The main ingredient of both spicy dishes is tamarind. In sambar vegetables, lentils and spices are cooked in tamarind water along with turmeric. It is good for the digestive system and reduces accumulation of gas. Sambar is served with main dishes like rice, idlis, dosa etc.
Vatha kozhambu is a sour, spicy dish that has tamarind as main ingredient. It is a specialty of Tamil Nadu. For seasoning curry leaves, sundakkai (Turkey berry) and any other vegetables can be added. Vathal means sun dried vegetable. The sundakkai vathal have diuretic properties, and are used in bowel complaints and for reducing fever.