Onion Vetta Kuzhambu (Onion Garlic Kuzhambu)

This quickest to make; an alternative to the traditional main South Indian dish sambar is a delight to the tummy.

Starting to get acquainted with the fact that I am going to be entering a South Indian Family soon, I have this urge to learn all things Tamilian (especially food) so that I can keep Mister happy and gushing with appreciation all the time. As selfish as my needs might sound right now, this dish will completely turn you into a super selfish foodie when it’s done. With hints of tamarind and oodles of sambar masala along with ghee and a homemade roasted dry masala; this side dish is the best in case you are in a hurry or don’t really have a lot of vegetables available.

It was Thursday and I wanted to have something real quick and I wasn’t really feeling like hogging on 2-minute noodles. Hence, I chopped 3 medium-sized red onions, roasted a couple of whole Indian spices, soaked tamarind in hot water for the tangy pulp and kept my sambar masala ready.

FUN FACT: Kuzhambu is basically a gravy that is based on a broth made with tamarind, toor or urad dal, and includes vegetables. As I made Onion Vetta Kuzhambu, I did not add dal to it!

Onion Vetta Kuzhambu (Onion Garlic Kuzhambu)

A Tamilian side dish that can be eaten with rice, has a twist of tanginess along with the hints of ghee. 

Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Indian, South Indian
Keyword rice, Sambar, side dish, South Indian, tamarind
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 people
Calories 240 kcal


For the curry:

  • 3 Medium Sized Red Onion (Baby chopped)
  • 1 handful Tamarind
  • 1 tbsp Cooking Oil (I used sunflower oil)
  • 1 tsp Mustard Seeds
  • 5-6 leaves Curry Leaves
  • 3 tbsp Sambar Powder
  • Salt as per taste
  • 2 tbsp Ghee
  • 3 cloves Garlic

For the dry roast spice mix:

  • 1 tbsp Jeera (cumin seeds)
  • 1 tbsp Coriander Seeds
  • 1/2 tbsp Methi Seeds
  • 3 Dry Red Chillies


For the dry roast powder:

  1. Take a pan, dry roast all the spices given in the Dry Roast Powder Ingredient Section till they are almost brown. (They will give a beautiful aroma once done.) let them cool and then grind them to a fine powder.  

For the curry:

  1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan and add mustard seeds, curry leave and garlic to it. Let them splutter and cook the garlic till it's golden brown (don't burn them.)

  2. Add the onions to it along with salt and let the onion turn pink and pretty. 

  3. After the onions turn pink, add the sambar masala and cook it for 2 minutes. At this stage, add 1 tbsp of oil and let the onions cook properly along with the masala. 

  4. Now add ghee and savor the beautiful smell that will make everyone at home go crazy. My dad was literally waiting with a plate beside. 

  5. Add the tamarind pulp now (the one you soaked and extracted.)

    Make sure you add another cup of water along with the tamarind.  

  6. Now add the spice mix that you created by roasting the spices and get ready to let yourself get lost in the beautiful aroma. Yummy!!

  7. At this stage, let it all boil and in case you want the gravy to be thick, mix a tbsp of rice flour with water and add. 

  8. Let the entire curry boil for 10 minutes in order to cook the tamarind and the rice flour mixture (in case you add it.)

  9. Serve hot with steamed rice and potato bhaji. You can even serve papadam along with it. 

Recipe Notes

  • Make sure you extract the juice from tamarind and not the paste. The juice adds more flavor to the recipe.
  • You can add vegetables to it too, in case you want to. 
  • In case you like it a little sweet, add a bit of jaggery in the end.  

A Millennial Wife, Home Chef, and a Work at Home Writer.

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