Pepper Gravy | Milagu Kuzhambu

Pepper gravy or milagu kuzhambu (in Tamil) is so very apt for rainy days to escape from runny nose and congestion of chest. It helps to clear the mucus from the nose, as it has lot of pepper and other spices added to it. The making of milagu kuzhambu is damn easy, once you roast the masala. Overall cooking time is only 15 minutes and it even reduces if you have powder prepared beforehand.

Pepper gravy is a travel friendly mix to go with rice and simple vadams (fryums) or papads (appalam). Kids also can have it to increase their appetite as pepper is known for it!


1 tbsp gingelly oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp split black gram/ urad dhal
a sprig of curry leaves (optional)
1 cup of thick tamarind paste
salt to taste
1/2 tsp turmeric powder

For grinding:

1 tbsp Bengal gram
1 tbsp black gram /urad dhal
2 tbsp black peppercorns
1 tbsp coriander seeds
a pinch of asafoetida
5 dry red chillies

How to make pepper gravy or milagu kuzhambu:

1. Heat a pan and dry roast the ingredients listed under grinding along with a tsp of oil until nice aroma comes.

2. Let the dry roasted ingredients cool completely, while we prepare the pan for the curry.

3. Heat a pan and add gingelly oil. Once it gets warm, add mustard seeds, urad dhal, curry leaves.

4. When the mustard seeds sputter, add tamarind paste, turmeric powder and salt. Let it boil for 5-6 minutes on high-medium flame until the raw smell of tamarind paste goes away.

5. Grind the roasted ingredients to a nice and thick paste by adding little water.

Tip: You can also triple the dry roast ingredients and grind it without adding water to a fine powder. Store it in a air tight container and use it whenver you make the milagu kuzhambu.

6. Add the paste to the boiling tamarind water. Check for salt.

7. Let it boil for 7 minutes or until it becomes thick.

Tip: This gravy tends to become thick a little bit, so it can be a lunch box recipe too during weekdays :)

8. If you want to have a thinner gravy, you can switch off the flame after 5 minutes itself. Otherwise, go ahead and boil it on medium flame to a thick paste.

9. Store it in an air tight container and refrigerate for a months time. Serve the pepper gravy or milagu kuzhambu with hot rice and fryums!


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