Feb 2, 2011

Chettinad Thakkali Kuzhambu / Chettinad tomato curry

I still remember amma serving hot, hot dosas along with freshly made coconut chutney and this spicy, tangy tomato curry for breakfast even on busy weekdays, when all three of us were running around getting ready to school. Gone are those days when we used to have a proper South Indian breakfast every morning. Those breakfasts have been replaced by quick cereals, oatmeal and toasts. Though we have quick and healthy options for breakfast now, I still crave for these delicious South Indian breakfasts and make it a point to make them once in a while. I made this last weekend along with crispy dosas. They taste great along with idlies and also with rice when made in a thicker consistency. You can also check out my other version of thakkali kuzhambu - here

Chettinad cuisine is one of the spiciest and the most aromatic in India. Chettinad cuisine is famous for its use of a variety of spices. The dishes are hot and pungent with fresh ground masalas. They also use a variety of sun dried meats and salted vegetables, reflecting the dry environment of the region. This chettinad thakkali kuzhambu is one such curry made with ripe tomatoes with a hint of coconut.

Ripe, medium sized tomatoes - 4
Medium sized onions - 2
Green Chillies -  4
Curry Leaves - 1 sprig
Tarmarind Extract - 1/4 cup
Turmeric Powder - 1 teaspoon
Pepper Powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Jaggary / Brown sugar - 1/2 teaspoon (optional)
Oil - 2 spoons

Ingredients to be ground into a coarse paste:
Grated fresh coconut - 2 tablespoons
Khus khus/Poppy Seeds - 2 teaspoons
Dried Red chillies - 4
Ginger - 1/2 inch
Jeera/Cumin seeds - 1 teaspoon

In a kadai/saucepan, add one spoon of oil and add all the ingredients to be ground. Saute on medium heat. Take care it doesn't burn. Grind it into a coarse paste.

Blanch the tomatoes and remove the skin. You could do this using a microwave.

Chop the onions lengthwise. Slit the green chillies vertically.

In a saucepan, add the remaining oil and saute the onions, green chillies and curry leaves until the onions turn translucent. Add the ground masala and fry for about two minutes until the raw flavor goes away.

Add the blanched and peeled tomatoes. Cook for two more minutes until the tomatoes get well cooked. Add the tamarind extract, salt and jaggary if using and bring it to a boil. Simmer for about 5 minutes until it reaches the required consistency.

Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with idlies or dosas.


  1. That looks so tempting Divya. Love the colors and the ingredients going in there.

  2. Yummy! This looks different than normally I prepare. Never tried Chettinad, I will definitely give it a try.

  3. With hot idlies i can have this kuzhambu everyday, delicious gravy..

  4. super..I always love chettinad version...

  5. Chettinadu thakkali kuzhanbu looks yummy and will be a great combo with dosas and idlis...Looks awesome Divya...

  6. My fav. kuzhambu ..would love to have this with hot idlis too...

  7. wow, looks perfect and so mouth watering.

  8. great accompaniment for idlis.. Looks super delicious..

  9. Oh that looks great - one of my favorite accompaniments to idli/dosa

  10. I am so like u.. i crave for the south indian breakfast but feel very lazy :)
    this is a wonderful combination of spices.. yum :)

  11. Looks Yum Divya. I've never had this with dosas or idlis. A definite try for me.

  12. Mouthwatering tomato curry,one of my favs with dosa and idlis too.

  13. Perfect with idlis..spicy n satisfying!

  14. Tomato curry looks so delicious and lavish. Would love to relish the taste of it.

    Hamaree Rasoi

  15. Wow this is amazing dear! am going to try this...

  16. Looks like a perfect combo with dosas!!

  17. This one looks delish!I have never tried chettinad.. but this one makes me want to taste it !

  18. lovely coulour n texture---looks yummm !

  19. Yummm..I love chettinad cuisine..I have never tried out this kind of curry before & looks damn interesting!!

  20. yummy looking curry.. love its rich red color..

  21. I hav emade tomato kuzhambu only once and i love it a lot,some how not in routine menu,your recipe sounds great,shall try sometime!

  22. That is great side dish for idlis!

  23. the name chettinad itself makes the recipe so special :)very simple and nice!

  24. Love this recipe! A perfect curry (soup) for a chilly and endless winter :)


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