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Appalam Vatha Kozhambu (Papad Gravy)

Vatta Kuzhambu is a south Indian spicy gravy which is served with rice. It may have vegetables and/or vattal. Vattal is any sun dried Indian vegetable/berries, the most common being manathakkali vathal and sundakai vattal, you can buy these from the Indian grocery stores. These two are specifically known to have medicinal properties, like curing stomach ailments. This has been my favorite since childhood. And vatta kuzhambu with appalams/papads is just an added bonus. There is nothing better than vatta kuzhambu and aloo fry.It is also a perfect combination for curd rice. Ultimate comfort food.


Tamarind paste – 2 tbsp or Tamarind – a big lemon size ball
( I use the dark, Tamicorn tamarind paste, If you use the light brown colored paste, you might need to use 4 tbsp)
Appalam/Papad – 10 no. (Broken into halves or quarters)
Onion – 1 large
Garlic – 5-7 cloves
Sambar powder – 2 tbsp
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp (adjust spice according to your taste)
Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
Jaggery – 2 tsp
Salt – to taste
Oil – 2-3 tbsp (Preferably sesame oil)
Water – 4 cups
Rice flour – 2 tbsp

For Tempering:

Mustard seeds – 2 tsp
Fenugreek/Methi seeds – 1 tsp
Channa dal/Bengal gram – 2 tsp
Asafetida – 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves – 4 no.
Dry Red Chilli – 2 no.


  • Heat oil in a kadai/saucepan on medium high heat, add mustard seeds, once they start to splutter add fenugreek seeds. asafoetida, curry leaves, channa dal and dry red chillies. Saute for 30 seconds.
  • Add the garlic, saute for a minute, add the onions and salt and cook for 3 mins.
  • Add the turmeric powder, chilli powder and sambar powder and fry these for 2 minute. It is very important to roast these spices properly in oil, that gives the vatta kuzhambu its signature taste.
  • Add the water, tamarind paste and jaggery. Cook for 20 mins.
  • Adjust the salt in the gravy. Mix rice flour with 1/4 cup water without forming any lumps. Pour this into the kuzhambu and mix well. Cook for a minute. Swith off the stove and add the appalam/papads.
  • Close with a lid and rest for atleast 10 mins. Enjoy with white rice.

You might also like:

Kathirikkai Kara Kozhambu – Eggplant in Spicy Tamarind Gravy

Keerai Kondakadalai Kozhambu (Chickpeas & Spinach in tamarind gravy)

Arbi (Taro) Roast

Mirchi ka Salan – Green Chilli curry

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