Vathakozhambu with a twist(Saravana Bhavan style)

My sister whose recipes I have tried here like these kebabs, stuffed uthappams,cabbage puttu and who taught me the art of making briyanis in a clay pot is on a mission these days- to keep me in the kitchen all day. She keeps sending me pictures of recipes she has been cooking for her family(well I do it all the time too, but since I am younger I get to complain :D). I had two choices, accept my defeat and beg her for the recipe or just look at the pictures and drool. I took route 1 mainly(ahem!!) because I am busy with taking R to various classes and activities and do not have the energy to follow her instructions. Apart from that I have handed over the job of finding and providing interesting recipes for this blog for the next couple of days. After all what are big sisters for? She does all the work and I get all the credits as usual :) So, coming to you live from Dubai for the next month will be my sister Sowmeya’s recipes starting with this HSB style kozhambu. As you know, you cannot separate the combination- Iyers and Vathakozhambu and also aloo kari and vathakozhambu!!

Besides, the day she sent me this recipe something hilarious happened that I am sure N is not going to forget it for a long time. It was our anniversary(6 years!!) and I woke up early as usual, looked around for flowers, cakes, gifts- this n that..nothing was there in the kitchen or in the living room. I marched to the garage to see if he has placed anything in my car. Nope. I was fuming and I just sat down waiting for him to wake up(This means war as you know) and when he came to the kitchen I started
ranting like” How could you” and “After all I do for you and R”…and so on and so forth..He listened to it for a good 15 minutes and said, “Actually our anniversary is tomorrow” 😀

I ended up making this the very same day to sort of say sorry because I know he loves Hotel Saravana Bhavan recipes very much and we were the sort of people who drove from Utah to California to eat at HSB during grad school. We go to HSB when we go to Seattle or Vancouver and to the East coast. I wonder why there is no HSB in Houston!

So I can honestly say that, if you are looking for the HSB style vathakozhambu- the looks, the aroma, the taste- people this is it. Go for it.

Over to you sis…

At home while growing up, I loved vatha kuzhambu so much that my mom used to say that I had vatha kuzhambu in my veins. (It was rasam in my sis’s veins). Thankfully, the tradition of vathakuzhambu love continues with both hubby and son Aryan loving the taste of it. Ary in fact, can identify what I have cooked when he enters the house and grins ear to ear if he smells his fav vatha kuzhambu. Hubby loves the vatha kuzhambu served at restaurants (mainly Saravan Bhanvan) and has been asking me to replicate the same, (High hopes). When we visited his cousin living here, his mom made this vatha kuzhambu. Since this tasted divine I wasted no time in getting the recipe from her. I make it often as the demand is very high for this.

Ingredients :
Drumstick – 6-7 pieces
Sundaikkai, Manathakkali vathal ( any vatthal will do )- 2-3 tbsp
Big Red onion – 2 ,finely chopped
Tamarind pulp – 1 cup(about 300ml water and 1/4 tsp tamarind paste)
Salt to taste

To grind:
Small onions/shallots – 4
Garlic – 2 cloves
Coriander seeds – 1 tsp
Coconut grated – 3 table spoons
Tomato – 1 (chopped)
Red chilies- 3 to 4

For tempering:
Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp
Fenugreek seeds- 1 pinch
curry leaves-few
Gingelly oil – 3 teaspoons

Method :

Grind the tomato, garlic, shallots, coconut, red chilies and coriander seeds to a smooth paste with a little amount of water. There is no need to roast the ingredients. It has to be raw.If you like you can also grind it with coconut milk instead of adding coconut.

Heat the oil in a kadai. Add the mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds and curry leaves. When they splutter, add chopped onions, the vathal and drumstick. Saute till oinons are translucent. Add the ground paste and saute for a good 3-4 minutes . Add the tamarind water and salt. Cover and simmer for a good 15 minutes on a medium flame till the drumstick is fully cooked and the oil floats on top.

If you think it is very thin and watery, can add rice flour paste. Mix 1 tbsp of rice flour in water just enough to make a thick paste, add this to the boiling kozhambu and simmer for another 2-3 minutes. It will be thick as there is coconut in the paste and it will thicken up as it sits.

Switch off. Serve this with any of this : coconut thogayal, achari aloo kari, aloo kari with coconut, kootu or morekootu.

The above said quantity will be enough for 2 people. If you need your kozhambu spicy or tangy, adjust the ratio of chilies and tamarind accordingly.

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12 Comments to “Vathakozhambu with a twist(Saravana Bhavan style)”

  1. Sonia says:

    Whr do you get Manthakkalli Vathal ? Indian stores ? For some reason the Indy store doesnt carry it or maybe known by a diff name !

  2. Cham says:

    We gonna have soon HSB in my town, no need 2 drive 20 miles anymore. But the vattakuzhambu in US is more sweeter than tangier. I like the one in chennai very authentic , they ve changed the recipe according the place i guess.
    The ground masala is very different- I rarely does- both men just run away seeing the puli kuzhambu! Good one!

  3. faseela says:

    yummy curry

  4. Priya says:

    Fingerlicking vatha kuzhambu,makes me hungry.

  5. vanamala says:

    Looks tasty…

  6. Kanan says:

    wow so yumm curry. superb

  7. Ambika says:

    This does sound like a killer recipe!! Can’t wait to try it, but I have to make do with frozen murungakka and I HATE that stuff, but atleast it smells like murungakka :) Loved your write up!!

  8. dhivya says:

    I like this curry… Its yummy im my family everyone like this thank u…:-)

  9. PadmaRam says:

    Hi.. I tried your recipe today and it came out very tasty.. Thank you so much :)

  10. sangeetha says:

    perfect recipe thank u very much :)

  11. Aarthii says:


    Made this today with a little difference. Added kashmiri red chilli powder qnd fenugreek powder.tasted great.


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