Vendaikkai Puli Kuzhambu/ Okra Tamarind Stew

This is a very authentic South Indian recipe for puli kuzhambu. This dish can be prepared with okra or lady’s fingers, which are called Vendakkai in Tamil, drumsticks, brinjal or just whole garlic cloves. The base of the sauce is tamarind juice, which gives this dish a tangy and sweet flavor. This dish goes best with rice and appalam/papad.

Vendaikkai Puli Kuzhambu 2


Oil – 2 tbsp
Urad dal – 1 tsp
Channa dal – 1 tsp
Mustard seeds – 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek seeds – 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves – 5 to 6
Garlic cloves, crushed – 4
Onion, finely chopped – 3/4 cup
Tomato, finely chopped – 1/3 cup
Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
Chilly powder – 1 tsp
Coriander powder – 3/4 tsp
Jaggery powder – 1/2 tsp
Lady’s fingers/ okra – 6 to 8
Tamarind juice – 1 and 1/2 cups
Salt – to taste
Ghee – 2 tsp


  • Heat oil in a pot and when it is warm enough, add urad dal, channa dal, mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds. You can substitute these with vadagam if available
  • When the seeds crackle, add the curry leaves and garlic
  • Follow by adding onions and tomato. Saute for couple minutes
  • Add the chopped okra and saute for 6 to 8 minutes. This step is important to cook the okra half way through as well as to make it nice and crispy so that it does not get slimy
  • Mix the tamarind juice with turmeric, chilly powder and coriander powder and pour it into the pan
  • Add jaggery and salt and mix well
  • Once it comes to a boil, cover and cook for 5 minutes
  • Finish it off by adding ghee before removing from heat
  • Serve hot with rice and appalam


  • You can use sesame oil for enhanced flavor and a nuttier taste
  • Always wash and pat dry the okra before cutting them to prevent it from getting slimy
  • Soak lemon sized amount of tamarind in a cup of water for about an hour or microwave it for a minute. Once the first batch of juice is extracted, add another half cup of water and extract again

Vendaikkai Puli Kuzhambu

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