Karvepillai Kuzhambu ~ Curry Leaves Dal with Chandra Padmanabhan

by on May 15, 2018

An unusual and delicious recipe from the kitchen of the popular cookbook author, Chandra Padmanabhan. In this traditional Karvepillai kuzhambu, the curry leaves is ground with the rest of the spices thus enhancing the flavor as well as retaining all its health benefits!
The curry leaf is widely used in South Indian cuisines for its pleasant aroma and various health benefits! It is rich in calcium, iron, phosphorus, copper and magnesium, and a good source of vitamin A, B, C and E. It also has anti oxidant properties thus preventing several diseases and protecting the health!

Jain Recipes Karvepillai Kuzhambu

To tweak this into an ideal recipe during the Jain Paryushan festival, simply use dried curry leaves instead of the fresh ones. Makes a healthy and delicious meal with steamed rice and appalam. End with buttermilk for perfect balance.


  • 5-6 dried red chilies
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp asafoetida powder
  • 2 tsp black gram dal
  • 1½ tsp uncooked rice
  • Lime-sized tamarind ( without seeds or strings)
  • ½ cup tightly packed curry leaves
  • Salt to taste


  • 2 tsp gingelly oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 dried red chili, halved


  1. Dry roast the red chilies, peppercorns, cumin seeds, asafoetida powder, black gram and rice. Fry over low heat, tossing gently, till fragrant.
  2. Cool and add the curry leaves and tamarind. Grind to a fine paste adding very little water.
  3. Dissolve the ground paste in 2 cups of water. Add salt and set aside!
  4. Heat 2 tbsp of gingelli oil. Add all the ingredients for tempering. When the mustard seeds splutter, add the dissolved paste and simmer till the kuzhambu thickens.
  5. Serve hot with rice and roasted papads.

As Chandraji says, although most people love the flavor, one has a tendency to pick out the leaves and set it aside! Very few people eat the leaves! Hence this kuzhambu is ideal because the curry leaves are made into a paste.
Photo Courtesy: Harmony Magazine

Part-1 of this post is an interview with Chandra Padmanabhan from Chennai.
First published in ‘Heart to Hearth’ – a column in Harmony Celebrate Age, a magazine about silvers.


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