Milagu Kuzhambu - South Indian Black Pepper Gravy
Print Pin
5 from 1 vote

Milagu Kuzhambu (No Onion No Garlic South Indian Pepper Gravy)

Milagu Kuzhambu is a no onion no garlic South Indian Tamarind based gravy which is spiced with peppercorns. The Kuzhambu is an age old home remedy consumed specially when under the weather, suffering from severe cold, chest congestion etc. This Kuzhambu is also served as post partum (with the addition of garlic) food to aid lactation.
Course Main Course
Cuisine South Indian
Keyword home remedies for cold, Milagu Kuzhambu, No Onion No Garlic Recipe, recipes with peppercorns, South indian kuzhambu recipes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 3 people
Author Vidya Narayan


  • 1 no Lemon Size Ball of Tamarind I have used dark variety of seedless tamarind here
  • 2 1/2 cups Water 1 cup for soaking the tamarind + 1 cup for extracting more pulp + 1/2 cup to adjust consistency as required
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 2 1/2 tsp Oil 1/2 tsp for Roasting the Spices and 2 tsps for tempering
  • 1 pinch Asafoetida or hing skip this ingredient for gluten free recipe
  • 2 tsp Jaggery Read Notes below
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp Peppercorns or Kali Mirch
  • 1 tbsp Coriander Seeds or Dhania
  • 1/2 tbsp Chana Dal
  • 1 tsp Urad Dal
  • 1/2 tsp Methi Seeds You can add 1/4 seeds if you feel it is too much
  • 2 nos Whole Red Chillies Beydgi Chillies used here. Skip if you feel peppercorns would be spicy enough or adjust quantity accordingly.


  • Soak a Lemon Size Tamarind ball with 1 cup (250ml) hot water. Let it rest for 15 minutes.
  • In the meanwhile, heat a pan, add 1/2 tsp oil and roast Chana Dal, Urad dal and methi seeds until the dals have turned golden brown.
  • Keep this aside for cooling. In the same pan, dry roast coriander seeds and peppercorns until you get a lovely aroma.
  • Now, in the same pan, roast the whole red chillies with few drops of oil and set aside for cooling.
  • Until the above masala mixture cools, let us extract the tamarind pulp / juice. Sqeeze out the pulp in a vessel, add some more water (1 cup) to squeeze out the balance pulp from the tamarind.
  • Cook this tamarind pulp with 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder, a pinch of asafoetida powder and salt to taste.
  • In the meanwhile, grind the kuzhambu masala powder that was set aside for cooling.
  • The tamarind pulp would take about 10 to 15 minutes to reduce on low flame.After the pulp has cooked and reduced with no raw smell, add the ground coarse powder to the simmering tamarind mixture.
  • Mix well. Add some jaggery to reduce both heat and tanginess from the tamarind. Allow it to simmer and add some water to adjust consistency.
  • Check salt again, and add more if required. Switch off the flame and prepare for tempering.
  • Heat a tempering pan, add 2 tsp sesame oil, mustard seeds and curry leaves. Pour the tempering over the Kuzhambu and serve piping hot.


  • You can skip red chillies. I have added it for both the deep golden brown colour and taste.
  • Do not reduce the quantity of peppercorns used, especially if you are under the weather. 
  • You can add ghee while tempering. I have avoided it since I added a dollop on rice while serving. 
  • The Kuzhambu stays good in the refrigerator for over 5 days. The taste gets better each day. You can easily make a big batch. 
  • Jaggery is added to most tamarind based kuzhambu recipes. It cuts the tanginess and balances the heat. Do not skip it. Also, it is ideal to taste the Kuzhambu and add jaggery quantity accordingly. The quality of tamarind and jaggery both differ. You might need more or less according to your preference.