Puli kuzhambu

Tamarind – Shallots Chutney (Puli Kuzhambu)

Puli kuzhambu

Over the last few years, we have made some really good friends here in Kansas. Since we all have kids of almost same age, we try to meet often for potluck or get-together. My friend Subhashini makes very delicious Tamil food every time we meet. My food intake usually doubles when I am at her home!. My latest favorite is her tamarind chutney – that’s how she translates it to me. She said the Tamil name for the dish is Puli Kuzhambu (hope I am spelling that right). She serves this with curd rice and the combination is just out of this world. I am sure all curd rice fans there would love this on the side. The ingredient quantities are approximates only, change it according to your taste.

Last week I prepared a big batch of this and refrigerated. One day I served it with pongal – I followed Indira’s pongal recipe with matta rice. I don’t usually add vegetables to pongal because we like it simple and plain. Puli Kuzhambu went great with it. It remains good for a week in refrigerator.

2 cups chopped shallots/sambar onions
3-4 pepper
1 tea spn coriander seeds
1 tea spn cumin seeds
1 tea spn rice
1 tea spn toor dal
4-5 red chillies
1/2 tea spn mustard seeds
1/2 tea spn urad dal
1/2 tea spn fenugreek/methi seeds
4-5 curry leaves
2 tbl spns garlic cut into big pieces
2 tea spns thic tamarind extract or soak one big lemon sized ball of tamarind in water


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Heat a little oil and fry pepper, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, rice, toor dal, red chillies.  Grind to a paste. Now add 1/2 cup of shallots and grind again.
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Heat oil and add mustard seeds. When they pop up, add urad dal, fenugreek seeds, curry leaves. Give it a min. Then add remaining shallots and garlic. Fry for few minutes till shallots turn translucent.
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Now add ground paste, tamarind, hing, salt. Let it cook.
Serve with curd rice.
This remains good for a week in refrigerator.

Serves : 5-6
Preparation time : 20mins

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7 thoughts on “Tamarind – Shallots Chutney (Puli Kuzhambu)”

  1. How much water you soak tamarind in? Where are you getting shallots in usa what brand?
    What brand tamarind you use?

    Does your tamil friend have a blog?

  2. I feel in usa we cant get correct shallot often at farmers market what looks like shallot the farmer says its not shallot but onion.

    How to tell what is correct shallot?

    1. I buy from grocery store where they are marked as shallots. I usually buy sambar onions, small pink ones from Indian store. Use enough water to just soak the tamarind, I usually buy the Tamco tamarind paste. No, my friend does not have a blog.

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