Mor kuzhambu

Buttermilk curry

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Lands of the Curry Leaf

Lands of the Curry Leaf

By Peter Kuruvita

Published 2018

  • About

This delicious curry, in which yoghurt is thinned out and simmered with a spice paste, is from Dakshin by Chandra Padmanabhan, which has been one of my go-to books for over 20 years. I still treasure my copy, all stained and torn from so much use.

Serve with rice and poppadoms and the Fried potato curry.

Preparation 25 minutes
COOKING about 20 minutes


  • 520 g (1 lb oz/2 cups) curd, whisked, or Greek-style yoghurt if unavailable
  • ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
  • a pinch of salt, or to taste
  • ¾ cup chopped vegetables, such as winter melon, okra, eggplant (aubergine), green capsicum (pepper), green peas and diced peeled potatoes

Spice Paste

  • 1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil or ghee
  • tablespoons chana dhal
  • tablespoons white urad dhal (hulled dried black lentils)
  • tablespoons fenugreek seeds
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 6 dried red chillies, halved
  • 3 tablespoons grated fresh coconut
  • 1 cm (½ inch) knob of fresh ginger, peeled and grated

For Tempering

  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • ½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1 dried red chilli, halved
  • 8–10 fresh curry leaves


For the spice paste, heat 2 teaspoons of the coconut oil in a frying pan over medium heat. Cook the chana dhal, urad dhal, fenugreek seeds, coriander seeds and red chillies for 3–5 minutes, until fragrant and toasted. Tip into a bowl and leave to cool. Using a mortar and pestle or a blender, grind the mixture, together with the coconut and ginger, into a smooth paste, adding a little water to loosen the ingredients if necessary.

To the ground spice paste add the whisked yoghurt, turmeric, and salt to taste. Beat until the mixture is smooth, then set aside.

Heat the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil in a heavy-based saucepan over high heat and add the tempering ingredients. Once the mustard seeds start to splutter, add the chopped vegetables and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Pour in enough water to cover the vegetables, then bring to the boil, cover the pan and simmer over low heat until tender; the time will vary depending on the vegetables.

When the vegetables are tender, stir in the spiced yoghurt mixture over low heat. Remove from the heat when the sauce just begins to boil, taking care not to let it curdle.

Serve immediately, with your choice of accompaniments.