Seeraga Kulambu ~ Spicy Cumin Gravy

Seeraga Kulambu
Hi friends, I’m back after a long break, I guess. Its been something or the other lately which took more priority and I had to leave this space of mine go hungry. But not anymore. I’m sure many of us may feel a bit stuffed and so full especially after the day we had celebrated and eaten too much and want to keep the food simple yet hearty the next day. If so, please meet the new comfort food on the block that you are gonna love. It is quick to prepare, takes minimal ingredients (just 5) and is full of digestive properties that is going to keep your tummy happy.

This is my MIL’s recipe and I’m eternally thankful to her for this recipe. I make it often especially during the winter season when you do not feel like eating anything. Also as you do not need any vegetables for making this gravy, life becomes easier when you do not have anything in your refrigerator. This is one gravy that will taste even better the next day as you keep reheating it and you can store this for 3-4 days. You can use this gravy as an instant kulambu paste like you get from stores to mix rice for the kids lunch boxes along with some chips or papads to school.

Seeraga Kulambu / Spicy Cumin Gravy

Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Shelf life: 3-4 days


To roast & grind:
  • Cumin seeds – 3 tsp
  • Tuvar/Arhar dal – 1 tsp


1. Heat a pan with 1/2 tsp oil. When the oil is hot simmer the flame completely, add cumin seeds and roast it till you get the aroma and the color changes slightly. Take care not to burn it by roasting over high flame as it will give the gravy a bitter taste. Remove and keep aside.
2. Next add tuvar dal and roast again over low flame till you get the aroma and the dal changes color. Transfer it to the same bowl and once both considerably cools down, grind to a fine powder in a food processor. Keep aside.
3. Soak tamarind in some warm water and extract thick pulp and keep aside.
4. Add the remaining oil to the pan and when hot add vengaya kari vadagam for seasoning. When it starts to sizzle add the garlic pods and roast for a minute till it changes color and shrinks a bit.
5. Add the tamarind extract from the sides of the pan. Add salt and bring it to a bubbling boil.
6. Add the sambar powder, mix well and once again let it come to a boil.
7. Now add the ground powder and mix well. Simmer the flame completely, close the pan with a lid leaving a small gap and let it cook for 5-7 minutes.
8. When you remove the lid after 7 minutes or so the gravy would have thickened and the oil would have started to leave the sides and will float on top and you will get the aroma of the gravy. Then it is done.
9. Take off the stove. Serve hot with rice to which a liberal dash of ghee has been added. Chips or papads/appalams for the sides will go very well.


  • This gravy will use a considerable amount of oil and do not be stingy in using it.
  • If sesame oil does not work for you feel free to use any other vegetable oil.
  • Do not replace garlic with onions as the taste will differ very much.
  • Also do not replace tuvar dal with channa dal or any other dal. Not only will the gravy taste different but it thicken the gravy too much and your kulambu will look like kurma instead.
  • Use tuvar dal in the given ratio ie., 1:3 if you want to double the recipe. Adding more than that will also change the thickness of the gravy.
  • If you do not want to use ghee while serving replace it with sesame oil itself.
  • If you do not have vengaya kari vadagam, then use 1/2 tsp each of mustard seeds and cumin seeds, 1/4 tsp of fenugreek seeds for seasoning.


  1. says

    dear radhika,
    while boiling the kulambu, i added a little turmeric, since all kulambus are usually made with turmeric in it. did i do the right thing? does your original recipe call for turmeric?

  2. says

    dear radhika,
    did your original recipe require a little turmeric while boiling? because when i was in the process of making this kulambu with your recipe, i thought that my kulambu lacked colour and so i added a pinch of turmeric. the kulambu was really tasty.

    • says

      Hi Prerna, Thanks for the feedback. Glad you liked it. As my sambar powder itself had lots of turmeric in it I skipped adding it but in case if you find the kulambu lacking in color there is no harm in adding 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder.

  3. says


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  4. R Radhakrishnan says

    All the recipe are tastier. Because the ingredients are chosen for a perfect taste. They come out well even at the first instance, as the nitty gritties have been given. Good blog to refer to.

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