Authentic Recipes from the Kitchens of Shriya, Nithu & Arthi!

Chettinad Kara Kuzhambu – Chettinad Spicy Curry

It’s been three weeks since my last post. I was busy shopping and packing for my India trip. Now I am having a good time in India with my parents and in laws. I really missed blogging and couldn’t wait any longer.

Coming back to the subject… Kuzhambu is a staple food in many South Indian homes. There are a number of varieties in kuzhambu. The preparation varies based on the type of kuzhambu. Chettinad Kara Kuzhambu is one of my favorite and I have had it many times in my friend’s place whose native is Karaikudi, Tamilnadu. My friend gave me the recipe and here I am sharing it with you. Enjoy this dish with rice or idly/dosa.

kk ingre

Preparation time: 40 minutes

No. of servings: 5

Spice level: 4 out of 5


  • Shallots – 2 cups
  • Tomatoes – 2
  • Ginger Garlic paste – 2 tbsp
  • Green chilies – 3
  • Sesame oil – 4 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds –  1tsp
  • Curry leaves – a small bunch or 10 to 15 leaves
  • Red chili powder – 1 tsp
  • Garam masala – 1/2 tsp
  • Sambar powder – 2 tbsp
  • Coriander powder – 1 tsp
  • Shredded coconut – 1/4 cup
  • Fennel seeds – 1 tsp
  • Poppy seeds – 1 tbsp
  • Tamarind water –  2 cups

Method of Preparation:

  1. Soak shallots in water for 10 minutes and remove the skin and cut both the ends.
  2. Cut the shallots into half.
  3. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a deep bottomed thick pan.
  4. Add cumin seeds, curry leaves, shallots and slit green chilies. Fry till shallots are translucent.
  5. Add ginger garlic paste and fry for a couple of minutes and then add chopped tomatoes.
  6. Keep frying till tomatoes are cooked and mashed.
  7. Add red chili powder, sambar powder, garam masala and salt.
  8. Mix well, add 1 to 1 1/2 cups of water and let it come to a boil and leave it for 5 minutes.
  9. Make a paste by grinding coconut, fennel seeds, poppy seeds and coriander powder in a mixer grinder by adding a little water.
  10. In another cup of hot water add a small lemon size of tamarind, let it sit for sometime and extract the juice.
  11. Add this juice to the boiling mixture in the pan and let everything cook and become a thick gravy.
  12. Now add the ground paste and  let it cook for 5 to 8 minutes at medium heat.
  13. Finally add the remaining 2 tbsp of oil and leave it for a minute and turn off the stove.
  14. Kara Kuzhambu is ready. Serve hot with rice and potato fry.

kara kuzhambu


  1. Kara Kuzhambu looks spicy and yummy. Nice one.

  2. Glad to know U are having great time there Nithu! 😉

    That kuzhambu looks soooo mouthwatering! Am just drooling over! 🙂

  3. Wow! The kuzhambhu is really hot and spicy! Looks tempting!

  4. i love chettinad based gravy as it will be so spicy and delicious…

  5. Yumy droolie curry, looks so so delcious.

  6. Love the look of this gravy. Have a good time in India.

  7. Hi there, glad i’m back to food blogging and to visit your lovely space. Love the way you have used your ingredients.

  8. Oh yum, would love with fresh steamed rice!

  9. looks absolutely delish

  10. Thank u so much nisha. I tried tis gravy it was awesome …

  11. Wanting to try this for long looks so gud n spicy

  12. The recipe looks very good. I have a question. Can you please recommend a substitute for shallots.


    • Hi Radha, You can use diced red onions or yellow onions instead of shallots. Thanks for stopping by.

  13. Looks spicy and perfect curry.

  14. Hi Nithu,
    I tried many of your dishes & today i tried Chettinad Kara Kuzhambu by adding Okra and it came very well. My husband liked very much. Could you please post Andhra Kara Kuzhambu, Andhra Vatha Kuzhambu and Kuruma’s for chappathi.


    • Hi Poorni, Glad to see your lovely comments. Soon will post the recipes you asked for.

      Thank you all of you for your valuable comments.

  15. literally a mouth Watering Dish…..

  16. Hi Nithu, I tried your chettinad karakuzhambu.Wow! delicious. Thanks for your spicy, mouth watering recipe.

  17. Hi Nithu,
    Thanks for the “Chettinad Kara Kuzhambu” recepie. I am gone try it today! I love cooking and i want to try this out as it is making my mouth watery

  18. tried it for the very first time today.. excellent.. thanks for the recipe..

  19. Thanks for your wonderful comments.

  20. my wife used to prepare this item and i love it. Now she went to india for vacation but i want to taste this.. so i simply followed mentioned steps and it came out awesome…


  21. Hi Nithu,
    U mentioned curry leaves a bunch but I m confused regarding quantity.pls cllarify how many grams should I take.reply soon b,coz u always reply my quaries after 2 or 3 weeks and sometimes u donot reply at all.

    • Hey Parul, generally I don’t take so long to reply as u said. Anyways, sorry for the inconvenience. Generally I don’t measure the amount of curry leaves in gram, so u can add a string of curry leaves. To be more precise, add 10 to 15 leaves. Hope this clarifies ur doubt.

  22. good dish but can u add any vegetable to this like egg plant etc or will it become a different dish all together

  23. Thanks Lakshmi.

    Hi Ashok, u can add eggplant and as u said taste may differ.

  24. hi, the kuzhambu looks so delicious. I am trying the same now but using brjnjal. Shall let you know how it comes out.

  25. HI nithu
    As my mom went out ,
    This is the first time am trying to do my dish. it came out very well. Thanks a lot…………… ur karakulambu:):):):)

  26. Thanks Harini and Hema.

  27. It really came out well and it was damn good, thank u….

    • Thanks for your comments Ayisha.

  28. I tried this …it came out verywell…thanks a lot….

  29. when to add the green chilli? and have u added dried red chillies aswell?

  30. Thanks Shri.

    Hi Jag,

    You can add the green chilies along with onions. I have not added any red chilies.

  31. Thanks for sharing this. I tried it out last night and came out really well. Wonderful presentation.

  32. Hi,

    My wife wanted me to cook Kara kuzlumbu and gave me this recipe, I added oakra and this came out really well. We had a great food together. Thanks for the recipe.


  1. Chettinad Recipes – Kaara Kuzhambu (Spicy Tamarind Soup) and Urulai (Potato) Roast « Roz Ka Khana - [...] that the whole family ended up in the kitchen. Amma didn’t find her recipe but we did find this…
  2. Chettinad Recipes – Kaara Kuzhambu (Spicy Tamarind Soup) and Urulai (Potato) Roast | The Mindful Veggie - […] that the whole family ended up in the kitchen. Amma didn’t find her recipe but we did find this…