Chettinad Pakora Curry : Pakoda Kuzhambu

A deliciously different curry from South India- This Chettinad Pakoda kuzhambu is very different from the usual Kofta curries. Chana dal vadas dunked in rich and spicy gravy made of coconut, chana dal and cashews. Serve it with soft dosa or chapatis
Course curry, Main Course
Cuisine South Indian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Author Nupur @ The Veggie Indian


For the vada:

  • 1/2 cup Channadal
  • 3-4 Dry red chillies
  • 1 tsp Fennel seeds
  • Salt
  • Oil for frying

For Gravy:

  • 2 Onions chopped finely
  • 2 Tomatoes chopped finely
  • 4-5 Garlic pods chopped
  • 2-3 Green chillies 
  • 1 tbsp Coriander powder
  • 1 tsp Red chilly powder
  • 2 tbsp Oil
  • Salt to taste 
  • leaves Fresh Coriander chopped

For seasoning:

  • 1/4 tsp Cinnamon powder
  • 2   Green cardamoms crushed 
  • 2 leaves Bay
  • 1 tsp Fennel seeds
  • leaves Few curry

To grind together:

  • 1 tsp Poppy seeds
  • 4 tbsp Grated coconut frehs or frozen 
  • 6-8 Cashew nuts
  • 1 tbsp Roasted Chana dal


Prepare the vada:

  1. Soak the Chana dal for two hours.
  2. Take the soaked dal, dry red chillies, fennel seeds, salt together and grind as bit coarse paste with very little water.
  3. Heat oil for frying, and fry small shapeless pakodas (vada) with the batter
  4. Fry the pakodas until they turns golden brown. Drain the excess oil with a paper towel and keep aside.

The paste:

  1. Grind all the ingredients given under the list 'to grind' as fine paste with enough water. Keep aside

Prepare the curry:

  1. Heat oil in a pan, add the spices given under 'for seasoning' and fry until they turns brown.
  2. Add the chopped onions, tomatoes, garlic, green chillies  all together for 4-5 minutes till the tomatoes get all mushy and nion leaves its raw smell
  3. Now add the grounded paste to the onion-tomato mix, and cook for 4-5 minutes on low flame. .
  4. Add 5cups of water, red chilly powder, turmeric powder and salt, give a stir and cook in medium flame. Add some more water if needed, to keep the gravy a bit runny and not dry since Pakodas also would need  enough water to soak in
  5. Once the oil gets separates slightly from the gravy, add the pakodas immediately and close the lid. 
  6. Dont stir the gravy after adding the pakodas, but just bring it to a boil once and turn off the flame. 
  7. Granish with fresh cilantro and serve hot with rice or Chapathis

Recipe Notes

This is very similar to the Kofta Curry we make in North India, but with the addition of Coconut and Poppy Seeds. These two ingredients actually changed the whole taste of the curry, which was very much liked by us

You can also sprinkle some Garam Masala on top, or add some cream before serving. Just to give this curry a creamier and richer taste.

You can also add a bit of Moong or Urad Daal to the Chana Daal batter for a slightly different taste