Lotus Stem Puli Kuzhambu/Vattalkuzhambu

Whenever the husband visits home from Delhi, he ensures that he gets some lotus stem. All of us at home love lotus stem, and I am in the process of learning to prepare different dishes using it. Yesterday, I decided to make puli kuzhambu aka vattalkuzhambu using lotus stem, and it turned out super delish!

This is a very South Indian preparation, which goes well with white rice and dosas. It is spicy and tangy, and the way the cooked lotus stem tastes with the tamarind gravy is lovely.

I followed this recipe for the kuzhambu, making very few, minor changes.

Here’s how I made it…

Ingredients (makes enough for 3 people, to be had mixed with white rice):

4 medium-sized lotus stems, thoroughly washed, peeled and chopped into rounds

2 medium-sized onions, chopped length-wise

4-5 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped

2 green chillies, slit length-wise

2 medium-sized tomatoes, chopped finely

2 tablespoons sambar powder

1 tablespoon coriander powder

A small lemon-sized ball of tamarind, soaked in warm water for 15-20 minutes

1 teaspoon mustard seeds

2 tablespoons oil

1 teaspoon fenugreek (methi) seeds

A few fresh curry leaves

A small bunch of fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped

A pinch of asafoetida (hing)

Salt, to taste

Red chilli powder, to taste

1 teaspoon turmeric powder

Powdered jaggery, to taste


1. Extract all the juice from the soaked tamarind. Keep aside.

2. In a small pressure cooker, heat the oil. Add the mustard seeds, and allow them to splutter. Add the fenugreek seeds and the asafoetida.

3. Add the chopped onions and garlic. Saute for a few minutes till the raw smell goes away.

4. Now, add the chopped tomatoes and slit green chillies. Add a bit of water and salt to taste. Cook for a few minutes or till the tomatoes turn mushy.

5. Add the chopped lotus stem, tamarind water, curry leaves, salt and red chilli powder to taste, turmeric powder, sambar powder, coriander powder, and jaggery. Mix well. Let it simmer for about 5 minutes on a high flame.

6. Add a little more water if required, and close the cooker. Give it about 4 whistles.

7. When all the steam has escaped, open the cooker. Add the finely chopped coriander leaves. Mix well.

8. If you feel the kuzhambu needs a little thickening, you can let it simmer on a medium flame for a few more minutes, at this stage.



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