Murungaikai Karakozhambu | South Indian Drumstick Gravy


If I say I love Murungaikai/Drumstick, that’s an understatement. When in season, I buy them in bulk and use them in every way possible. Whenever we are all eating together, everyone in my family would save the drumstick pieces for me and in the process if they happen to have more than one piece, they would pass it on to me, for I love it so much. Amma uses it mostly in Sambar and interesting in Rasam – which I particularly love. MIL on the other hand uses it in Kozhambu recipes apart from the usual Sambar. And that is something I have acquired a taste for, post marriage. While growing up, I once made drumstick stir-fry which turned out to be good, but my family had a tough time eating all the drumstick pieces πŸ˜€

This karakozhambu recipe is from my MIL’s kitchen and from my experience looking at her cook. Every single time she makes karakozhambu, it turns out lip-smackingly good. You would need nothing but a few appalams/fryums to go with it and given the rice is piping hot, you can just keep eating. The husband loves my karakozhambu and would not even look up or talk to me before finishing his meal πŸ™‚ All credits to my MIL! πŸ™‚ I make karakozhambu with different vegetables but this murungaikai one happens to be my favorite – one can guess easily πŸ˜€ This is spicy and tangy with the flavor of drumstick – perfect for hot rice and appalam.


To make Murungaikai Karakozhambu | South Indian Drumstick Gravy

Serves – 2

Time to prepare – 30mins

What I used –

  • Drumsticks, 2
  • Onion, 1 large
  • Tomato, 1 medium
  • Garlic Pods, 10-15
  • Tamarind Paste, 1 tsp
  • Mustard Seeds, 1 tsp
  • Methi Seeds, 1 tsp
  • Gingely Oil, 1.5 tbsp
  • Sambar Powder, 1 tbsp
  • Turmeric Powder, Β½ tsp
  • Curry Leaves, a few
  • Salt, as required


How I made –

  1. In a thick bottomed kadai, heat oil. Add mustard and methi seeds. Once they splutter, add curry leaves and garlic pods. Fry for a couple of minutes.
  2. Add finely chopped onion pieces. Fry until translucent. Add finely chopped tomato pieces. Fry until they are mushy. Add finger sized pieces of drumsticks. Fry for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add turmeric powder and the sambar powder. Fry for a minute until the raw smell of the powders is gone. At this stage, the oil should be leaving from the sides of the cooking mixture.
  4. Add water until all drumstick pieces are immersed. Add enough salt and tamarind paste. Reduce the flame to low. Cook covered for 15-20mins.
  5. On a low flame, the gravy has to boil for a longer time until the drumstick pieces are cooked and absorb the spices from the gravy. The gravy should thicken and the oil used should be floating on top. Check for the salt and spice levels. Remove from the stove.
  6. Serve hot with rice and appalam/fryums.


Note –

  • Reduce/increase the amount of tamarind paste depending on the sourness of the tomato used.
  • I use sambar powder that my MIL prepares at home which is a perfect mixture of all essential spices. If sambar powder is store bought, add an additional tbsp of coriander powder.
  • I have reduced the amount to oil used and has kept it to the minimum quantity from what is usually used for these kozhambu recipes – still tastes good.
  • Gingely oil gives a nice touch to this kozhambu. If not available, normal vegetable oil can be used.

11 thoughts on “Murungaikai Karakozhambu | South Indian Drumstick Gravy

    1. Thank you πŸ™‚ I bring them from Chennai – we have a huge tree at home and freeze them – lasts a longer time.

      Oh its not available?! πŸ™ πŸ™

        1. With powercuts and all that here, it lasts for more than a month. I have not stocked up more than that.. Yeah, over-ripe ones are hard to eat and to just add to the flavor, you can add it in rasam. That way, you get the flavor and not necessarily eat it. I do that sometimes.

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