Milagu Kuzhambu (Black Pepper and Tamarind Gravy)

Srilatha Indian, Main Dish, Sides, South Indian Leave a Comment

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Milagu Kuzhambu (Black Pepper and Tamarind Gravy)
This is a thick jam-like gravy with a tamarind base, spiced with a mix of roasted powdered pepper and lentils. Perfect over a bed of hot steaming rice, with an accompaniment of vegetables (kootu) or curry.
Course Side dish, Sides
Cuisine Indian, South Indian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 1 lemon-sized tamarind
  • 1 tbsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Turmeric powder
To Roast And Powder
  • 2 tbsp toor dal
  • 2 tbsp black pepper increase or decrease per your heat tolerance
  • 2 red chilies
  • 1 sprig Curry leaves optional, but adds flavor
  • 1 tsp Coriander seeds I don't always use, and can be optional
  • 1 tsp Oil/ghee to roast the spices
To Temper
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil more would be perfect
  • 1/2 tsp Hing
  • 1 tsp Mustard seeds
Course Side dish, Sides
Cuisine Indian, South Indian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
  • 1 lemon-sized tamarind
  • 1 tbsp Salt
  • 1 tsp Turmeric powder
To Roast And Powder
  • 2 tbsp toor dal
  • 2 tbsp black pepper increase or decrease per your heat tolerance
  • 2 red chilies
  • 1 sprig Curry leaves optional, but adds flavor
  • 1 tsp Coriander seeds I don't always use, and can be optional
  • 1 tsp Oil/ghee to roast the spices
To Temper
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil more would be perfect
  • 1/2 tsp Hing
  • 1 tsp Mustard seeds
Instructions
  1. Soak the tamarind in about a cup of warm water, and extract the juice
  2. Heat the tsp of oil/ghee to roast the spices
  3. In this order, add the spices: toor dal, coriander seeds, black pepper, and finally red chilies, and toast.
  4. Add curry leaves at the end, and toast to remove all moisture
  5. Cool the spice mix, and powder coarsely
  6. Heat the 2 tbsp of oil, pop the mustard seeds, and add hing. Add the tamarind extract and cook until the raw smell goes away, about 5-8 minutes
  7. Add the powdered spices, lower the heat, and make sure to break up the lumps formed
  8. I drizzle a bit more sesame oil as the gravy thickens and cook till the oil glazes it
  9. Eat with hot steaming rice, with a side of kootu vegetable gravy) and papad.
Recipe Notes

My mom used to make this gravy on rainy days, and fry vathal/vadam/papads. Spicy in a good way, with the goodness of black pepper. It is supposed to rev up a waning appetite, and cleanse the system. Considered a pathiya food item (special restricted diet). Made for lactating and post-partum moms to help with healing, not sure how it works.

But, this is an amazing gravy and is wonderful on a bed of hot steaming rice. I always make a side of kootu (vegetables blended with a mild spice mix, and cooked with dal) to make a complete meal.

Best Combinations:

  • Milagu kuzhambu, rice, avarakai/chow chow kootu
  • Milagu kuzhambu, rice, vadam, vathal/appalam
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