My 116th recipe, “Milagu Kuzhambu (Pepper Gravy)”, a healthy, no onion, no garlic South Indian gravy. Coming back to my yesterday’s post, I had mentioned that RK and myself are suffering from severe Cold and I had prepared the Mixed Vegetable Soup to combat our Cold and show to him that food is indeed medicine when used appropriately. A big thumbs up. It did work out well. I am now free from the nasty cold.
However for RK, he felt better but not completely out of it. Looks like he needs a second dose. A much powerful one from my arsenal. So for today, I made him this wonderful Milagu Kuzhambu for lunch. Black Pepper, which is native to South India, has been a prized spice since ancient times. It was found so valuable that, apart from being used as a seasoning, it was also used as a currency and for sacred offerings. Among its in-numerous benefits, Pepper is know to boost up your immunity, fight against cold, improve digestion and promote intestinal health.
This Milagu kuzhambu is simple to make and showcases beautifully the flavor and health benefits of the lovely peppercorn. Unlike chilli which hits your tongue, this pepper kuzhambu leaves a nice spicy aftertaste on your throat, just what RK badly needed 😉
Learn how to make an easy milagu kuzhambu (Indian style Black pepper gravy) to reap both the delicious taste and medicinal properties.
- Tamarind - 1 big goose berry size
- Salt - 2 tsp (Adjust as needed)
- Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
- Jaggery - 1/2 tsp (Optional)
- Oil - 1/4 tsp
- Dry red chilli - 1 large
- Black peppercorns - 2 tsp
- Chana dal - 1 tsp
- Urad dal - 1 tsp
- Coriander seeds - 1 tsp
- Fenugreek seeds - 1/4 tsp
- Asafoetida - 1/4 tsp
- Sesame oil - 2 Tbsp
- Mustard - 1/2 tsp
- Curry leaves - 1 Sprig
- First soak the tamarind along with the salt in 1 cup of warm water for about 10 minutes. Then prepare 2 1/2 cups of thick tamarind extract from the same by adding required water. Keep aside.
- Then, heat the pan with 1/4 tsp oil and add the ingredients listed under "To roast and grind" one by one (except asafoetida) in the given order and saute until the dals turn golden brown. Now add the asafoetida give a stir and turn off the flame. Bring them to room temperature and then grind into a powder (Neither too fine nor too coarse) and keep it aside.
- Now, heat a pan with 2 Tbsp oil, add the mustard and once it splutters, add the curry leaves, prepared tamarind extract, turmeric and give a nice stir. Wait until the kuzhambu starts to boil.
- Once the kuzhambu starts to boil, add the ground powder and stir well making sure there are no lumps formed. Turn the flame to low-medium and let the kuzhambu keep cooking until the oil gets separated and floats over the top of the kuzhambu.
- Finally, add the jaggery to the kuzhambu, stir well to get it dissolved and simmer for a few more minutes. By now the raw smell of the tamarind and ground powder would be gone and the kuzhambu would have thickened. Turn off the flame and transfer to serving bowl.
- Serve hot with rice.
- Use of freshly prepared powder is highly recommended. However you can even grind the powder and store it for a week for instant use.
- Using jaggery is optional but it will help balance out all other flavors by adding a sweet tinge.
- You can use shallots/small onions/red pearl onions/normal red onions and garlic which will give extra flavor to the kuzhambu. In case of using, do add after tempering and saute until they turn dark golden brown (caramelizing of onion and garlic will give you best taste). Then add the tamarind extract and follow the remaining steps.
- Do adjust the quantity of black peppercorns and dry red chilli according to your taste.