Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Garlic, Shallots and Pepper Gravy / Kuzhambu

I still remember the very first time I tasted this Gravy. It was during one of our office group trips to FL, beaches. Four days trip and close to 8 hours drive from Orlando. We started early in the morning at around 5 o clock. Everyone agreed to pack lunch so that we can stop over for lunch during the drive. I prepared chapathi, tomato chutney, veg biryani and brinjal puli Kuzhambu.

A close friend of us packed curd rice and pepper kuzhambu and chips. That was the first time I ever heard of the name pepper kuzhambu / gravy. That Pepper Kuzhambu was super dooper spicy , but it tasted awesome with curd rice. It tasted good with chapathi also. After the trip, I requested recipe from her and I made couple of times during our Disney trips too. This gravy is supposed to have health benefits too, not sure about the details.

Original recipe does not have shallots and garlic. I prefer this gravy with garlic and  shallots. You can skip adding shallots and garlic and follow rest of the recipe for plain pepper kuzhambu.


For Roasting and Grinding

  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sesame Seed Oil
  • 2 Tablespoon Coriander seeds
  • 1 Teaspoon Raw rice
  • 1 Teaspoon Urad Dal
  • 1 Teaspoon Channa Dal
  • 2 Teaspoons Black Pepper
  • 4 Red Chillies
  • 10 Curry Leaves
  • 2 Tablespoon Water 

For the Gravy

  • 3 Tablespoon thick Tamarind pulp or extract  (soak tamarind in hot water for 5 minutes and extract thick pulp)
  • 2 Tablespoon Sesame seed Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon Mustard Seeds
  • 1 Teaspoon Fenugreek Seeds
  • 1 Cup Shallots - peeled and washed
  • 15 Garlic Cloves
  • a big pinch of Hing / Asafoetida
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 Teaspoon Jaggery Powder 


1. Prepare the Spice paste : In a pan, heat 1/2 Teaspoon Oil. Keep the flame to the lowest setting. When oil is hot, add urad dal and channa dal. When the dal changes color, add coriander seeds, black pepper corns, raw rice, red chillies and fry until the rice is puffed up and changes color to light brown. Finally add curry leaves and fry until curry leaves are crispy. Switch off the
 flame and let the mixture cool completely


2. When the mixture is cooled, add it to a spice grinder and grind it to coarse paste along with 2 tablespoon water. Set aside



3. In the pan, heat 2 tablespoon oil. When the oil is hot, add mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds. When they splutter, add shallots and garlic and fry them on low flame for 5 minutes or until shallots change color


4. Add the paste we prepared at step number 2 to the pan and give it a good stir

5. Add tamarind extract to the pan and add about 1/2 Cup water , salt to taste and let the gravy cook for about 8 to 10 minutes


6. Oil gets separated from the gravy and it will start floating on the top when the gravy is done. At this stage , add jaggery and give it a stir and swtich off the flame


7. Cool completely and serve with curd rice / steamed rice / chappathi. This gravy stays good in deep refrigerator for atleast 3 days. If refrigerating, keep it in a airtight container in the super cool zone / milk zone of the refrigerator and use clean dry spoon to the take gravy and return leftover gravy  immediately to fridge

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