The concept of thogayal is unique to South India, I suspect. A thogayal is a thick chutney. Almost any vegetable is capable of being converted into a thogayal. However, the most traditional ones are made of coconut or lentils. Thogayals often accompany bland preparations such as mulakootal (a dal made using lentils and various vegetables). However, it is not uncommon to pair a thogayal with dili, dosa, kozhakattai, upma… I sometimes even have a thogayal with my Indian breads.
These ‘chutneys’ are often medium spicy with coconut being an invariable feature in its preparation. I have experimented with unusual thogayals such as manathakkali elai (leaves of black nightshade). Absolutely yum – recipe in this blog.
My post today is a corander thogayal – flavourful, aromatic and wonderful on the palate.
4 cups coriander leaves with thick stems removed
3 tbsp split Bengal gram (chana dal, kadalai parupu)
3 tbsp split black lentils (urad dal, ulutham parupu)
2 dried red chilis
A pinch of asafoetida (hing, perunkayam)
1/4 cup grated coconut
A large marble sized ball of tamarind (imli, puli)
Salt to taste
Wash the coriander leaves and chop roughly
Heat a wok and add the Bengal gram and split black lentils
Roast till these lentils turn golden brown
Add red chilis, tamarind, asafoetida and coconut
Roast for about a minute
Switch off flame and add the coriander leaves
Continue roasting for a couple of minutes (the heat from the wok should be enough to ‘cook’ the coriander leaves)
Cool completely and add to a blender
Transfer to a blender and add salt
Grind to a coarse paste, adding just a bit of water only if necessary
Transfer to a serving bowl
Serve at room temperature with steamed red/brown rice, idli, dosa or as an accompaniment to bland ‘dals’
Or use it as a dip