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Chettinad Kara Kulambu Recipe

Chettinad Kara Kulambu with drumsticks and brinjals to serve with rice for lunch.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Course Main
Cuisine South Indian
Servings 4


  • Brinjal – 4
  • Drumstick – 1
  • Black Eyed Peas or Karamani - 1/4 cup
  • Sambar onion or Shallots - 10 to 15
  • Garlic – 8 to 10 pods
  • Tamarind – small lemon size
  • Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Sambar powder – 1 tsp levelled
  • Red chili powder – 1 tsp heaped
  • Coriander powder – 2 tsp heaped
  • Curry leaf – 1 sprig
  • Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
  • Whole Black pepper corns – 4
  • Salt – to taste
  • Sesame oil – 3 tbsp

To be ground to a paste:

  • Grated fresh coconut – 1/4 cup
  • Fennel seeds – 1 tsp
  • Poppy seeds or Khus-Khus - 1/2 tsp
  • Cashew nuts – 5



  • Soak tamarind in ½ cup hot water for 15 mins. Extract pulp and keep aside.
  • Soak poppy seeds (khus-khus) and cashew nuts in 3 tbsp hot water and keep aside.
  • Slit brinjals length wise and keep it immersed in water.
  • Cut the drumsticks into finger length size. Peel the skin of the sambar onions and garlic and keep it ready.

How to make Chettinad Kaara Kulambu:

  • Heat a pan with oil. Add the mustard seeds, when they splutter add the cumin seeds and pepper corn and roast for 3 sec.
  • Add the sambar onions (shallots), garlic and sauté till the onions turn pink.
  • Add brinjals, drumstick and sauté well so that they are all coated with oil.
  • Close with a lid and let them all in cook in their own steam and oil for 2-3 min.
  • Mix in between once. By now the vegetables would have been 3/4th done.
  • Now add sambar powder, red chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder and sauté over low flame for 1 minute.
  • Take care not to burn the spice powders. Add tamarind extract and mix well.
  • Add boiled black eyed peas (karamani), curry leaf, salt and 1/4 cup of water and mix well. Let it come to a boil.
  • Close with a lid and let it cook for 4-5 mins over medium flame or till the vegetables are fully cooked and done.
  • In a mixie jar, add the soaked poppy seeds and cashew nuts with water, add grated coconut, fennel seeds and grind to a smooth paste.
  • Add the ground paste to the pan and mix well. If the mixture is thick add upto 1/4 cup water to adjust the thickness.
  • Let it cook for 2-3 mins. Chettinad Kara Kulambu is ready. Take the pan off the stove.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with steaming hot rice mixed with a dash of ghee.


Using sesame or gingelly oil gives authentic taste and flavor. Use any vegetable oil if you do not like its flavor.