puli Kuzhambu Idi puli Kuzhambu(இடி புளிக்குழம்பு ), a spicy & tangy curry made with freshly ground spice powder.
Tamarind - a goose berry size
Mixed vegetables - 1 cup
Tomato(small) - 1
Pearl onion -3
Garlic -2
Curry leaves - few
Oil - 1 tbsp
Mustard & urad dal -1/2 tsp

To dry roast & grind
Red chili - 4 to 5
Coriander seed - 2 tsp
Chana dal - 1 tsp
Urad dal - 1 tsp
Cumin seed - 1/2 tsp
Whole peppercorns - 1 tsp
Coconut - 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp
Garlic - 3 
Pearl onion - 3

First soak the tamarind for alteast 1/2 hr. Then measure and take all the ingredients for dry roast.
Heat a pan, add red chili,coriander seed,chana dal,urad dal,cumin seed & peppercorns and roast till nice aroma comes from it and also it slightly changes its color.Remove from the heat and transfer to the plate and let it cool completely.
Then in the same pan, add coconut, garlic and pearl onion and roast till the coconut starts to change its color.Switch off the flame and keep aside. Now chop all the veggies into thin strips.I have used carrot,beans,potato,colocasia,brinjal,broad beans here.Peel the onions & garlic and chop into half and tomato into small pieces.
Heat the sauce pan/kadai with oil, add mustard & urad dal, let the mustard splutter,then add the onions,garlic & curry leaves.Once the onions becomes traslucent, add the veggies(except brinjal and tomato).
Saute the veggies in the oil for 2 mins, then extract the tamarind juice from the soaked tamarind and add into the veggies.Let it comes to boil and then keep the flame in medium and allow the veggies to cook.
Once the veggies is half cooked, add the brinjal & tomato and cook all the veggies till it's becomes soft.
In the mean time, put the roasted ingredients(except coconut,garlic & onions) into mixie/blender jar and grind into smooth powder. Then add the coconut,garlic & onions and grind into a powder.
No need to add water while grinding, the moisture from onions & garlic is enough to make the sticky powder.Now add the spice powder & salt into the veggies.
Give a good mix and then add enough  water and bring into boil.Keep the flame in medium till the oil separates on the top.
That's it finger licking Idi Puli Kulambu is ready.
  • Instead of adding all the veggies,you can make this curry with any one of veggies(like brinjal,drumstick or even with pearl onion alone).
  • If you have drumstick & raw banana, add it, it gives wonderful flavor, as i dont have on the day i prepared,so skip it. 
  • As brinjal is cooked very fast,I added the brinjal once the other veggies are half cooked.
  • If you're using drumstick and raw banana, add it along with brinjal, those are all cooked very fast.
  • My aachi and amma cut the veggies into stripes for this curry, so i do  the same,but you can chop as per your liking.
  • If the tanginess is more in the curry, add a piece of jaggery to balance.


  1. Such a fantastic dish Sandhiya, such traditional dishes makes one fonder remembering the times we must have indulged in this. Very flavoursome and looks so inviting.

  2. I love Puli kuzhambu, I am bookmarking this recipe.

  3. lovely !! can taste the flavours from here :) I had a similar one for this theme, but backed out with other dishes.. beautiful dish there..

    1. Thanks Kalyani..Yep it has so wonderful flavor.

  4. That is such a flavorful dish. Looks yummy!!

  5. looks delicious - a must try for sure!

    1. Thanks Chef,Give a try and let me know your feedback

  6. Very flavorful and inviting bowl.

  7. Fingerlicking puli kuzhambu, lipsmacking here. I can have this kuzhambu anytime.Delicious.

  8. This puli kulambu looks awesome. We never get the flavour of spices while grinding them in mixer. Mortar and pestle are the best, but think we have gone lazy because of all the electrical appliances..

  9. What a flavorful kuzhambu and the traditional method of making them is the best! Love the recipe :)

  10. Looks finger-licking good sandhiya! you wont believe, i read it as idli puli kuzhambu and was wondering, what is that? ha, ha silly me!!
    i make pulikuzhambu like this but never added garlic and onion while grinding, definitely trying this next time!! :)