Thakkali Kuzhambu | Tomato Kuzhambu

March 19, 2022

This Thakkali Kuzhambu is the stuff of tangy dreams. It starts with the usual suspects – onion, garlic, tomato but the special step is in the ‘powder’ which has a mix of lentils, spices, and ‘mustard’ for flavour. It is the tastiest one I’ve ever made so far. The recipe itself is a little more ‘complex’ than a simple tomato kuzhambu, but the extra steps are completely worth it.

Thakkali Kuzhambu goes well with rice, millets, and also with any tiffin item like idli, dosa, and idiyappam. If serving with rice, I recommend a non-spicy, non-tangy side dish like a kootu. It balances all the spices and is delicious, like my meal here.

Thakkali Kuzhambu

Flavourful, spicy and tangy thakkali kuzhambu with a freshly made podi that has mustard, lentils and spices. Must try recipe!
Course Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Keyword kuzhambu, thakkali kuzhambu, tomato
Prep Time 30 minutes
Servings 4


To dry roast and grind

  • ½ tsp rice
  • ½ tsp toor dal
  • ½ tsp urad dal
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp 1fenugreek

For making kuzhambu

  • 3 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 2 dry red chillies
  • 6-8 curry leaves
  • 8-10 shallots or 1 medium sized onion, sliced thick
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 3 finely chopped tomatoes about 1.5 cups
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste or 2tsp tamarind soaked in 1/2 cup water
  • 2 cups hot water including the tamarind water if using
  • 1 tsp salt


  • Roast all ingredients mentioned for spice powder on a low flame. The mustard will pop, rice will turn golden brown. No oil is needed. Grind to a fine powder and keep aside.
  • To a kadai, add sesame oil. Add the mustard, red chillies and curry leaves. Then, add the shallots, garlic cloves. Cook until shallots turn translucent.
  • Add chopped tomatoes and salt. Let the tomatoes cook completely.
  • Add spices -chilli powder and coriander powder. Mix well and let it cook. At this stage, the oil begins to seperate.
  • Add 1.5 to 2 cups hot water and 1 tsp tamarind paste (if using raw tamarind, soak about raw tamarind and add as tamarind water). Check for salt and add if required. Let the tamarind and tomatoes cook together for 3-4 minutes. 
  • If tomatoes are really tangy, then the tamarind can be even reduced but I felt this was right. I used regular truss tomatoes – not tangy ones.
  • Finally add the powder made and let it simmer in a low flame for only 2-3 minutes. The gravy will slightly thicken and oil will float on the top.
  • This is so tasty with rice/millets but also is delicious with dosai. It can be kept for 3-4 days in fridge. The flavour of mustard, pepper and coriander goes so well with a tangy kuzhambu!

Here’s how I had the Thakkali Kuzhambu with some carrot kootu!

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