Milagu Kuzhambu – Hot Pepper Gravy from Tamil Nadu – Guest Post by Aparna Sitaraman

Milagu Kuzhambu - Hot Pepper Gravy from Tamil Nadu
Milagu Kuzhambu – Hot Pepper Gravy from Tamil Nadu

I learnt this recipe for Milagu Kuzhambu from my friend Aparna Sitaraman, who is the sister-in-law of the sister of a close friend. We met at some social functions and hit it off instantly. Aparna lives in Dubai and is a source of all kinds of goodies that I don’t get easily in India. (I sometimes think she must dread coming to India because of the list I come up with 😀 :D)

She made Milagu Kuzhambu last month and shared the recipe over Whatsapp. Since then I have been meaning to try this is a hot pepper gravy from Tamil Nadu and finally got the opportunity this past weekend which has been all rainy and gloomy. I was looking for something to cheer me up when I remembered this recipe.

Thank you so much Aparna for this gem and keep them coming!

How to Make Milagu Kuzhambu: The Hot Pepper Gravy from Tamil Nadu

Serves: 4

Cooking Time: 30 Minutes


  1. Udad Dal – 2 tsp
  2. Chana Dal – 2 tsp
  3. Coriander Seeds – 2 tsp
  4. Red Chillies – 4 to 6
  5. Peppercorns – 2 tsp
  6. Thick Tamarind Paste – 1.5 tsp
  7. Grated Jaggery – 1/2 tsp
  8. Asafoetida or Hing – 2 Large Pinches
  9. Curry Leaves – 10
  10. Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
  11. Oil – 1 tbsp + 1 tsp (Gingelly or Sesame Oil Preferred)
  12. Salt to Taste

Method to Make the Paste for Milagu Kuzhambu

  1. Over medium flame, heat 1 tbsp oil.
  2. Add the chana dal and udad dal.
  3. Stir-fry till the dals turn brown.
  4. Add the coriander seeds, pepper corns, red chillies, and 5 curry leaves.
  5. Stir fry for 10 seconds.
  6. Set aside to cool.
  7. Grind the a smooth paste with 2-3 tbsp of water.
Milagu Kuzhambu - Hot Pepper Gravy
Milagu Kuzhambu – Hot Pepper Gravy

Method to Make the Milagu Kuzhambu

  1. Dissolve the tamarind paste in 1/2 cup water.
  2. Heat 1 tsp oil.
  3. Add mustard seeds an wait till they splutter.
  4. Add curry leaves, asafoetida, and the tamarind paste.
  5. Let the mix simmer till the raw smell of the tamarind paste disappears.
  6. Add the Milagu Kuzhambu paste and mix well.
  7. Add 3/4 to 1 cup water and salt.
  8. Bring the mix to a boil.
  9. Turn off the heat.
  10. Add jaggery and mix well till it dissolves.
  11. Serve Milagu Kuzhambu with hot rice topped with Sesame Oil or then as an accompaniment to Dosa or Idli.
Sada Dosa with Milagu Kuzhambu
Sada Dosa with Milagu Kuzhambu


  1. I have never tried Milagu Kolambu and I am one person who picks all the pepper from pongal 😀 I should try this sometime.. I know how good Pepper is for our health 🙂

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