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Chettinad Thakkali Kulambu Recipe

Chettinad Thakkali Kulambu recipe with step by step photos to serve with rice for lunch.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Main
Cuisine: South Indian
Servings: 4
Author: Radhika


  • Ripe Tomatoes – 4 medium
  • Garlic – 8 pods
  • Cinnamon – 1 inch stick
  • Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Tamarind extract – 1/2 cup
  • Curry leaves – 1 sprig
  • Coriander leaves – 3 tbsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Oil – 2 tbsp

For Coconut Paste:

  • Fresh grated coconut – 1/4 cup
  • Fennel seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander powder – 1 tsp
  • Red chili powder – 2 tsp
  • Cashew nuts – 8 to 10

For Onion Paste:

  • Sambar onions or Shallots - 15 nos
  • Oil - 2 tsp


Make coconut paste:

  • Grind the ingredients mentioned under 'For coconut paste' list to a smooth paste using little water, transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Make onion paste:

  • Heat 2 tsp of oil in a wide pan. Add the sambar onions (shallots) and sauté till they become brown taking care not to burn them.
  • Keep aside to cool. Transfer to a mixie jar. Grind to a smooth paste without adding water and set aside.

How to make Chettinad Thakkali Kulambu:

  • Heat 2 tbsp oil in the same pan. Season with cumin seeds and cinnamon.
  • When the aroma arises, add very finely chopped garlic pods and sauté till they change color or almost roasted.
  • Add the ground coconut paste and sauté for 3-4 mins till the aroma arises over medium flame.
  • Add the onion paste and sauté for another 2 mins.
  • Add finely chopped tomatoes and salt and cook over medium flame till the tomatoes become mushy.
  • Add tamarind extract, mix well, close with a lid and let it cook for 7-10 mins over medium low flame.
  • Add little water if you find the kulambu a bit thick. Mix in between to avoid sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • Finally add Coriander leaves, Curry leaves, mix well and take off flame.
  • Keep the pan closed with a lid for another 2-3 mins for the flavor of the leaves to get imbibed.
  • Chettinad Thakkali Kulambu is ready.
  • Serve hot with rice with a generous dollop of ghee.