Milagu Kulambu / Black Pepper in Tamarind Sauce

When I am writing this post, my mind is thinking about my mom, my childhood days and how she struggled to feed few healthy recipes to my sis and myself. Those days, whenever my mom cooks this milagu kulambu, we both run away and hide somewhere to skip the meal. Hiding under the bed is our favorite place where she feels little difficulty to bend and pull us. As we both feel the gravy is too hot and simply say 'NO' to her and go for some curd rice. But she never leave us and feed the food with gravy using her hand. So, with no other go, we eat them.

Days passes and we started to realise the health fact behind it, we slowly started to eat and now whenever we visit our home town, we ask her to prepare it and it has become one of the most wanted gravies from mom. But, she still mixes this gravy with hot rice and makes balls and feed us. She is always great. Love you Mom!!! 

Did you know? As black pepper helps digestion and avoid intestinal gas, it is mostly prepared after any festival treat and considered as pathiya saappadu(A light meal which is usually taken after a heavy feast to help/lighten the digestive system)here in Tamilnadu, India.

Basic Information:
Preparation Time: <10 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 5-8 people


For Gravy:

Tamarind - 1 lemon size
Water - 1.5 cups
Salt - to taste

To Dry Roast and Grind:

Black pepper corns - 1 tablespoon
Channa dal - 1 tablespoon
Urid dal - 1 tablespoon
Coriander seeds/ coriander powder - 1 tablespoon
Dry red chilli - 1 or 2
Curry leaves - 1 string
Asafoetida - 1/8 teaspoon

For Seasoning:

Oil - 1 tablespoon
Mustard seeds and urid dal - 1/2 teaspoon
Curry leaves - 1 string


1) Soak tamarind in half cup of warm water. Set aside. let it be for 10 minutes.
2) Meanwhile, dry roast all the ingredients given for dry roast till the mixture releases nice aroma and the dals became golden brown. It might take 7-10 minutes.

3) Transfer the roasted ingredients to a dry plate and allow it to cool.

4) Now, extract juice from tamarind by adding the remaining water and boil it in a saucepan.

5) When it starts to boil, grind the roasted ingredients to fine powder and add to the tamarind juice. You can also add little water for grinding and make a paste.

6) Add salt and stir properly to avoid forming lumps.
7) Cover and cook till the gravy thickens.

8) When the gravy's consistency reduced to half, remove from heat and add the seasoning.
9) Milagu kulambu is ready.
10) Serve with steamed rice and pappadam.

1) If you feel the gravy is taking time to thicken, mix a tablespoon of rice flour to water and add to the gravy to get thickness. but make sure to avoid lumps while adding.
2) You can also store this gravy up to a week or more.

Sending this recipe to Srivalli's  Cooking without Onion and Garlic event.

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hi uma, some funny stories on your childhood about food. Mothers, as usual will go all out to ensure their kids eat and not miss their meals.
Have never tried or seen this dish before…sounds like a healthy and light dish

Aww...kaarasarama erukku entha Milagu kuzhambu...Amma kaila urundai sadham saapidrathu Thani rusi...athukku edae illai...looks so spicy n lip smacking good !!

what a healthy recipe.. love those rice balls.. they are very cute..

looks delicious and healthy dish .......

Remember my Mom making this.Very flavorful and healthy recipe.Luv it.Thanks for dropping in.

Very colorful and nutritious preparation.

Hamaree Rasoi

delicious flavours wonderful looking preparation

looks yum- just the way my mom makes it and the urundais make me nostalgic to the good'ol days when mom used to mix the kuzhambu with rice in to these huge balls and we all used to huddle and feast !!!!

Lip smacking & nutritious recipe!!!
Prathima Rao
Prats Corner

Delicious recipe uma,but urs is different from mine,i always wonder abt ur amazing photography.

Comforting and yummy curry.....perfect with rice!

Such a delicious and traditional recipe.. looks perfect :)
Indian Cuisine

Mouthwatering here, wat a comforting,inviting kuzhambu..

Not only delicious but healthy as well!

delicious n awesome clicks,Uma!!Thickly prepared n looks lip smacking ......

Authentic n spicy dish...very nice recipe.

Loved your clicks and presentation...nice recipe

Dear Blogger Friend,Wish U a Warm and Happy Diwali.Enjoy the Festivities with taste-filled delights,Safe and Delicious Memorable Moments - Regards, Christy Gerald

looks absolutely delicious dear, very healthy too..those rice balls just look awesome..

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