Amma's Vendakka Puli - Palakkad Style

by - November 30, 2020

"Palakkadan Vendakka Puli, meticulously prepared to echo the authentic flavours of Amma's kitchen."

Unlock the Secrets: Crafting Amma's Vendakka Puli


    I am writing, one last post from my first home in Malaysia. Sitting in my usual nook, sipping on hot coffee and prepping to move to a new abode, I'm engulfed in nostalgia. My journey of blogging, deeply intertwined with my culinary explorations, began here.  From next week, I would be sitting in an all-new place. So for the love of my first home in Malaysia - the first home I ever felt like my own little space, a place I loved to go back - My Home Sweet Home. Quite a number of memories - kids grew up in this place & I grew up along with them, learnt so many new things in life.  This corner of my home, where daylight kissed my food photographs, witnessed the creation of countless dishes. And last week went with some few last Photos I wanted to shoot in this corner. For all the love & memories, this wonderful place holds - My Sweet little first Home in Malaysia. 

    As a tribute to this sanctuary of memories, I'm sharing a cherished recipe from my childhood - Amma's Vendakka Puli, a tangy Okra curry that's a staple in Palakkad cuisine. 

Why Amma's Vendakka Puli?

    This dish is more than just a recipe; it's a slice of my heritage. Vendakka Puli is a traditional Kerala (South India) side dish, celebrated for its unique blend of tanginess and sweetness, perfectly complementing steaming hot rice. Whether it's the crunch of the fried okra or the tangy kick of tamarind, this curry is a testament to the rich culinary legacy of Palakkad.

Ingredients & Cooking Secrets

    Initially hesitant to recreate Amma's Vendakka Puli, I doubted my ability to match her culinary finesse. However, nostalgia and a deep-seated craving prompted me to seek her guidance. After a heartfelt conversation, armed with her detailed recipe and insights into its subtle complexities, I was determined to achieve that authentic taste.

    Crafting Amma's Vendakka Puli requires a medley of fresh ingredients and a few culinary secrets straight from my mom's kitchen.  Embarking on this culinary journey, I meticulously followed each step—frying the okra to the perfect crispness, blending the spices with coconut to achieve the right consistency, and ensuring the curry's signature tanginess with just the right amount of tamarind. The process didn't stop there; a hint of jaggery was added for that perfect balance of sweetness, a finishing touch reminiscent of Amma's unique flair. The use of coconut oil and fenugreek seeds adds layers of flavour, making each bite a delightful experience.  During my childhood, I'd always help myself to an extra serving whenever Amma prepared this curry.

    Despite my efforts to capture the essence of her Vendakka Puli, I couldn't help but miss the irreplaceable warmth and love she infused into every dish.  The adventure of cooking Amma's Vendakka Puli was a testament to the power of traditional recipes in evoking memories and flavours of home, satisfying my taste buds and soul alike, albeit with a longing for that maternal touch.

For more Recipes from GOD'S OWN COUNTRY - KERALA,  click here...

Cuisine - Kerala (South India) 
Course - Side Dish
Spice Level - Moderate
Difficulty - Easy
Serves - 3-4
Author - SM

Preparation Time - 5 -10 Minutes
Cooking Time - 15-20 Minutes


"Rekindling Culinary Memories: My Quest to Master Amma's Vendakka Puli"

"Palakkadan Vendakka Puli, meticulously prepared to echo the authentic flavours of Amma's kitchen."

Unlock the Secrets: Crafting Amma's Vendakka Puli


For Vendakka Puli:

Okra/Lady's Finger - 10–12 Nos.
Coconut Oil - 1 Tablespoon
Fenugreek Seeds - 1/4 Teaspoon
Curry Leaves - A Sprig
Turmeric Powder - 1/4 Teaspoon
Tamarind Paste - 1 Teaspoon
Jaggery - a Pinch

For Grinding:

Coconut - 1/4 Cup
Shallots - 3–4 Nos.
Red Chilli Powder - 11/2 Teaspoon
Coriander Powder - 11/2 Teaspoon



  • Grind the ingredients mentioned under "For Grinding" to a fine paste and keep it aside.
  • Clean, wash and pat dry the Okras/Lady's Finger.
  • Trim the end and cut the Okras/Lady's Fingers into 1 cm long pieces.
  • Heat oil in a Pan, splutter Fenugreek Seeds on a low flame.
  • Immediately, add Curry leaves and give a quick stir.
  • Add the Okras/Lady's Fingers and fry it on a low flame until the stickiness disappears.
  • Add Turmeric Powder and fry it on a low flame for a few seconds.
  • Now pour in the ground masala along with a dash of salt.
  • Let the mixture boil on a low flame until the raw flavour goes.
  • Add the Tamarind Paste along with 1/2 a cup of water.
  • Let this boil on a low flame for a few minutes, or until the raw flavour goes.
  • Cook until it reaches the desired consistency.
  • Add a pinch of Jaggery just before switching off the flame.
  • Serve Vendakka Puli hot, with Rice.

Notes & Tips for  Perfect Vendakka Puli:

  • The authentic version of Vendakka Puli calls for whole Dry Red Chillies and Coriander Seeds.
  • For those opting to use whole spices, begin by heating a teaspoon of oil. Gently fry the Dry Chillies on a low heat until they start to puff. Next, incorporate Coriander Seeds, continuing to fry on a low heat until they emit a delightful aroma.
  • It's crucial to avoid burning the spices or cooking them on too high a flame, as this could detrimentally affect the curry's flavour.
  • Proceed to blend these spices with Shallots and grated Coconut to form your masala.
  • This recipe utilizes Tamarind Paste for convenience. However, traditional tamarind can also be used; simply soak it in warm water, then squeeze and strain to obtain the extract.
  • Ensure the Vendakka Puli simmers gently to eliminate any raw taste.
  • Feel free to adjust the curry's thickness according to your liking.
  • While adding Jaggery is not mandatory, it adds a subtle sweetness that balances the tanginess.
  • Interestingly, the flavours of Vendakka Puli deepen and enhance when enjoyed the following day.


Serving Suggestions

    Best served hot with rice, Vendakka Puli can be accompanied by Thoran or Mezhukkupuratti for a complete meal. Its versatility also allows it to pair wonderfully with a simple Pappadam, making it a dish that can cater to a variety of taste preferences.

From My Kitchen to Yours

    As I bid farewell to my first Malaysian home, this recipe serves as a bridge between my past and future culinary adventures. For more recipes that bring the essence of Kerala, the God's Own Country, into your kitchen, stay tuned to my blog.

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