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February 18, 2019

Tirunelveli style Puli Illa Kari – Puli Illa Kuzhambu Recipe – Kuzhambu Without Tamarind

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Puli illa kari
This is mom’s Tirunelveli style puli illa kari ( i.e. Kuzhambu for rice without tamarind). Puli illa curry is usually prepared adding drumstick leaves (Murungai keerai). But my mom makes it with drumstick, brinjal and onion. There are two methods of making puli illa kari. 

One by roasting & grinding pepper, cumin, red chilli and coconut. Another method is by grinding coconut, cumin and onion just like poricha kuzhambu. My mom uses pepper if she adds drumstick leaves else she follows the second method. 

Today I have shared the same. Similarly this kuzhambu can be prepared with toor dal or moong dal. As this kuzhambu is without tamarind and tomato, we add some lemon juice while serving. Friends, do try this easy puli illa kuhambu for rice and share your feedback with me.

Check out my other Tirunelveli style recipes below :

Idi sambar for rice

Puli kulambu

Avial recipe

Sodhi and inji pachadi

Idli sambar

Collection of all Tirunelveli style recipes !

Puli illa kuzhambu

Puli illa kari - Kuzhambu without tamarind

Puli illa kari - Kuzhambu without tamarind

Puli illa kari - Kuzhambu without tamarind for rice

Cuisine: Tamil nadu
Category: Side dish
Serves: 3
Prep time: 10 Minutes
Cook time: 20 Minutes
Total time: 30 Minutes


  • Toor dal – 1/4 cup
  • Water - 1 cup for pressure cooking dal
  • Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Cooking oil - Few drops for dal
  • Brinjal – 3 (chop vertically)
  • Drumstick – 1 (chop into small finger size)
  • Small onion – 12
  • Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
  • Water – 2 to 2.5 cups (for cooking vegetables)
  • Cooking oil – 1 tbsp
  • Salt – as needed
To Grind
  • Grated coconut - 2 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds / Jeera - 1/4 tsp
  • Small onion - 2 nos.
To Temper
  • Cooking oil - 1 tsp
  • Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
  • Curry leaves - Few
  1. Wash and pressure cook toor dal adding enough water, turmeric powder and few drops of oil.
  2. Pressure cook in low flame for two whistles. Open the lid after steam is released. Mash the dal. Grind coconut, onion and cumin to smooth paste.  Set aside.
  3. Wash and chop brinjal, drumstick and onion.
  4. In a kadai, heat oil and saute onion. Add brinjal, drumstick. Saute for a minute.
  5. Add 2.5 cups of water, required salt, red chilli powder. Boil and cover cook till vegetables are cooked.
  6. Now add the cooked dal and ground coconut paste. Boil for few minutes.
  7. Temper mustard seeds and curry leaves. Add to kuzhambu and Switch off the flame.
  8. Serve hot with rice and enjoy !
  • Wash and chop onion, brinjal and drumstick. Wash and pressure cook toor dal adding turmeric powder, a drop of cooking oil. Cook in low flame for one whistle. Open the cooker after the steam is released. Mash the dal well.

  • Grind coconut, cumin seeds and small onion to a smooth paste. Keep it aside.
  • kuzhambu without tamarind
  • Heat oil in a kadai. Saute small onion till transparent. Add chopped brinjal and drumstick. Saute for a minute. Now add 2 cups of water, salt and red chilli powder.
  • kuzhambu without tamarind
  • Cover the kadai and cook in medium flame till the vegetables are cooked well. Now add the cooked dal and ground coconut paste.
  • kuzhambu without tamarind 
      kuzhambu without tamarind
  • Boil for few minutes. Temper mustard seeds and curry leaves in 2 tsp of oil. Add to the kuzhambu. Switch off the flame.
  •  kuzhambu without tamarind
  • Serve hot with rice. While serving, you can drizzle few drops of lemon juice in the kuzhambu and mix with plain rice. Enjoy !


  • Adjust the quantity of red chilli powder as per your taste.
  • For variations, you can add roasted and ground pepper, cumin, coconut and red chilli paste instead of red chilli powder.
  • If you have drumstick leaves, you can pressure cook in separately. Add to the kuzhambu along with vegetables and make it. It tastes and smells good.

Try this easy, yummy Tirunelveli style Puli illa kari and enjoy !
kuzhambu without tamarind

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