Gravy, Sides

Dhaniya Kuzhambu Mini Thali from my grandmom’s kitchen | How to make Dhaniya Kuzhambu

Everyone who’s into cooking has a muse. Mine is my maternal grandmom (affectionately called Paati). Like most grandmoms she was a treasure trove of recipes, and more importantly tips and tricks to get the best dish out with the least time and resources. 

Sadly, I didn’t have the foresight to record all her recipes (and bhakshanams / snacks) that were generously doled out. But certain recipes like today’s are meant more for memories than the food itself. 

I have re-created various recipes of our heirloom kitchen like:

… and many more.. 



Well, why am I harping about these recipes today ? 

Well, its #DownMemoryLane where we record recipes associated with fond memories.. So, this again is from my family’s kitchen. 

This is made mostly on those days where there is no thaan (veggie) that’s left to add in the kozhambu / sambhar, but gives a peppery-spicy kick and tastes better as it ages. Paati used to make it the previous day and it tasted yummy the next day. I have a presented how to make it here, and made a small Thali (all satvik) .. just the way she would have loved it..


If you are a fan of Kuzhambus like my pati was, check out more varieties at the end of this post. 


Prep time – 15 mins, Cook time – 15 mins ; Serves – 4

                                                          PIN THIS RECIPE HERE !! 



For the spice powder (paste):

Dhaniya / Dry coriander seeds – 1.5 TBSP

Dry Red chillies –  4~5 nos

Urad dal – 1/2 T

Pepper Corns – 1/2 tsp (adjust spice)

Jeera/ Cumin – 1/2 tsp

Raw rice – 1/2 T

Other ingredients:

1 medium lemon sized  Tamarind soaked in 1.5 cups of hot water and extract ready

Salt – to taste

Turmeric – 1/4 tsp

Hing – a generous pinch

Sesame / Gingelly oil – 3 TBSP


Sesame oil – 1/4 tsp

Mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp

Curry leaves


How to:

In a pan, dry roast all ingredients of the spice powder one by one, cool and grind to a slightly coarse powder. Add the softened tamarind to this powder and make to a smooth paste. Retain the tamarind water. 

In a thick bottomed iron kadai (or any deep, thick pan), heat the sesame oil, add the paste and salt and the leftover tamarind water and  let it simmer on a medium flame for 10~15 mins till the raw smell disappears, the kuzhambu thickens quite a bit and oil separates. It thickens further on sitting for 4-6 hours.  

Now make the tempering  with the ingredients, and pour to the kuzhambu. 

Serve with hot rice and papad. 

In this satvik mini (GF and Vegan meal too) , I have served this Kuzhambu with :

  • Avarekai Poriyal (flatbeans stir fry)
  • Chutta Kollu Appalam (roasted horsegram Papad)
  • Tomato Rasam
  • Steamed rice
  • Sepankuzhangu Roast (Arbi / Colocasia spicy saute) 
  • steamed lentil cakes

Similar Kuzhambus (vegam ,GF  & satvik (mostly) tangy spicy gravies) from my kitchen are:

Arichuvitta VathaKuzhambu

Urundai Kuzhambu


Vendhaya Kuzhambu (Methi seeds based gravy)


Chinna Vengaya Kara Kuzhambu (Pearl onion in Spicy tangy gravy- Chettinad style)


Manithakkali Kuzhambu (black night shade in tamarind gravy)


Karivepallai Milagu Kuzhambu (Curry leaves-black pepper in tangy spicy gravy)


Sakkaravalli Puli Kuzhambu (Sweet potato in tangy gravy)




  1. While I have heard about the fabulous dhania kuzhambu that my grandmom used to make, I have never had a chance to taste it. Your version looks so delish – I'm sure I'll be trying this out pretty soon. 🙂

  2. Kuzhambu sounds delicious. Never tasted but your pictures tempted me to try. Lovely share.

  3. Vidya Narayan

    The whole Thali is irrestible and what a muse with a vast collection! I wish my paati was alive today, would have had a treasure house of recipes on blog too. They cook with so much passion and turn the everyday basic stuff into something so delicious.

  4. I too wished that I my dadi and nani were alive today.. they were the treasure of recipes!!I am tempted with the pic of bowl of kuzhambu with rice,looks so comforting. a simple, rustic treat for everyday meal!!

  5. Kuzhambu is a new territory for me. The taste must be amazing especially when made by grandmas. Tell me do you use iron pan with tamarind. I was told to avoid it.

  6. Mayuri Patel

    Kalyani you've got an impressive list of heirloom recipes. Kuzhambu is new to me but it definitely sounds delicious with all the spices and I love the aroma and earthy taste of dry coriander.

  7. Love this Dhaniya flavored Kuzhambu   so simple satvik share !!! ALong with steamed rice, this must be a lovely combo

  8. Wow! 'Malli kuzhambu, beans poriyal, sutta appalam! What a combination! Lovely recipe, so easy to follow. I don't usually add the tamarind pulp after extracting the water, to the spice podi, and it sounds a good idea as it would add depth to the flavours. Sujata Shukla from PepperOnPizza

  9. mildly indian

    My initiation into the kitchen is also through my grandmom, like you a lot of them need documentation. I do miss the taste as those are the yardstick I want to keep up to.

  10. Poonam Bachhav

    This is a new recipe to me but I am sure it is aromatic and delish. Can imagine the flavors of freshly prepared spice powder in the curry.

  11. I have never made malli kuzhambu kalyani. And kollu appalam? Enga kadaikum? Indha kuzhambu will go well with nalla thair saadam too. Vatha kuzhambu maadri. Good that you remember some recipes of your grand mom.

  12. Suma Gandlur

    Nostalgia is hitting me hard after reading your post. Whenever my mother talks about her mother's recipes which she can not replicate or the ones with recipes forgotten, I keep asking her why could not she have recorded those recipes. My mother is quite amused, after these kind of conversations.

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