Recipe: Fenugreek Seeds Thambuli

Made from a plethora of ingredients like fresh greens (like brahmi, fenugreek leaves and spinach), spices (like pepper, fenugreek seeds) and vegetables and fruits like onion, raw mango etc, thambulis are curd/buttermilk-based sauces which can be relished with rice or roti.  While the consistency is not as thick as conventional sauce, the addition of freshly ground coconut gives the dish a unique texture.  Coupled with the aromatic seasoning that is added in the end, the dish is nothing short of delectable. It is an integral part of Udupi and South Canara cuisine.

Most Thambuli recipes involve frying the main ingredient (say the greens, spices etc) with chillies (red or green) and cumin seeds.  This is ground with fresh coconut and the mixture is integrated with buttermilk.  It is finished off with a tempering of curry leaves, red chillies, mustard seeds and asafoetida. 

Thambulis are also prepared with unconventional ingredients like Indian gooseberry, lemon peels, sesame seeds and even hibiscus flower.  Below is the recipe of fenugreek seeds thambuli.  This recipe is easy, delicious and high on nutrition as well.  Given that fenugreek seeds are very good for people with high blood sugar, this one is a perfect recipe example of healthy eating.

Fenugreek seeds thambuli


  • 1.5 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 Byadgi chillies broken into pieces
  • 3 tbsp freshly ground coconut
  • 1 cup thick buttermilk
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • Salt to taste

For seasoning

  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp urad dal (black split gram)
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • ¼ tsp Asafoetida
  • 2-3 pieces of Byadgi chillies
  • 2 tsp coconut oil


  • In a thick bottomed pan heat coconut oil and add the fenugreek seeds.  Fry on low to medium heat till aromatic.  Add cumin seeds and red chilli pieces and fry till golden brown.
  • Allow the above mixture to cool and grind with fresh coconut to a smooth paste.
  • Add the above mixture to a bowl of thick buttermilk and add salt as per your taste.
  • For the tempering, heat coconut oil in a thick bottom pan, add mustard seeds and allow to splutter.  Then add the rest of the ingredients mentioned under “for seasoning” and pour over the buttermilk.


  • Adjust salt and red chillies as per your taste.
  • You can use any cooking oil if you do not use coconut oil. 
  • For the buttermilk, you can take ½ cup plain yoghurt or curd, add some water and whisk well.  Ensure the consistency is uniform and not too watery.
Fenugreek seeds thambuli
Fenugreek seeds thambuli

This article was originally published in Seema Magazine.

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