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Pavakkai puli kulambu recipe – How to make Pavakkai Puli Kuzhambu

South Indian Pavakkai Puli Kulambu that's served with rice.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main
Cuisine: South Indian
Servings: 3 -4 servings
Author: Radhika


  • Pavakkai or bittergoud - 1
  • Sambar onions or shallots - 15
  • Tamarind – 1 big lemon size
  • Vengaya kari vadagam – 1 tsp
  • Channa dal – 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Sambar powder – 2 tsp
  • Red chili powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Jaggery - 1/2 tsp grated
  • Salt – to taste
  • Sesame Oil – 2 tbsp


  • Soak tamarind in warm water. Extract the pulp and keep aside.
  • Slit the pavakkai into 2 and take out the seeds from the middle. Chop each part into thin slices.
  • Chop the sambar onions finely.
  • Heat a pan with oil. Add vengaya kari vadagam and channa dal for tempering.
  • Add sambar onion and sauté till they turn translucent.
  • Add the pavakkai slices and simmer the flame completely.
  • Cook for 4-5 minutes turning them often till they shrink in size and shrivel considerably.
  • Add tamarind pulp, turmeric powder, more water if needed to the consistency you prefer and bring it to a boil.
  • Add sambar powder, red chili powder and salt. Mix well, close with a lid and cook over low flame for 4-5 minutes.
  • Add jaggery, mix and switch off the stove.
  • Pavakkai Puli Kulambu is ready.
  • Drizzle 1-2 tsp of sesame oil on top and close the pan tightly with a lid (this step is optional) and let the kulambu sit for another 5 mins for the flavors to merge well.
  • Serve with hot rice and any side dish of your choice.


Using sesame oil gives an authentic taste. If you do not like the flavor use any vegetable oil.