Thakkali Kulambu (Tomato)

Makes about 3 servings
This is my favorite gravy from my mom's cooking. She makes this delicious gravy for dosa / idly. She will use fresh coconut from our backyard and oh gosh! it used to taste heavenly. We call it 'Thick Takkali kolambu' back at home.
  • Heat 2tsp of gingely oil in a non-stick pan
  • Temper it with 1tsp mustard seeds, 1tsp cumin seeds, 1 spring of curry leaves
  • Alternatively, you may season vegetable oil with whole garam masala  and follow the below steps. If using garam masala, do not use it with gingely oil..use veg or extra light olive oil instead.
  • Add about 20 whole pearl onions or 1 large onion finely chopped and saute until translucent
  • Add 10 garlic pods and saute them too
  • Add 1tbsp of ginger-garlic paste and saute well
  • Add about 4 large ripe tomatoes finely chopped and saute until oil leaves by the sides
  • Add 1 tsp red chilly powder, 2 tsp dhania powder, 1/4 tsp of turmeric powder, salt per taste and cook the gravy for 10 minutes with occasional stirring. You may sprinkle water every now and then
  • Once the masala is well cooked, Add 2 or 3 tbsp of coconut paste.
  • Alternatively, You may add 1/2 cup of coconut milk
  • If you wish to avoid coconuts, mix 2tsp of dhalia (pottukadalai) powder in 1tbsp of water and add to the gravy instead - it compromises the taste a little but still good.
  • Or, lessen the coconut and compliment it with 4 roasted cashews while grinding the coconut to a paste.
  • Add 2.5 cups of water, stir well
  • Cover and cook for 15 mins on low flame
  • Garnish with cilantro leaves
  • Serve with hot rice or idlies or dosas


  1. Vellore Gal!October 06, 2008

    Please post the recipe.. kulambu looks delicious!!

  2. Hi Vellore gal,
    Thanks for stopping by. I have posted the recipe. Let me know if you like it. :) Happy cooking..

  3. This is exactly how my mother in law makes it. Can`t wait to try this with tomatoes from my garden!

    Thank you so much for posting these recipes. My mother in law showed me how to make, but it just very hard when you didn`t grow up making or around something...I never know what it should look/taste like.

  4. My pleasure! I am impressed by ur affinity towards ur MIL - very healthy. :-) Keep it up! Looks like you like all of my Mom's dishes. I love anything she cooks and I never get the same taste as hers whatsoever. I conveniently blame it on the quality of coconut. ;-) Back in my parent's place in India, we get the coconuts from our backyard and here it is never that fresh. But in all honesty, I dont know if that is the sole reason. :-)

  5. I just tried this recipe and its just fantastic! Bachelors like us need this kind of simple stuff. Great work.... Greetings from Melbourne.

  6. :) SO glad u liked it. Happy cooking..

  7. Hi Great Blog.............


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