Parangikai Poondu Kuzhambu, garlic kulambu

Parangikai poondu kuzhambu, is a tangy tamarind gravy, south-indian special, made with yellow pumpkin and garlic.

Garlic kulambu/kuzhambu is a flavorsome, spicy tamarind based gravy. Mear name of it can make our mouths salivate. For those who have tasted it will definitely vouch it.

Like this kulambu we have something called mandi from chettinad cuisine, I love this okra mandi which made eons back. The brinjal kulambu, stuffed with masala and cooked in tamarind gravy, is a killer in terms of taste and aroma.

poondu kuzhambu

Poondu Kuzhambu brings fresh memories to me always. Most of the sundays during my childhood was spent @ my aunt’s place with all my cousins together. My aunt makes awesome poondu kuzhambhu that has that incredible red color, the signature of the kuzhambhu.

Later when i started to cook, i used to wonder why am i not getting that color what she gets?.  Out of curiosity, i asked her one day what do you add extra to get that color, then she told me the secret and Voila, i too get that same color when i make Poondu Kuzhambhu!!!

Here is that recipe which i kept scribbled in my recipe diary that came me with me as a new bride, married to a person, whose family eat, talk, walk and breathe food and to whom there is no such thing as little when it comes to food!

Garlic kulambu

The Ingredients

  • Tamarind, the amount of tamarind depends on the variety of tamarind used.
  • Vegetables, the kulambu can be made with just shallots and garlic. I have used yellow pumpkin which has a sweet taste, and when combined with tangy tamarind and aromatic garlic, tastes out of the world.
  • Spice, i have used my regular sambar powder for the spice.

I still remember the first time i made this kuzhambhu, a week after our marriage  at my in-laws place, my hubby actually asked me keep that last 2 tbsp of kuzhambhu in the fridge for him have with next day.

Parangikai poondu kuzhambu/kulambu

Parangikai poondu kuzhambu, is a tangy tamarind gravy, south-indian special, made with yellow pumpkin and garlic.
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Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian
Keyword: How to make garlic kuzhambu, How to make tamarind gravy, vathakuzhambu
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 1 cup chopped pumpkin
  • ½ a tomato choped
  • 8 cloves garlic peeled
  • 2 tbsp sambhar
  • gooseberry size tamarind
  • salt to taste


  • 2 tbsp gingely oil
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp methi seeds
  • ¼ tsp hing /asafoetida
  • ¼ tsp ajwain seeds carrom seeds
  • a sprig of curry leaf


  • Soak Tamarind in warm water for 20 minutes and extract approximately 3 cups of water. The amount of  tamarind depends upon the variety of tamarind you are using. Some might be very tangy with small amount, some might be otherwise. So soak and extract accordingly. The variety i used is very tangy.
  • Heat oil in a deep pan/Kadai, splutter mustard seeds, add methi seeds/fenugreek seeds, followed by ajwain, hing and curry leaves.Take care not to burn methi and ajwain.
  • Next add garlic and saute till they change color a bit and nice aroma of sauteed garlic emanates.
  • Add chopped pumpkin and chopped tomatoes to this and saute till tomatoes release oil.  Add sambhar powder to this and mix well. (The secret to the color)
  • Saute for 2 minutes, add tamarind water,  and mix well. Let this cook in a medium flame for 10 -15 minutes, after which the pumpkin must be 3/4th cooked, add salt now and mix well.
  • Let this be on the stove until the kuzhambhu thickens and oil releases on top. Take it of the stove. Serve hot with Rice and Pappad for an wholesome meal.


  • If you prefer the kuzhambhu to thicken fast, you can a tbsp of rice flour mixed with 1 or 2 tsp of water and add it to the kuzhambhu after adding salt. 
  • You can substitue Pumpkin with Brinjal/Drumstick or even shallots and garlic alone. 
Garlic gravy

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Tamarind gravy with garlic