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Poondu Kulambu / Garlic Gravy

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Poondu is the Tamil name for garlic and the garlic used for this dish is unique known as ‘Oru poondu’ / Pearl Garlic. It is different from the normal garlic. The normal garlic has many cloves (petals) whereas Oru poondu is a whole garlic without any cloves. This is a special kind of garlic which is available in the markets around Theni and Cumbum districts of Tamilnadu. This garlic is best suited for making this dish. If this garlic is unavailable at your place then you can still use other types of garlic (the garlic with bigger cloves) to prepare this dish.


Oru poondu / Garlic – 1/2 cup

  ~ (If you use other type of garlic – take 10 large nos)

Onion – 1 medium size

  ~ (If you use pearl onions (sambhar onion) – take 10 small nos)

Tamarind – 1 small gooseberry (nellikkai) size, soak it in a cup of warm water

Coriander powder / Dhania powder – 2 teaspoon

Pepper corn – 1/2 tea spoon

Cumin seeds – 1/2 teaspoon

Fenugreek – 1/2 teaspoon

Dry red chillies – 5 nos

Curry leaves – 3 strings

Mustard seeds – 1/2 teaspoon

Split Urid Dal – 1/2 teaspoon

Turmeric powder – 1/2 teaspoon

Asafoetida – a pinch

Oil – 1.5 tablespoon

Salt – To taste


1) Take a Pan and heat 1/2 tablespoon of oil in it. Add Peppercorns, cumin seeds, coriander powder, fenugreek seeds, red chillies and curry leaves. Roast these well on a low flame till you sense a good aroma from it.

2) Transfer the above contents to a plate.

3) Fry onion in the same pan and for few minutes. Add this to the above mixture and allow it to cool.

4) Grind this mixture to form a fine paste. Add just a pinch of water while grinding.

5) Take a thick bottom vessel and heat 1 tablespoon of oil in it.

6) Add mustard seeds, urid dal, garlic cloves, curry leaves and asafoetida (definitely in this order). Make sure the flame is in medium level.

7) Saute them till the garlic is fried enough.

8) Add the paste which was prepared earlier to this vessel.

9) Now squeeze the tamarind and extract the juice out of it. Add this to the mixture in the same vessel.

10) Sprinkle turmeric powder and salt to taste. Stir the mixture and close it.

11) Wait till the oil oozes out from the curry or water content is reduced and the gravy is half thick.

12) Poondu Kulambu is ready to be served.

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I love this kulambu…have it with hot rice and some fried applam! luxury!