Tirunelveli Style Poricha Kuzhambu

Poricha kuzhambu is a traditional Tirunelveli style stew made with mixed vegetables, lentils, coconut and spice paste. Most of the South Indian traditional kuzhambu/gravy varieties have tamarind as the base. This classic poricha kuzhambu is a unique and flavoursome stew that stands out from other kuzhambu varieties since it does not have tamarind. This is a wholesome nutritious dish when served with steamed hot rice, since it has vegetables, lentils and a blend of all good spices. This can be paired with steamed rice, or can be served as a side dish for some tiffin varieties like aapam, idiyappam and even for rotis. My mom’s poricha kuzhambu is a signature dish that we all relish in our family every now and then. Here is the recipe that I learnt from my mom.

Preparation time: 20 to 30 minutes


Toor dhal (to pressure cook)1/4 cup
Vegetables (chow chow, carrot, beans or any other vegetable)1/2 cup
Rasam powder1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder1 tsp
Hing1 tsp
Saltto taste
Coriander leavesto garnish

To soak & grind

Toor dhal1 1/2 tsp
Coriander seeds1 1/2 tsp
Red chilli3
Black pepper1/2 tsp
Jeera1 tsp
Coconut5 tsp

To Temper:

Coconut oil1 to 2 tsp
Mustard seeds1 tsp
Jeera or cumin seeds1 tsp
Curry leavesfew


  1. Pressure cook about 1/4 th cup toor dhal for about 3 whistles. The dhal should be well cooked and mashed. keep this aside.
  2. Soak 11/2 tsp toor dhal, coriander seeds, red chilli, black pepper and jeera (listed in table under ‘to soak & grind’) in water for about 10 to 15 minutes. Do not soak the coconut.
  3. After about 10 minutes, transfer the above ingredients that are soaked in water to a blender. Add about 5 tsp of coconut and grind to a paste using water. The paste should be little coarse but the ingredients should be grinder well.
  4. Chop the vegetables as mentioned in the ingredients list. You can vary the choice of vegetables as per your wish.
  5. In a cooking pot, add 11/2 cups of water, add the vegetables and cook until they are tender.
  6. Add turmeric powder, hing, rasam powder and the grounded paste /masala. Add salt.
  7. Cook for few minutes for the raw smell to go. Now add the cooked and mashed toor dhal to this. Cook for 5 to 8 minutes stirring in-between.
  8. If the kuzhambu is too thin, cook for some time so that all the excess water evaporates. If the kuzhambu is too thick, then add water to adjust the consistency and cook for 2 or 3 minutes.
  9. Sprinkle some chopped coriander leaves on top.
  10. In a pan, add 1 to 2 tsp coconut oil. Now add mustard seeds. When the mustard seeds crackle, add jeera and curry leaves. Pour this tempering over the kuzhambu. Serve this delicious kuzhambu with steamed rice. Add 1 to 2 tsp of raw coconut oil on top (optional).


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