Karunai Kizhangu Kuzhambu | Karunai Puli Kuzhambu

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Today’s recipe is a speciality from my Mother-in-law’s kitchen. Until I saw her prepare Karunai Kuzhambu Kara Kuzhambu, I never knew it was possible. I mean, I have seen/had Kurma Kuzhambu, Murungai Kuzhambu, Poondu Kuzhambu, Puli Kuzhambu or Mor Kuzhambu, but never thought Kuzhambu could be made from Karunai Kezhangu. It was more like the Puli Kuzhambu but with the added awesomeness of Karunai, making it lipsmackingly good.

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For the uninitiated, Karunai Kizhangu is Elephant Foot Yam which is very commonly available in South India and is known as Suran in North India. Usually, it is chopped into thin slices and fried in a similar way to the Vazhakkai Fry (a recipe for some other day) but this is quite an unusual recipe as chopped Yam is added to the Kuzhambu directly. I prepare this especially when I can get away with preparing lunch very easily. With chunks of yam in the gravy, I would have to only prepare rice and fry up something crispy. This Kuzhambu can land you in food heaven with the first mouthful – this much I can guarantee you. A word of caution though. This root vegetable can cause throat itchiness to some people (especially if not washed/cooked properly). If you would like to avoid the risk, cook the vegetable in lots of water along salt and turmeric. Drain off the excess water and then add it to the gravy. Now onto the recipe!

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To make Karunai Kizhangu Kuzhambu | Kandha Pulusu

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: Easy
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What I used –
  • Karunai Kizhangu/Elephant Foot Yam, 150 gms
  • Onion Finely Chopped, ½ cup
  • Garlic Pods, 8-10
  • Gingely Oil/Sesame Oil, 2 tbsp
  • Dried Red Chillies, 1 or 2
  • Mustard Seeds, ¾ tsp
  • Dried Fenugreek Seeds, ¾ tsp
  • Curry Leaves, a few
  • Sambar Powder, 5 tbsp
  • Turmeric Powder, ½ tsp
  • Tamarind Extract/Pulp, 1 tbsp
  • Salt, as required
  • Water, as required

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How I made –

1. In a thick bottomed pan, heat gingely oil. Add dried red chillies cut in halves, mustard seeds and fenugreek seeds. Let them splutter. Add peeled garlic pods and fry for 20 secs. Add curry leaves and fry for 5 secs. Add finely chopped onions and fry until translucent.


2. Remove the peel of the Elephant Foot Yam/Karunai Kizhangu. Wash it in running water thoroughly until all the dirt is gone. Chop Karunai Kizhangu into squares of ½ cm thickness and add it to pan with onions. Add turmeric powder. Stir fry for 4-5 mins on low flame.


3. Add sambar powder and mix well. Fry for 2-3 mins. The oil should be leavening from the sides. Add ½ cup of water and mix well. Add salt required for the gravy.


4. Add tamarind extract/pulp. Mix well. Add more water if required. Boil it on low flame for 10-15 mins until all the spices are well absorbed by the vegetable. If required add some water and boil for 4-5 mins.


5. Serve hot with rice with a side of fryums/appalam/papad with gingely/sesame oil on top.

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Note –
  • Cleaning the elephant foot yam is very crucial. Wash it in running water as thoroughly as possible. If you have sensitive skin, wear gloves so as to avoid direct contact with the yam. Sometimes, touching it can cause itching as well.
  • Cook the yam separately with lots of water along with salt and turmeric for 4-5 mins and drain off the water, this way – the yam wouldn’t be as itchy. Again, this is a precaution as elephant foot yam can cause throat itchiness. It is very temporary and would last at the max of 20-30 mins.
  • Use of gingely oil or virgin sesame oil in Kuzhambu recipes enhances the taste. In case of non-availability, cooking oil can be used.
  • Let the gravy simmer on low flame for about 15 mins atleast to have the perfect taste.
  • The gravy can be a bit too tangy due to the addition of tamarind. Adjust sambar powder accordingly.
  • Instead of sambar powder, red chilli powder + coriander + jeera powder can be added as well.

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I am taking this recipe to Fiesta Friday #113 at Angie’s. The co-hosts for the party this week are Sonal @ simplyvegetarian777 and Laurie @ ten.times.teaHope they like this 🙂

26 thoughts on “Karunai Kizhangu Kuzhambu | Karunai Puli Kuzhambu

    1. It was interesting for me too, the first time 🙂 My family handles this in a completely different way.. I particularly loved my paati’s recipe where this is cooked with jaggery 🙂 Your comment brought such nice food memories! Yeah, this requires a lot as the tamarind pulp is quite tangy. In fact, when mixed with rice, you wont feel the heat at all 🙂

    1. I have not tried them Sri.. Always been using my MIL’s sambar powder. My sister’s MIL makes Kuzhambu Podi at home – should get the recipe from her next time 🙂

  1. Oh my oh my…
    The Suran is also called jimikand in northern parts of India :). And I am a big fan of this tuber…
    Your recipe made me drool here big time…flavored with sambhar masala, it must be one lip smacking dish.. I am trying this for sure!!!❤️

  2. Karunai kizhangu kuzhambu is like a tongue twister for me! This looks so delicious CH 🙂 Hearing that karunai kizhangu can cause through irritation does make me feel a bit worried about trying to cook it myself, but your experienced explanations really cleared up any worry!

    1. Hahaha 😀 There is a special alphabet in Tamil language which sounds like “LA” but has to be pronounced from the tip of the tongue. There is nothing quite close in English that can come close to this alphabet and hence, “ZHA” is used. In short, replace ZHA with LA and it should be a bit easy for you to pronounce 🙂 Sorry for this long lecture, but I just had to tell 😀

  3. This looks (and sounds) so tasty! I was so many things in this post that I have never heard about before, but I´m intrigued to know more. So glad I could learn something today 🙂

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