Sunday 19 August 2012

Poondu Kulambu | Spicy Garlic Curry | South Indian Garlic Gravy

Poondu Kulambu or Spicy garlic gravy is a very authentic gravy style from South India, it has a lot of versions and is really good for health. Garlic has been known widely for its medicinal properties, it helps in reducing the cholesterol level and thereby helps in proper functioning of heart, helps in relieving indigestion and related problems, has been a cure for toothaches, high blood pressure etc. Those who want to reduce some extra pounds from their weight can have two roasted garlic per day, this is a very handy tip. Never eat raw garlic because they may cause ulcers or sores. When we use garlic in our regular cooking it will benefit our health in various ways. I have discussed another version of garlic gravy / poondu kulambu, previously using homemade vatha kulambu powder (a homemade spice powder, click here for recipe), I have not used coconut paste in that version (click here for recipe). In this version I have used, coconut paste and some freshly ground spices. The aroma and flavor is so good and since I have added tomato while making the masala paste the taste is awesome. Now lets see whats required and how to prepare this spicy poondu kulambu. 


(Serves 3 medium servings; Preparation time - 20 minutes)
  1. Garlic pods - 20 (Medium sized)
  2. Shallots / Pearl onions - 10 
  3. Tomato - 1/2 of a tomato 
  4. Coconut - 1/2 of a coconut (or) 1/2 cup coconut paste
  5. Curry leaves - A handful + Few for tempering the gravy
  6. Tamarind - A medium gooseberry sized
  7. Dry red chilli - 10  
  8. Red chilli powder - 1 spoon 
  9. Coriander powder - 2 spoons 
  10. Cumin seeds - 1.5 spoons 
  11. Peppercorns - 1 spoon 
  12. Fenugreek seeds - 1/2 spoon 
  13. Mustard seeds - 1 spoon + 1/2 spoon + 1/2 spoon 
  14. Asafoetida / Hing - A pinch 
  15. Gingelly oil - 10 spoons + 5 spoons  


  • Soak tamarind in a cup of water and after 20  minutes mash it well with fingers and extract the juice from it. Discard the pulp and set the juice aside. 
  • Peel off the skin form garlic pods and shallots (small onions) and set aside. Do not chop them. 
  • Grind coconut and make a fine paste out of it and set aside. (You must get a small cup of coconut paste that will be enough)
  • Heat a pan and dry roast (i.e. do not add oil) the following ingredients;
(Ingredients to be dry roasted)
1. Dry red chillies - 10
2. Fenugreek seeds - 1/2 spoon
3. Peppercorns -1 spoon 
4. Cumin seeds - 1.5 spoons 
5. Mustard seeds - 1/2 spoon 
  • Grind the following ingredients coarsely, then add some water and make a fine paste out of it;
(Masala paste)
1. All the above dry roasted ingredients 
2. Garlic pods - 5
3. Shallots / Pearl onions - 5 
4. Tomato - 1/2 of a tomato (Optional) 
  • Then heat a saucepan/pot and add 10 spoons of oil to it. (I added more, only then it will taste good) 
  • Now after it heats add 1 spoon of mustard seeds and let it splutter. 
  • Then add curry leaves, shallots, and 2 dry red chillies and saute.
  • Now add the garlic and saute for 2 minutes. 
  • The add the masala paste and stir well, then add coconut paste, red chilli powder, coriander powder, tamarind juice and stir well.
  • Add water to adjust the consistency of the gravy.
  • Let the gravy boil for a while and when oil separates form the gravy and garlic gets cooked well and soft, temper the gravy.
  • For tempering add 5 spoons of oil in a pan and heat it, after it heats up add, asafoetida, 1/2 spoon of mustard seeds, and few curry leaves and saute for a minute. 
  • Then add this tempering mixture into the gravy and stir well, remove from flame.
  • Serve!!

TIP 1: You can add  more shallots (small onions) if you wish it will enhance the taste and flavor. Add them whole do not chop them. 

TIP 2: You can also add some chopped shallots while tempering the gravy.

TIP 3: If you add too much of fenugreek seeds and mustard seeds, the gravy will taste bitter.

Aromatic, authentic and delicious Poondu Kulambu / Spicy garlic gravy is now ready!!! Serve with hot rice and papads / appalams!!
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  1. very thick curry.. taste good with vatral and rice..

  2. wow... my favorite kulambu... i love the garlic very much... usually i picked more garlics from kulambu and have it...

  3. Looks nice and the gravy colour.
    Your clicks are amazing.

  4. nice gravy........i love garlic,so this has to be really tasty.....your pics are superb.

  5. Lovely colorful kulambu looks delicious.

  6. Kulambu looks so authentic and delicious. Love all the pictures....makes me drool:)

  7. Very new to me. Love this gorgeous and flavourful curry.

  8. Tempting and delicious gravy.. Seeing the pictures itself made my mouth water.

    Divya's Culinary Journey

  9. Nice to see garlic as main ingredient of the gravy to the otherwise where its usually used as spice/flavor. So healthy & yumm

  10. one of my most fav dish and this looks yum ! nice pics

  11. Woow curry lokks delicious

  12. wow what a tempting poondu kuzhambu.... my grandma used to prepare it... now missing both of them...

    Event: Dish Name Starts With N till August 31st


  13. Irresistible kuzhambu..Mouthwatering here with loads of medicinal values.

  14. Wow superb pictures.............

  15. Real tasty and tempting dish and clicks as well...

  16. Thank you so much for all your lovely comments friends :)

  17. what a creamy curry!my mouth is full of saliva!thats not fair divya:))

  18. hi divya ,

    today i made this receipe ,we all enjoyed it .it was really good.


    1. Thank you so much Meena for trying my recipes and giving back a feedback too :)

  19. hi, the gravy looks awesome. you used the term 'spoon' everywhere. is it teaspoon or tablespoon?

    1. Hi there :) If I have mentioned as spoon it means a table spoon, if its a tsp measurement I would have mentioned it there.. Hope you are clear now!! Thanks :)

  20. This is the best Poondu Kulambu I've ever made!! My mom is a very big fan of this kulambu! Keep going! :)

    - Ranjani

    1. Thanks Ranjani for trying and for the uplifting comment :) Am so happy to know that your mom loved it!!

  21. I love the new pictures that you have updated .. came to link the page for the recipe post in my blog.


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